E.A. Sports Today

Piedmont leads at half

Hayes scores 3 touchdowns, leads Bulldogs to 20-10 lead on St. James at halftime of Class 3A title game

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

AUBURN –  Piedmont quarterback Jack Hayes and the Bulldogs are halfway home to their third Class 3A state championship in four years.

With Hayes playing the final game of his record-setting Piedmont career and last chance to make his statement for Mr. Football, the Bulldogs lead St. James 20-10 at halftime of the Class 3A state championship game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Bulldogs have won five state titles – 2009, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2021 – all under coach Steve Smith. They’ve been in the championship game six of the last eight years. Hayes has been on the team for four of them, missing only in 2020.

Hayes scored all three of Piedmont’s touchdowns in the first half.

He directed the Bulldogs to a touchdown on their first possession of the game, capping a 68-yard drive with a 3-yard run. He accounted for 69 yards of offense in the drive, highlighted by a 20-yard run and 35-yard completion to Rollie Pinto on consecutive plays.

He scored a 4-yard run with 6:00 left in the first half, but the Bulldogs missed the extra point.

Then he answered St. James’ touchdown with a one-yard run with three seconds left in the half.

In the first half he accounted for 212 yards of total offense, 141 yards rushing.

In his last five halves in the state finals (2019, 2021, 2022), Hayes has rushed for 387 yards, thrown for 403 yards and accounted for 12 touchdowns.

He is the state’s career leader in passing yards, total offense, touchdown passes and touchdowns accounted for.

In between Hayes’ first two touchdowns, St. James kick Jake Huff booted a 40-yard field goal.

The Trojans cut Piedmont’s lead to three points when Cosner Harrison went 13 yards for a touchdown with 2:39 left in the half.

The game started promisingly for the Trojans. K.J. Jackson completed a 36-yard pass to diminutive Ethan Beard on the first snap of the game, but they ended up turning the ball over on downs.

141st Downs6
4-10-0Passing (C-A-I)4-8-1
71Passing yards68
Piedmont (12-2)71320
St. James (12-2)3710

P: Jack Hayes 3 run (Sloan Smith kick), 6:47 1Q
SJ: Jake Huff 40 FG, 0:35 1Q
P: Jack Hayes 4 run (kick failed), 6:00 2Q
SJ: Cosner Harrison 13 run (Jake Huff kick), 2:39 2Q
P: Jack Hayes 1 run (Sloan Smith kick), 0:03 2Q

You must be logged in to post a comment Login