E.A. Sports Today

Now they can celebrate

Class 3A Region 5: Piedmont’s Hayes joins elite group, Saks, Ohatchee keep pace; Wellborn clinches playoff spot

Ohatchee 54, Pleasant Valley 14
Piedmont 38, Hokes Bluff 14
Saks 54, Glencoe 7
Wellborn 66, Weaver 19


Piedmont7-1, 5-1Saks, Glencoe, Weaver, PV
Hokes Bluff
Ohatchee5-3, 5-1Wellborn, HB, PV, Piedmont, GlencoeSaksWeaver0
Saks8-1, 5-1Wellborn, Ohatchee, PV, Weaver, GlencoePiedmontHokes Bluff10*
Wellborn5-3, 4-2PV, Glencoe, Hokes Bluff, WeaverOhatchee, SaksPiedmont4
3-5, 3-3PV, Glencoe, WeaverOhatchee, Wellborn, PiedmontSaks
Weaver1-7, 1-5GlencoePV, HB, Piedmont, Saks, WellbornOhatchee
1-7, 1-5WeaverHB, Saks, Wellborn, Piedmont, OhatcheeGlencoe
Glencoe0-8, 0-6Weaver, Piedmont, HB, Saks, Wellborn, OhatcheePV
NRW: Wins by defeated non-region opponents (tiebreaker); *-includes forfeit win

By East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER – Logan Nelson finally got to give somebody the ice bath he was so looking forward to last week and the Wellborn football team finally could celebrate making the playoffs.

The Panthers formally clinched the No. 4 playoff spot out of Class 3A Region 5 with a 66-19 rout of Weaver Friday night.

The Panthers, who have now won five straight after starting the season 0-3, put themselves in position for a playoff spot by beating Hokes Bluff last week, but they had to beat Weaver to lock it down.

“I’m just very proud of our coaches and players; they have worked very hard,” Panthers head coach Jeff Smith said. “Nobody thought we would be in the playoffs this year.”

Jesse Lewis led the charge with 144 yards rushing and five touchdowns. He scored on runs of 19 and 7 yards in the first quarter and runs of 37, 42 and 23 yards in the second.

Quarterback Grayson Johnson threw only two passes, but completed both of them for 65-yard touchdowns to Beau Neely and Neely also returned a kickoff 79 yards for a score.

The Panthers led 60-19 at halftime.

Cover photo: Wellborn’s Jesse Lewis breaks away for one of his five touchdowns against Weaver Friday night. (Photo by Greg Warren)

Hayes joins elite club

HOKES BLUFF – Piedmont quarterback Jack Hayes joined an elite club that had only five members previously Friday night when he threw three touchdown passes to surpass 100 for his career.

Hayes, a junior, connected on 17 of 25 passes for 284 yards and the three scores – giving him 101 career touchdown passes — in the fourth-ranked Bulldogs’ 38-14 victory over Hokes Bluff.

Jeremy Yates of Colbert Heights is currently fifth on the AHSAA’s all-time list for career touchdown passes (103). The all-time leader is Chris Smelley of American Christian, who threw 134 from 2002 through 2005.

Hayes also ran for a touchdown in the game, bringing his career total for touchdowns accounted for to 132, currently 10th on that all-time Alabama list.

Sloan Smith got the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1) on the board in the first quarter with a 27-yard field goal. Hayes ran for a 5-yard score to open the second quarter to give Piedmont a 10-0 lead.

Hokes Bluff (3-5, 3-3) cut Piedmont’s advantage to 10-7 on Tucker Griffin’s 3-yard touchdown run with 7:09 left in the first half, but the Bulldogs bolstered their lead to 24-7 at halftime on two of Hayes’ touchdown tosses – a 64-yarder to Estes and a 3-yarder to Thornton.

Hayes’s third touchdown pass came with 7:55 left in the third quarter – an 11-yard connection with Gatyln Gardner – to put Piedmont in front 31-7.

Brayden Morgan scored Piedmont’s final touchdown on a 14-yard run with 3:30 remaining in the third. Morgan finished with 94 yards on 12 carries.

Griffin accounted for Hokes Bluff’s final score on a 6-yard touchdown run with 6:33 left in the game. He finished with 73 yards on 15 carries.

Quarterback Jordan Bradley ran for 75 yards on six totes. He also completed 5-of-11 pass attempts for 65 yards, but was intercepted by Cody Holloway and Tanner McQueen.

Piedmont 38, Hokes Bluff 14

Piedmont (7-1, 5-1)321140 –38
Hokes Bluff (3-5, 3-3)0707 –14

P – Sloan Smith 27 FG, 8:34 1Q
P – Jack Hayes 5 run (Sloan Smith kick), 10:59 2Q
H – Tucker Griffin 3 run (Jaden Burns kick), 7:09 2Q
P – Austin Estes 64 pass from Jack Hayes (Sloan Smith kick), 5:21 2Q
P – Parker Thornton 3 pass from Jack Hayes (Sloan Smith kick), 1:43 2Q
P – Gatyln Gardner 11 pass from Jack Hayes (Sloan Smith kick), 7:55 3Q
P – Brayden Morgan 14 run (Sloan Smith kick), 3:30 3Q
H – Tucker Griffin 6 run (Jaden Burns kick), 6:33 4Q

Pied (38)HB (14)
241st Downs13
284Passing yds65

Indians weather another storm

JACKSONVILLE – Eli Ennis and Kyler Vice both enjoyed 100-yard rushing nights and scored multiple touchdowns while playing through another emotional game in Ohatchee’s 54-14 victory over Pleasant Valley.

It was the Indians’ first game since Jack McCombs collapsed at practice with a brain aneurysm. The senior defensive lineman and tight end has been making progress in his recovery and is said to be cleared to leave the ICU.

His older brothers Coleman and Cam, both of whom played for the Indians, served as honorary team captains for the game.

“We were missing a big part of ourselves tonight without Jack, but he was in our hearts and minds all night,” said interim head coach Chris Findley, now 3-1 since taking over for Scott Martin, who remains on administrative leave, with three wins in a row.

Vice was the Indians’ leading rusher in the game with 105 yards on seven carries. He scored on a 1-yard run and returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown.

Ennis rushed for 101 yards on five carries and scored two of the Indians’ first three touchdowns on runs of 4 and 55 yards.

Devin Howell, Wyatt Cole Reaves, Jesse Baswell and Bryce Noah had the Indians’ other touchdowns. The defense forced three turnovers and held PV to two first downs in the first half.

The win keeps the Indians in a three-way for first place in Class 3A Region 5. 

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