E.A. Sports Today

Weathering the storm

Ohatchee, Piedmont, Randolph County all tune up for Class 3A Region 5 openers with convincing victories

Grayson Alward (11) runs interference on this play, but he threw two touchdown passes in the first half that helped Ohatchee get control of its game with White Plains. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By East Alabama Sports Today

ANNISTON – For the second week in a row Ohatchee has fallen behind its opponent early and for the second week in a row the Indians have used – for them – an unconventional element to come back.

Grayson Alward threw touchdown passes in the final 15 seconds of each of the first two quarters Friday to lift the third-ranked Indians past an inspired White Plains team 33-14.

The Indians fell behind with less than three minutes left in the first quarter, but Alward hit Larry Noah with nine seconds left to tie the game and then found Jesse Sellers with 12 seconds left in the half to give them control of it.

The late touchdown in the second quarter was important because the Wildcats were getting the ball to start the second half.

Last week in their opener the Indians trailed Ragland 6-0 at the half before rallying to win 21-6. Alward had a touchdown pass in that game, too.

“I didn’t think we blocked well the first half; the throwing game set us up,” Ohatchee coach Scott Martin said. “I would say right now us having the ability to throw the ball is helping us. We were struggling to run the ball. They were stacking it up in there and daring us to throw it and Alward did a good job doing it.”

The touchdown pass to Noah that tied the game came on a third-and-long throw. The 17-yard pass to Sellers that extended the lead came after Sellers intercepted a White Plains pass with 38 seconds to go.

White Plains, a team that came into the season with a high confidence level after a good spring and a win in its preseason jamboree, opened the scoring on Pat Harris’ touchdown. Ohatchee, meanwhile, “never came close” to getting a first down on its first two possessions.

“Our guys never panic, they don’t drop their heads,” Martin said. “One thing about our team I think is different between now and (the first year) is we’ve learned how to win. We’re going to get everybody’s best shot. We were so dominant in so many games last year and scored so many points everybody we play is out to right the wrong from last year and our kids are pretty resilient.

“I thought WP came out and handed it to us early. They played inspired football. I told our kids all week it’s not the same team you played last year. It’s much improved, playing at home, you’re gonna get their best shot and you better weather the storm. And they did.”

Ohatchee 33, White Plains 14

Ohatchee (2-0) 7 13 6 7 — 33
White Plains (0-1) 7 0 0 7 — 14

WP – Patrick Harris pass from Ryan Bannister (PAT kick), 2:58 1Q
O – Larry Noah pass from Grayson Alward (PAT kick), 0:09 1Q
O – Dominique Thomas 2 run (PAT kick), 5:32 2Q
O – Jesse Sellers 17 pass from Grayson Alward (PAT failed), 0:12 2Q
O – Dominique Thomas 25 run (PAT failed), 6:15 3Q
O – Jesse Sellers run (PAT kick), 10:05 4Q
WP – Charles Huey run (PAT kick), 2:21 4Q

White Plains quarterback Ryan Bannister looks to unload a pass as three Ohatchee defenders close on his position.

Piedmont 42, Cherokee County 20

PIEDMONT — Everybody talks about Cardavion Myers’ speed, but don’t overlook his ability to throw the football.

The Piedmont senior quarterback completed only six passes, but four went for touchdowns – and he ran for another score — as the second-ranked Bulldogs got back on the winning track at the expense of their longest-running rival.

Myers was 6-of-9 through the air for 270 yards against the Warriors. His touchdown passes covered 58, 45, 52 and 40 yards. He has completed 10 passes this season and five have gone for scores.

His passing efficiency rating for this season is 355.97, 121.53 by NFL standards. His career efficiency rating is 341.12

Myers also rushed for 154 yards on 12 carries. He scored on a 48-yard touchdown run in a wild first quarter that featured five total touchdowns. Lee Stanley added 122 yards to the Bulldogs’ backfield.

Eight of the 10 scoring plays in the game covered 40 yards or more. The Bulldogs amassed 633 yards of total offense.

The Bulldogs had their 25-game winning streak snapped last week in the opener against Rockmart (Ga.), but Friday’s win extended their winning streak against Alabama teams to 25 games.

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Piedmont 42, Cherokee County 20

Cherokee Co. (0-2) 14 0 0 6 — 20
Piedmont (1-1) 18 8 13 3 — 42

P – T.J. Fairs 58 pass from Cardavion Myers (pass failed), 8:32 1Q
C – Tyren Dupree 4 run (Gustav Jensen kick), 5:48 1Q
P – Cardavion Myers 48 run (run failed), 4:05 1Q
C – Sidney Perry 62 pass from Tyren Dupree (Gustav Jensen kick), 2:23 1Q
P – Darien Bossie 45 pass from Cardavion Myers (run failed), 0:12 1Q
P – Carl Myers 45 interception return (Lee Stanley run), 9:31 2Q
P – Kaedon Jenkins 52 pass from Cardavion Myers (run failed), 10:29 3Q
P – T.J. Fairs 40 pass from Cardavion Myers (Brant Deerman kick), 5:55 3Q
P – Brant Deerman 27 FG, 8:43 4Q
C – Sidney Perry 65 run (run failed), 8:20 4Q

Randolph County 40, Barbour County 0

WEDOWEE – Aaron Knight got the season started by returning the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers never let up.

They held the Jaguars to minus-24 yards rushing, minus-4 yards of total offense and scored three defensive touchdowns. Dre Marable returned a fumble 22 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and Andrew Prestridge recovered a fumble in the end zone and returned an interception 45 yards for another.

LaDarius Callaway, Jagar Anthony and Jai Wright also scored touchdowns for the 10th-ranked Tigers.

It was the Jags’ 33rd consecutive loss, the longest losing streak in the state. Barbour County hasn’t won a game since Oct. 18, 2013.

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Randolph County’s Aaron Knight takes the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. (Photo by Jeremy Wortham/TigerDen Media)

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