E.A. Sports Today


Three of the four playoff teams from Class 3A Region 6 – Piedmont, Randolph County, Wellborn – reach state quarterfinals

By Jeremy Wortham
For East Alabama Sports Today
HUNTSVILLE – Randolph County has gotten through the first two rounds of the Class 3A playoffs without throwing a pass, but coach Pat Prestridge and the Tigers know sooner or later that’s going to have to change.
The Tigers used another big half performance to power past Westminster Christian 54-6 Friday and stamp their ticket to the state quarterfinals for the fifth year in a row. They’ll host region rival Wellborn in the third round.
For the second straight week the Tigers (11-1) stuck to their bread-and-butter all season: Run the ball!
Through the playoffs the Tigers have yet to throw their first pass, but, then, why would they need to when their offense is totaling 877 yards on the ground through the first two rounds. They had 557 yards on 51 carries against the Wildcats.
“We are going to have to pass it sooner or later, down the road; we work on it,” Prestridge said. “But why change something when it’s working for you.”

Leading rusher Dante Jordan made big strides as he racked up 279 yards on 14 carries and scored four touchdowns against the Wildcats (8-3). He had two touchdown runs of 5 yards and two of 46.
“I’m just trying to play confident and competitive,” he said. “My offensive line has been blocking great, too.”

It only took one play and nine seconds for the Tigers to find their first footing in the end zone and it didn’t stop there. They scored on eight of their nine possessions with Keyshawn Garrett, Demarcus Davis and Jack McKissic also finding pay dirt.

Equally prominent was the defense as they kept the Wildcats in check most of the game, allowing only 31 yards on the ground (133 total) while forcing two fumbles. Davis also recorded two interceptions. The Wildcats were able to muster enough offense to score late in the third to avoid being shut out.
Class 3A, Region 6 have seen its fair share of rematches in the third and fourth rounds over the last four years. The Tigers won the regular season matchup with Wellborn 17-14, handing the Panthers their only loss of the season on a game-winning field goal with seconds to spare. 
The winner Friday night has the chance for another region matchup in the state semifinals as Piedmont travels to Geraldine on the other side of the North bracket.

“We rematched with Saks last year, Ohatchee a few years before that,” said Prestridge. “This region is the SEC of high school football.”
Randolph County           18        16        7          13        –          54        
Westminster Christian  0          0          6          0          –          6
Scoring plays
RC – Dante Jordan 46 run (conversion failed), 11:51 1Q
RC – Dante Jordan 5 run (conversion failed), 8:28 1Q
RC – Damarcus Davis 5 run (conversion failed), 4:04 1Q
RC – Keyshawn Garrett 33 run (Dante Jordan run), 11:24 2Q
RC – Keyshawn Garrett 5 run (Dante Jordan run), 5:51 2Q
RC – Dante Jordan 46 run (Braxton Daniel kick), 7:31 3Q
W – Samuel Sheppard 13 pass from Brandon Musch (kick failed), 4:56 3Q
RC – Dante Jordan 5 run (kick failed), 11:54 4Q
RC – Jack McKissic 16 run (Braxton Daniel kick), 5:17 4Q

Piedmont 42, Lauderdale County 20

PIEDMONT — Elijah Johnson ran for 141 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns, and Jack Hayes threw for 183 yards and two scores to lead fifth-ranked Piedmont past Lauderdale County 42-20 in second the second round of the Class 3A football playoffs.
The win sends the Bulldogs (11-1) to play Geraldine in a rematch of the regular-season finale that Piedmont won 35-14. It’s the fifth year in a row the Bulldogs have made it to the third round. Three teams from Class 3A Region 6 advanced to this year’s quarterfinals.
Johnson scored the Bulldogs’ first two touchdowns on runs of 5 and 58 yards. The 5-yarder capped a long, time-consuming opening drive. He now has 847 yards and nine touchdowns for the season.
“He’s a big back, can run really well, has good agility,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. “He got some tough yards on the inside.
“He’s really kind of figured it out the second half of the season (and) become a great force for us. We’re doing a lot more one-back stuff and four-wide stuff this year and he’s done a great job of being that guy in the backfield.”

Hayes was responsible for Piedmont’s next two touchdowns, throwing scoring strikes to Jakari Foster and Max Hanson between Lauderdale County’s only score of the half. Hayes also scored on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Hayes now has thrown 35 touchdown passes this season.

LC (20)Pied (42)

Lauderdale Co.   0          6          6          8          –          20
Piedmont         7          21        0          14        –          42
Scoring plays
P – Elijah Johnson 5 run (Bryce Mohon kick), 4:28 1Q
P – Elijah Johnson 58 run (Bryce Mohon kick), 8:15 2Q
P – Jakari Foster 14 pass from Jack Hayes (Bryce Mohon kick), 5:27 2Q
L – Steven Wisdom 65 pass from Michael Brown (PAT failed), 3:33 2Q
P – Max Hanson 74 pass from Jack Hayes (Bryce Mohon kick), 1:47 2Q
L – Steven Wisdom 26 pass from Michael Brown (conversion failed), 4:26 3Q
P – Jack Hayes 7 run (Bryce Mohon kick), 11:55 4Q
P – Parker Thornton 15 run (Bryce Mohon kick), 4:19 4Q
L – Steven Wisdom 31 run (Michael Brown run). 2:37 4Q

Wellborn 21, Susan Moore 14

ANNISTON – Bryson Heath’s 3-yard touchdown run with 8:54 to play broke a 14-14 tie and the defense came up with several stops down the stretch to make the Panthers an 11-game winner for the first time since 1995 and send them into the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
The Panthers (11-1) will face a familiar opponent in the next round and go into it with a sense of payback on their mind. They visit Randolph County, the team that handed them their only loss – on a field goal with four seconds left – back on Oct. 11.
The Panthers grabbed a 14-0 lead on touchdown runs by Kentrez Hunt and Calvin Spinks and led 14-7 at halftime. The previously unbeaten Bulldogs (11-1) tied it on Anthony Cervantes’ 5-yard run three minutes into the second half.
“When they tied it up … we started really playing,” Wellborn coach Jeff Smith said, noting the game was being played five years to the day many on his current players won the Coosa Valley youth league championship. “It shows we have tremendous character on this team. We have a lot of kids who are very competitive and refused to lose. That game could’ve gone south, but they didn’t let it happen.”
Quarterback Jett Smith led the Panthers’ 304-yard rushing attack with 172 yards. Cervantes rushed for 107 yards for the Bulldogs.

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