E.A. Sports Today

Piedmont’s night

Bulldogs go for two to beat Hokes Bluff in overtime, and victory coupled with Ohatchee loss lifts Piedmont into playoffs as region’s No. 3 seed.

Cover photo: Piedmont’s Luke Rhinehart fights to get over the goal line for the game-winning two-point conversion as the Bulldogs beat Hokes Bluff on Friday at Piedmont. (Photo by Jean Blackstone/For East Alabama Sports Today)

Friday scoreboard

Alexandria 50, Talladega 15, FINAL
Anniston 38, Cleburne County 36, FINAL
Central-Clay 30, Russell County 14, FINAL
Cherokee County 56, Ashville 7, FINAL
Geraldine 54, Glencoe 7, FINAL
Handley 35, Munford 14, FINAL
Piedmont 22, Hokes Bluff 21, FINAL OT
Jacksonville 62, White Plains 0, FINAL
Tuscaloosa Christian 56, Jax Christian 48, FINAL
Leeds 30, Lincoln 14, FINAL
Plainview 34, Ohatchee 18, FINAL
Oxford 35, Center Point 14, FINAL
Pleasant Valley 50, Gaston 20, FINAL
Ranburne 64, Central-Coosa 39, FINAL
Randolph County 32, Dadeville 22, FINAL
Wellborn 62, Saks 34, FINAL
Moody 34, Southside 21, FINAL
Spring Garden 41, Ragland 27, FINAL
Wadley 47, Talladega County Central 0, FINAL
Beulah 38, Weaver 31, FINAL
Isabella 55, Woodland 14, FINAL
Open: Donoho.

By East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT — So much went wrong for a young Piedmont team saddled with injuries and a brutal schedule this season, but everything went right Friday.

Luke Rhinehart’s physical extra effort to get over the goal line for a two-point conversion in overtime made the difference, and the Bulldogs beat Hokes Bluff 22-21 on the Field of Champions.

Not only did the Bulldogs (4-5), winners in three of their past four games, get into the playoffs under first-year head coach Jonathan Miller. They’ll go as the No. 3 seed in Class 3A, Region 6, avoiding the three-way tiebreaker scenario.

Piedmont (4-3 region) accomplished that by knocking Hokes Bluff (5-4, 4-3) out of the third spot. Ohatchee, which had the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of a victory at Piedmont on Sept. 22, fell to 5-5, 3-4 with a loss at Plainview on Friday.

Piedmont will open the playoffs Nov. 10 at J.B. Pennington.

A team that lost nine offensive starters, including record-setting quarterback Jack Hayes, and six on defense to graduation, lost key offensive playmaker Rollie Pinto to a season-ending knee injury and lost Trevor Pike for a time to injury found its way.

“Everything went perfect for us,” said Miller, the former Saks head coach who took over when five-time state champion head coach Steve Smith left Piedmont for Westbrook Christian. “After all we’ve been through, the ups and downs and injuries and growing pains we’ve been through, tonight went about as perfect as it could go for us. 

“We’ve continued to fight all year long despite the circumstances, and we finally had things go our way.”

Cole Wilson completed 14 of 29 passes for 127 yards, a touchdown and the game-winning two-point conversion, and Ishmael Bethel caught seven passes for 79 yards and a score.

Hayes Gunn rushed for 97 yards.

Wilson’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Bethel tied the game at 14-14 with 4:31 left in regulation.

Hokes Bluff scored first in overtime on Anderson Morgan’s 7-yard pass to Logan Wierman.

Gunn answered with a 10-yard touchdown run, and Miller made the call to go for the two-point conversion. Rhinehart fought off a tackler to push the ball over the goal line.

“We were at the point to where we almost went for two when we scored in regulation,” Miller said. “I felt like we could get the ball back, so we didn’t go at that time. 

“It (overtime) was at that point in the game where we were worn out and didn’t know if we could get another stop, so I put it in our kids’ hands at that point.”

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