E.A. Sports Today

He’s a magic man

Piedmont QB Hayes uses his complete bag of tricks to bring top-ranked Bulldogs to victory in region opener

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE — Piedmont quarterback Taylor Hayes was the Class 3A Back of the Year last season and he showed why Friday night at Wilson Lyle Darnell Field.

He was a magician as he led the top-ranked Bulldogs to a 33-0 thrashing of No. 10 Glencoe in the Class 3A Region 5 opener for both teams.

The say the game wasn’t huge is an understatement. The entire region was undefeated going into the week – the only completely undefeated region in the state regardless of classification – so every game is potentially a dogfight.

One of Hayes’ tricks was the ball-under-the-cup routine. He scored a 17-yard touchdown run after dropping back to pass and having the ball knocked loose. He calmly stepped over and picked up the ball out of a scrum, dodged a couple of tacklers and sprinted around right end for a touchdown that gave the Bulldogs a 21-0 lead. Defenders were left trying to find the ball in the Piedmont backfield.

Then there was the hidden-ball trick. Hayes threw into double coverage over the middle and his receiver Darrien Bossie pinned the ball on the back of Glencoe defensive back Noah Huff and carried both into the end zone, where he finally secured the ball for the score and a 27-0 lead. Piedmont defenders were turning themselves inside out trying to figure out where the ball was.

Finally, Hayes made himself disappear and the reappear in the end zone. He got this score on a 31-yard keeper after faking a handoff one way, disappearing into the line and emerging down the sidelines and into the end zone to give the Bulldogs the early lead at 7-0. He escaped several tacklers as he rolled down the sidelines.

Hayes rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries and completed 14 of 24 passes for 155 yards and two more scores. Bossie caught six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Lee Stanley added a five-yard rushing touchdown.

The Bulldog defense was nothing short of magnificent in the game as they held the Yellow Jackets to only 50 yards net offense. The defensive wall of Logan Beadles, Matthew Thornton and Gavin Kircus were in the Yellow Jacket backfield all night long, causing 12 negative running plays and helping hold them to minus-13 yards net rushing.

Piedmont had two interceptions and recovered three fumbles in a game marred by penalties. The Bulldogs had 13 penalties in the game that really shut their offense down, especially in the second half. However, the game was well in hand as Glencoe never got into Piedmont territory without the benefit of a Bulldog penalty or fumble, until a 40-yard punt return in the last four minutes of the game.

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