E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs’ big night

‘Underdog’ No. 2 3A Piedmont pounds top-ranked 4A Leeds

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

LEEDS — To have any real chance at success against the No. 1 team in the state, Piedmont coach Steve Smith knew his Bulldogs had to control the clock, which meant controlling the ball.

Behind a dominant offensive line that opened huge holes for running back Lee Stanley and quarterback Cardavion Myers, the Bulldogs blew away 4A No. 1 Leeds 41-19 Friday at Homer Smiles Field.

The Bulldogs (5-1), the No. 2 team in 3A, rolled up 503 net yards, 453 yards on the ground. In a testament to their ability to control the clock, they ran 61 plays to 30 for the Greenwave (5-1). They had 18 running plays in the game go for 10 yards or more, eight that went for more than 20.


“Leeds has a great team, we played well tonight,” Smith said. “We did a good job of sustaining drives on offense. Our game plan this game was going to be trying to hold the ball because they have so many weapons. We knew we would have to control the ball. We felt like we’d have to win the battle at the line of scrimmage to have a chance to win this game tonight and I thought our guys did a really good job.”

Stanley became the sixth member of Piedmont’s 3,000 career rushing yardage club. He needed 40 yards coming into the game and went for 206 and two touchdowns. Myers rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns; he also completed all five of his pass attempts for 50 yards and a touchdown pass from the 1 with nine seconds left in the half.

Stanley joins a list that includes Greg Nation (4,859), Taylor Hayes (3,846), Michael Ball (3,730), Darnell Jackson (3,217) and Derrick Griffie (3,188). Stanley now has 3,166 career yards.

“Lee’s an outstanding back,” Smith said. “We feel like we’ve got a diamond there in him. He’s one of those guys who’s a great in-between-the-tackles runner. If you notice Lee doesn’t make a whole lot of yards outside the hashes. It’s inside and cut back and falling forward.”

Stanley had extra incentive to ran hard. The last time Piedmont beat a No. 1 ranked team was Nov. 20, 2015 when it knocked off Madison Academy in the third round of the playoffs on the road to first of its current back-to-back state titles.

“I know there’s a lot of hype in playing the No. 1 team in 4A, but we weren’t going to back down just because they’re the No. 1 team in 4A,” he said. “We’re going to play our game, they’re going to play theirs. It turns out we were just the best team.

“Leeds is a really great team, but when you’re the underdog you’ve got a chip on your shoulder and you’ve got to prove a point. It put some drive in our hearts. We had a lot of heart to play this game. Coach told us everybody in the state of Alabama is going to look at us for the rest of the year off this game right here. What are they gonna see – us ball out. We’re gonna play Piedmont football. That’s what we do.”

As big as any offensive play the Bulldogs had in the game was the goal line stand they made in the third quarter of a game that was 21-10 at the time. They held Leeds to a field goal after the Greenwave had it first-and-goal from the 1.

Leeds tried three different runners to break into the end zone. Mason Mohon and Malachi Jackson made first contact on two straight 2-yard losses and Kaedon Jenkins stopped the third for a one-yard gain forcing the field goal attempt.

“It was a big turning point in the game; the defense had to step up right there,” Jenkins said. “If they would have scored they would have changed the whole momentum of the game and we just stepped up.”

The Bulldogs answered the field goal with a four-play touchdown drive capped by Stanley’s first touchdown and on their next possession Jenkins broke off a 44-yard touchdown run filling in for Stanley.

“It was big because I got to make some turning point plays against the No. 1 team,” Jenkins said.

Piedmont has now won 29 straight games against teams from Alabama. The last in-state team to beat the Bulldogs was Leeds on Sept. 24, 2015.

“That’s a good stat, but we don’t pay any attention to that,” Stanley said. “We play one game at a time. We’re trying to hold up the blue map (championship trophy) up at the end of the year. If we don’t do that, none of that matters to the team. None of that matters.”

[table id=68 /]

Piedmont 7 14 13 7 — 41
Leeds 7 3 9 0 — 19

L – Jaylen Washington 2 run (Gregory Dawkins kick), 9:19 1Q
P – Cardavion Myers 13 run (Brant Deerman kick), 6:51 1Q
P – Cardavion Myers 13 run (Brand Deerman kick), 9:04 2Q
L – Gregory Dawkins 26 FG, 5:20 2Q
P – Darien Bossie 1 pass from Cardavion Myers (Brant Deerman kick), 0:09 2Q
L – Gregory Dawkins 21 FG, 7:13 3Q
P – Lee Stanley 2 run (Brant Deerman kick), 5:39 3Q
L – Torrence Pollard 43 run (run failed), 4:57 3Q
P – Kaedon Jenkins 44 run (kick blocked), 2:02 3Q

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