E.A. Sports Today

‘It’s up to me now’

Myers next man up as Piedmont’s quarterback, eager to keep the Bulldogs on track as he follows a legend


Coach: Steve Smith (123-23 Piedmont, 11 years; 208-68 overall)

Aug. 25 – vs. Rockmart (Ga.), Cedartown
Sept. 1 – Cherokee County
Sept. 8 – Glencoe
Sept. 15 – at Randolph County
Sept. 22 – Pleasant Valley
Sept. 29 – at Leeds
Oct. 6 – at Weaver
Oct. 13 – Wellborn
Oct. 20 – Ohatchee
Oct. 27 – OPEN
Nov. 3 – Oneonta

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – It was one of the biggest topics of conversation during the high school football offseason. Everybody from Mentone to Mobile wanted to know who was going to play quarterback as Piedmont moved into the next era of its offense.

You just don’t replace a player who led his team to two straight state championships – and in the case of Taylor Hayes led is genuinely the word – and was able to deliver whenever the Bulldogs absolutely, positively needed something to happen.

So when he graduated everybody wondered – everyone, of course, except Cardavion Myers and Piedmont coach Steve Smith.

When the Bulldogs put their state-best 25-game winning streak on the line Friday in their season opener against Rockmart (Ga.) in the Bama Border Battle, it will be Myers making the offense go. And while the senior’s style may be different than his predecessor, he will carry the same expectations of getting the Bulldogs in the best position to win.

Cardavion Myers assumes control of the Piedmont offense. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

“I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win and get to the championship,” Myers said. “We had a great quarterback last year. I was the next man up, so I’m going to do whatever it takes. Taylor Hayes was a great player, he led us to two state championships, so I’m going to try to do the same thing this year.

“It’s up to me now. I’m the leader on the team, the quarterback, so it’s my job to continue the streak and win another state championship for us.”

Hayes is a hard act to follow. He led the Bulldogs to back-to-back state championships, was MVP of the last year 3A state championship games and the two-time 3A Back of the Year and owns virtually every offensive record there is at the school. Last year he compiled nearly 3,800 total yards — equally divided between the run and pass — and was responsible for 60 touchdowns. Over his career, he amassed 7,867 total yards and was responsible for 109 touchdowns.

It’s not as if Myers is just being thrown into the position and learning on the fly. He played some last year, but usually to finish up a game in hand or run a sneak when necessary. He has thrown only four passes in his career — none last season – but completed all four.

This summer, he got the whole package and proved up to the task in the Bulldogs’ 7-on-7 camps even without the massive offensive line he’ll have protecting him during the season or the ability to display is running skills. He has a 9.0-yard per carry average in 59 career rushing attempts.

Smith was sitting in the stands during one of the Bulldogs’ baseball playoff games this past spring within earshot of two men who were talking about impending quarterback situation. They invited him to join the conversation, but he just listened interestedly with a look that seemed to say we’ve got this.

“From the start of the summer to right now Cardavion has progressed really nicely,” Smith said during the Bulldogs’ passing camp in July. “He’s picked up well on what we’re trying to do. He’s gotten better and better in each of these 7-on-7 contests. I’ve got complete confidence in him being able to lead our team.

“We’ve had a pretty good string of quarterbacks here and we think Cardavion can fit right in there. All the guys we’ve had to play the position for us have really done a great job leading our team and this is going to be his time to step up and do that. I look for us to be fine with our quarterback play.”

Myers will be the eighth quarterback in Smith’s Piedmont tenure and each of the previous seven are among the all-time statistical leaders in school history, so you know something is going right.

The guy pulling the trigger this year may have changed, but Smith doesn’t look for a “whole lot” of what the Bulldogs do on offense to change. While you might not see Myers run up the middle as much as Hayes did, although Smith is confident he can do it, the Bulldogs will definitely take advantage of his outside speed.

“Everybody graduates players and everybody has to replace personnel, but we have an identity we kind of hang our hat on and I don’t look for a lot of that to change,” Smith said. “Obviously they are different style of players, but we’ve had different style of quarterbacks in the past and pretty much the quarterbacks abilities are thing we take into account with what we do, but as far as wholesale changing, a lot of it will look real similar to what we’ve done in the past.”

There is something Myers does have in common with Hayes as well as several other former Piedmont quarterbacks. Both have come to the position after several seasons as a defensive starter.

Hayes was a hard-hitting linebacker, a skill that suited him quite well in the power element of the offense. Myers was a three-year starter in the secondary and he’ll find himself back there in special situations, Smith said, “before we lose without him.” He is second on the school all-time interception list since 2004 and the career leader in pass breakups.

“I feel pretty good anytime you take a defensive player and move him to quarterback that has been on that side for extended period of time,” Smith said. “They have pretty good idea about concepts on coverages and things of that nature.

“We pride ourselves on having a lot of different guys who can play and not having to play a lot of guys both ways, but at the same time I don’t want to lose a game with one of the better players on the sidelines. That’s kind of how that’ll work.”

Cover photo by B.J. Franklin

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