E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs step up

Piedmont used a strong second half to come from behind and beat top-ranked Randolph County in Class 3A Region 6 showdown

Piedmont coach Steve Smith said quarterback Mason Mohon (4) grew up a lot Friday night. On the cover, Kaedon Jenkins (7) rushed for 150 yards and scored two touchdowns, including the game-winner. (Photos by Jeremy Wortham)

By Jeremy Wortham
For East Alabama Sports Today

WEDOWEE – The Piedmont Bulldogs used a strong second half to rally from a halftime deficit and roar past the top-ranked Randolph County Tigers 27-22 in Friday’s big Class 3A Region 6 showdown.

The Bulldogs trailed 22-15 with six minutes left in the third quarter, then scored the last two touchdowns of the game. Kaedon Jenkins’ 32-yard run with 7:10 to play put the Bulldogs ahead and Jakari Foster’s fumble recovery in the final two minutes sealed the victory.

The win keeps the third-ranked Bulldogs in the hunt for their fourth consecutive region title.

“It’s still so early in the season and there are so many good teams in this region, but I do think this is a game you need to win as far as positioning in the region,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. “I can tell you right now that bunch won’t lose a bunch of games … so the way the playoffs work … if you do make it it’s obviously better to have the head-to-head advantage on some of these folks”

Randolph County opened the scoring when Atario Hester found pay dirt on a early 45-yard touchdown run. The extra point missed sending the Tigers to an early 6-0 lead with 11:05 in the first.

After back and forth possessions Piedmont answered with Elijah Johnson scoring from 7 yards out. Brant Deerman’s PAT gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game.

With 11:46 to play in the second quarter the Bulldogs’ defense recovered a bad pitch between Demarcus Davis and Hester and returned it 32 yards to just outside the Randolph County 10. The Tigers held Piedmont out of the end zone with a goal line stand and went on to piece together a long drive capped by Donte Jordan’s 3-yard touchdown run. Davis added the two-point conversion and Randolph County led 14-7 at halftime.

Hester was among several players who’d eventually leave the game midway into the second quarter due to severe cramping and would not return for the rest of the game.

“In this heat and humidity most of our guys are playing 50-55 snaps, their guys are playing 100-110 snaps, I think it makes a big difference,” Smith said.

The Bulldogs took their second lead at 15-14 when Mason Mohon scored on a 2-yard keeper and added the two-point conversion.

“That was a decision made at the halftime,” Smith said. “We wanted the game momentum. I felt like it was important that we come back out and regain the lead and not tie it up. I wanted to do something to put them behind the eight ball a little bit to play from behind.”

The Tigers answered on the next possession with Jordan scoring on a 42-yard run. Davis connected a pass with TJ Sims to covert the two-point conversion and it was 22-15.

Mohon’s second touchdown of the game, a 4-yard scramble late in the third quarter, got Piedmont close, but the failed conversion left it trailing 22-21. Mohon rushed for 99 yards on 24 carries.

“Although we keep losing quarterbacks to graduation, we keep coming back with some guys who do a really good job leading our team,” Smith said. “Mason showed a lot of character tonight. He grew up a lot in the second half tonight. He did exactly what he had to do to lead our offense tonight.”

Jenkins’ 32-yard run put the Bulldogs ahead for good 27-22. He finished with 150 yards rushing on 15 carries.

The Tigers were left with 1:58 and the field to drive for a chance to take the lead but fumbled on the second play and Piedmont ran out of the clock.

“I think our defense was much, much better in the second half,” Smith said. “The fumble at the end was huge so we could run the time out.”

Piedmont 27, Randolph County 22
Team stats Pied RC

First downs 15 8
Rushing yds 305 260
Passes 5-11-1 4-7-0
Passing yds 62 58
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1
Punts-avg 3-29.1 5-32.0
Penalties 7-60 6-30

Scoring summary
Piedmont 7 0 14 6 – 27
Randolph Co. 6 8 8 0 – 22

RC – Antario Hester 45 run (PAT failed), 11:05 1Q
P – Elijah Johnson 7 run (Brant Deerman kick), 0:30 1Q
RC – Donte Jordan 3 run (Donte Jordan run), 1:11 2Q
P – Mason Mohon 2 run (Mason Mohon run), 9:17 3Q
RC – Donte Jordan 42 run (T.J. Sims pass from Demarcus Davis), 6:00 3Q
P – Mason Mohon 4 run (PAT failed), 0:16 3Q
P – Kaedon Jenkins 32 run (PAT failed), 7:10 4Q

The Piedmont defense swarms a Randolph County ballcarrier. The defense played a big role for the Bulldogs in the second half.

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