E.A. Sports Today

Big scoring plays doom Piedmont

Friday’s Calhoun County scores

Marion County 29, Donoho 18
Wellborn 24, Oakman 23
Madison Academy 42, Piedmont 20
Deshler 36, Saks 14
Fayette County 29, Jacksonville 26
McAdory 40, Oxford 38

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MADISON – Big scoring plays did in the Piedmont Bulldogs in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs Friday night.

Madison Academy, the two-time reigning state champions with SEC-caliber players in its offense, scored five touchdowns of at least 44 yards in knocking off the Bulldogs 42-20.

“That’s going to happen when you play against three SEC caliber players on the offensive side of the ball,” linebacker Taylor Hayes said. “But I thought we fought hard and I’m proud of the guys.”

The top-ranked Mustangs (11-1) travel to Wellborn next week for Round 3. Wellborn advanced by beating Oakman on a field goal with 12.6 seconds to play.

Madison Academy showed its explosive nature all night. The Mustangs scored offensive touchdowns of 59, 44, 48, 50 and 1 yards and had a 50-yard interception return for a score on the final play of the third quarter.

After fumbling away the second play of the game, they scored five of the next six times they had the ball.

“That’s our offense, that’s what we try to build it off of — tempo, fast-paced — even though we didn’t go as fast as we wanted to tonight — and a big-play offense,” Mustangs running back Kerryon Johnson said. “When your line is blocking like that, those runs become a lot easier.”

Johnson scored four touchdowns — on runs of 59 and 1 yards, a 48-yard pass and the 50-yard pick six. He finished with 143 yards rushing and had a fat lip for his trouble. Malik Miller, the Mustangs’ other SEC target, had 101 yards rushing, including a 50-yard touchdown run.

“That No. 1, he’s special; there’s a reason everybody wants him on the next level,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said of Johnson. “Pretty much whatever they needed him to do, he came through tonight.”

Hayes, alternating at quarterback with his cousin Tyler Lusk, scored Piedmont’s first two touchdowns — both on 3-yard runs. Dreek Thompson scored in the fourth quarter.

The teams, who played to a high-scoring one-point overtime game in last year’s third round, matched score for score early and left the first quarter tied at 14. But Madison Academy was at the 1 on the changeover.

First play after the long walk, Johnson just broke over the plane, giving the Mustangs their first lead of the game 21-14.

“We hadn’t been in a lot of close games, but we had been with Briarwood and Leeds, so we had a little bit of test and poise,” Mustangs coach Eric Cohu said. “We’ve been in a lot of big games the last two years so I don’t think any of them are going to panic, I think they’re going to play a full four quarters.

“I think our guys remembered (the Briarwood game), so they remembered they could stop a great offense and we did the second half and that was big.”

Piedmont (8-4) owned time of possession the rest of the second quarter quarter, but came away empty for their efforts. Lusk missed two field goal attempts in the quarter, one from 32 yards at the end of a nine-minute, 18-play drive and a 29-yarder on the final play of the half.

“We knew we could score on them, it’s just we couldn’t stop them,” Lusk said. “They finally figured out what we were doing with them and they gave it to us.”

The Bulldogs had it inside the 10 on both drives before penalties knocked them back. One of the penalties erased a touchdown run by Thompson that would have tied the game at 21.

The Bulldogs were charged with 11 penalties in the game to go with three turnovers — not a formula for success against a team the caliber of the Mustangs.

“You can’t go on the road in the playoffs against a team that has the two past state championships and expect to win,” Smith said.

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