E.A. Sports Today

New: Piedmont falls in Top 5 showdown

No. 5 Glencoe gets late field goal to down No. 3 Bulldogs, 31-28

Thomas Ozmint (5) and Dylan Stone (7) played big roles in Glencoe's 31-28 win over No. 3 Piedmont Friday night.

Thomas Ozmint (5) and Dylan Stone (7) played big roles in Glencoe’s 31-28 win over No. 3 Piedmont Friday night.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE – This was one of the tough ones.

Piedmont hasn’t lost many regular-season football games during their long run of success under coach Steve Smith, but Friday night was one of those rare times he’s looked around the post-game locker room and saw disappointment.

Glencoe kicker Joseph Bright nailed a 19-yard, low liner of a field goal with 3:11 left to give the fifth-ranked Yellow Jackets a 31-28 win over the third-ranked Bulldogs and barring some real craziness in the second half of the season effectively the Class 3A Region 6 title.

It was only the third regular-season loss the Bulldogs have suffered in the last five years and just their ninth in the past eight seasons.

“It’s always tough; any time you lose a game it’s tough,” Smith said. “Our fans and our players, we’re not real accustomed to losing very many games in the regular season, so therefore it’s going to be a weird feeling this weekend as we go into our next practice.

“I told them there will be a lot of people who jump off the bandwagon. That’s just the way it goes when you’re used to winning and you don’t, then there’s going to be a lot people who are going to cast blame and point fingers and stuff, but the big thing is the people in the locker room — coaches and players – we’re going to pull together and we’re going to get ready for the next ball game.”

And that next ball game promises to be an even tougher assignment – Class 4A No. 1 Leeds Thursday night. Just for the record, the Bulldogs haven’t lost back-to-back games in the same season since 2006 – Smith’s first year at the helm.

Friday’s game was a back and forth affair with Piedmont taking a 28-21 lead with two touchdowns less than four minutes apart in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs’ go-ahead score came on a 97-yard hitch pass from Tyler Lusk to C.J. Savage to beat the anticipated pressure one play after they recovered a fumble. They actually turned back two Glencoe threats in the game with fumble recoveries inside the 10.

The Yellow Jackets (4-0, 3-0) tied it on Thomas Ozmint’s 16-yard run with 1:49 left in the third quarter. Ozmint rushed for 199 yards. Quarterback Dylan Stone rushed for 122. Both scored two touchdowns.

Lusk was 15 of 23 for 204 yards and three touchdowns passing, but the Bulldogs’ inability to establish a running game was devastating. They were held to 37 yards net rushing, and that includes Savage’s 40-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs their first lead.

“Point blank, we had a hard time stopping them tonight,” Smith said. “They drove the ball on us, rushed the ball on us, at will. What cannot happen, you cannot become one-dimension. If you want to know the underlying theme of how this game turned out the way it did, they could run the ball, we didn’t stop the run very well and we couldn’t run the ball.

“We had some success throwing the ball, there were lots of plays, Tyler made some really good throws and we had some yards after catch, but if you can make the other team have to throw it every play … you pretty much have them where you want them and that’s kind of what happened tonight.”

Even after the Yellow Jackets took the lead, the Bulldogs (3-1, 2-1) were battling to retake the lead. They had a nice gain on first down, but were set back when Lusk was sacked on the next play. The comeback bid ended when Lusk’s fourth-down throw to the sideline slipped through the hands of Mitchell Bennefield in front of the Piedmont bench.

Nobody led by more than a touchdown in the game and typically when one scored, the other answered. There were four lead changes and four ties.

“It was as advertised,” Glencoe coach Lee Ozmint said. “We told our kids before the game if you can focus on every play and concentrate on the next play – not the last one – you have a chance to win, and they kept doing that.

“They made mistakes and then they’d make a play. It’s a character win. Our kids were resilient, they kept fighting and that’s the way we’ve been. This team has broken the mold and they’re doing their own thing.

“We made some stupid mistakes we’ve got to iron out, but in a big football game like this, for us to show the resiliency and to keep fighting back I’m so proud of them. It’s easy to sit there and doubt yourself when you hadn’t beaten a team in six years and finally you understand it’s one play at a time. And when it comes to fruition, it’s electric.”

Piedmont 7 7 14 0 — 28
Glencoe 7 14 7 3 — 31

G – Dylan Stone 3 run (Joseph Bright kick)
P – Mitchell Bennefield 37 pass from Tyler Lusk (Lusk kick)
P – C.J. Savage 40 run (Lusk kick)
G – Dylan Stone 24 run (Bright kick)
G – Thomas Ozmint 29 run (Bright kick)
P – Cody Daughtry 12 pass from Lusk (Lusk kick)
P – Savage 97 pass from Lusk (Lusk kick)
G – Ozmint 16 run (Bright kick)
G – Bright 19 FG

Pied Glen
First downs 13 18
Rush-yds 20-37 47-326
C-A-I 16-24-0 2-5-1
Pass yds 208 31
Fum-lost 2-1 3-3
Pen-yds 9-88 3-37
Punts-avg 4-27.0 1-38.0

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