E.A. Sports Today

Thompson, turnovers do in Wellborn

The Piedmont defense swarms around a Wellborn ball carrier Friday night. In the cover photo, Wellborn coach Jeff Smith reacts to the prospects of an upset slipping away. (Photos by Greg McWilliams)

The Piedmont defense swarms around a Wellborn ball carrier Friday night. In the cover photo, Wellborn coach Jeff Smith reacts to the prospects of an upset slipping away. (Photos by Greg McWilliams)

By East Alabama Sports Today

The Wellborn Panthers came out Friday with the intention of knocking off the vaunted Piedmont Bulldogs in front of a packed out home crowd. They left the field thinking about what could have been.

Piedmont used Wellborn’s four first-half turnovers to take a commanding three-touchdown lead. The deficit proved to be too much to overcome as the Bulldogs cemented their dominance with a 35-7 win.

The game started out as an incredible defensive struggle. The two teams alternated their first four possessions with only one first down (Wellborn) between them.

A stop by Wellborn is when the game opened up. Punting from its own 31, Piedmont caught a break when the Wellborn defenders made just enough contact with the punter to draw a penalty, and the 5-yard walkoff was enough for a first down.

After a 15-yard Wellborn face mask penalty the Bulldogs were in business. Three plays later Dreek Thompson scampered down the sideline for the first of his two scores in the half.

Wellborn fumbled on the ensuing kickoff but the Panthers’ defense held and forced Piedmont into a missed field goal attempt.

Wellborn would again turn it over on the next possession. With great field position Thompson took advantage of the turnover to run in from the 2 to give Piedmont a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

Sensing the game was getting away the Panthers went to the air, but Kevin Mixon was intercepted by Thompson on a halfback pass and the Bulldogs were back in business at midfield. Moments later, CJ Savage would take a hand off and cut back against the grain for a 42-yard score.

“Our defense played lights out tonight,” Piedmont head coach Steve Smith said. “They’re such a good offensive team and for us to go out and slow them down the way we did and create those turnovers I was just extremely proud of the way our guys battled tonight.”

Down 21 and giving the ball to Piedmont to start the half, Wellborn’s run – first offense was in big trouble. After stopping the Bulldogs on their opening drive of the half and mounting a solid drive of their own they punted Piedmont deep into its own red zone.

On the second play of the drive quarterback Taylor Haynes watched a snap go over his head and into the end zone where Wellborn recovered for their only points on the night.

Savage answered the Wellborn score on the ensuing possession ending the Panthers’ hope for a comeback.

Piedmont improves to 5-2. Meanwhile, Wellborn drops to 4-3 and likely will be on the road in the first round of the playoffs.



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