E.A. Sports Today

An inside look

Team that controls the other’s running game best in Friday’s Randolph County-Piedmont rematch likely will find themselves in Tuscaloosa

Piedmont’s Lee Stanley, running against Scott Martin’s Ohatchee team earlier this season, is closing in on 1,800 yards rushing this season and has more than 4,000 rushing yards in his career. (Photo by B.J. Franklin).

EDITOR’S NOTE: Scott Martin just completed his fourth season as the head football coach at Ohatchee High School. His Indians played in this game – the 3A state semifinals – a year ago and has played Piedmont and Randolph County three times each over the past two seasons. He shares his insights on Friday night’s matchup at Piedmont’s Field of Champions.

By Scott Martin
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

OHATCHEE – Randolph County-Piedmont II. This Class 3A state semifinal game has the makings of a great high school football game and that takes the sting off – somewhat – knowing that our only two regular-season losses were to these two great teams.

The first game between these juggernauts was a 41-31 Piedmont win in Wedowee, but was a game of two halves. Randolph County controlled the first half (13-0) and Piedmont the second (41 points).

MARTIN

The rematch pits two very similar teams that control the ball with the run game but can attack downfield with the pass. Randolph County hasn’t lost since that game and is working on a 10-game winning streak. Piedmont has won 12 in a row.

Defensively, I always thought Piedmont would challenge again for a deep playoff run; it has eight returning starters from last year’s State Championship team. Offensively, Cardavion Myers filled the void left by Taylor Hayes at quarterback and combined with Lee Stanley and Darien Bossie the offense has been effective.

Stanley has rushed for 1,797 yards and 18 touchdowns. Myers has rushed for 1,844 yards and 25 touchdowns and passed for 1,111 yards and 16 scores. Bossie has caught 20 balls for 529 yards and nine touchdowns.

Randolph County was also very impressive all year. With 18 starters back from last year’s 10-3 quarterfinals team, the Tigers expected to be a challenger for a run in the playoffs and they haven’t disappointed. Offensively, they are at their best it seems when they line up in the wishbone with two tight ends and attack with power.

They have been effective at times when they spread the field, but it isn’t something they’ve had to rely on yet. If Piedmont can shut down the Tigers’ power run attack, then we may see if they can win with their spread attack. It will be something to watch early in the game.

Defensively, the Tigers are sound. Their front seven is big and strong led by Richard Bledsoe in the interior with Emanuel Clark at end/outside linebacker. Aaron Knight, one of their game-changing running backs on offense, is equally a force at inside linebacker. The secondary is solid and experienced and have range and speed.

To me, the key will be if Randolph County can shut down the Piedmont run game and make Myers beat them by throwing the ball; if that happens, the Tigers have a chance. If Piedmont can run the ball and not rely on the pass, I believe it wins the game.

Piedmont has the same challenge too: Can it shut down the Randolph County run game? If so, the game falls in the Bulldogs’ favor.

Lastly, the kick game. To me, Piedmont excels here. If all else is even, then the kick game winner is the game winner.

Don’t ask me to pick the winner. It’s too close to call.

The Rematch

Randolph Co. Piedmont
12-1Record12-1
Pat PrestridgeHead coachSteve Smith
L 41-31First meetingW 41-31
10 gamesWin streak12 games
534Points for492
157Points vs.291
86-70Opp. W-L95-65
2003 (2A)Last title2016 (3A)

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