E.A. Sports Today

So close

Would-be, game-winning touchdown pass ruled out of bounds, and Piedmont falls to Lauderdale County 35-30 in second-round classic.

Football playoffs

FRIDAY, Nov. 17
A.H. Parker 21, Oxford 14, FINAL
Cherokee County 49, Haleyville 14, FINAL
Jacksonville 28, Bibb County 21, FINAL
Booker T. Washington 22, Handley 9, FINAL
St. James 41, Randolph County 6, FINAL
Lauderdale County 35, Piedmont 30, FINAL
Wadley 81, South Lamar 27, FINAL

Quarterfinal pairings

Cherokee County at West Morgan
Catholic-Montgomery at Jacksonville
Wadley at Pickens County

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT — For a moment, Piedmont’s home side erupted Friday.

For that moment, after Trevor Pike caught a pass at the front corner of the end zone, the home side waited to see an official raise his arms to signal a would-be winning touchdown.

Instead, the official swept his arms to signal out of bounds.

That’s how close Piedmont came to stretching its late-season turnaround under first-year coach Jonathan Miller to the Class 3A quarterfinals. Close, but Lauderdale County survived a second-round classic 35-30 on the Field of Champions.

Piedmont finished a season beset graduation losses, injuries and a brutal first-half schedule at 5-7 while undefeated Lauderdale County advanced to play host to Geraldine in the quarterfinals.

“I tell you, our kids have been resilient all year,” Miller said. “They fought their tails off, and it was no different tonight.

“After all of the ups and downs and all of the things we’ve been through, we’ve kept working and and getting better, and we were an eyelash away from the third round.”

On a night where everything mattered, Piedmont quarterback Cole Wilson completed 17 of 26 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns … 49, 12 and 49 yards to Ishmael Bethel and 14 yards to Luke Rhinehart.

Some of Wilson’s touchdown connections came on spectacular plays. He scrambled left and delivered a strike on his first hookup with Bethel, who juked three defenders after the catch and finished off the play for a 10-7 Piedmont lead at 11:15 of the second quarter.

Wilson scrambled right, spotted Rhinehart and then threw back across the field to give Piird.edmont 17-13 lead at 3:25 of the second.

Wilson dropped his second 49-yarder to Bethel over the top with a perfect lead to give Piedmont a 30-29 lead with 4:51 left, completing a comeback from a 29-17 deficit.

As much as Piedmont’s defense struggled to stop Lauderdale County’s balanced attack, the Bulldogs made two of them game’s biggest plays. McClane Mohon recovered a Micah Christensen fumble at Piedmont’s 37-yard line ahead of Wilson’s first touchdown pass to Bethel, and Rhinehart fell on a bad Jaxson Lovelace-Christensen exchange at Piedmont’s 13 ahead of Wilson’s second 49-yard touchdown pass to Bethel for the go-ahead score.

Lovelace and Lauderdale County’s rushing attack made kept up their part of the classic game. He completed nine of 10 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns: 59 yards to Hudson Lash for a 21-17 Tigers lead with 43 seconds left in the second quarter and 33 yards to Joseph Tucker to make it 29-17 at 8:07 of the the third.

Christensen, Braxton Rose, Payton Richardson and Lovelace combined to give Lauderdale County 239 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including Richardon’s 5-yard run to make it 35-30 with 42 seconds left.

It was just enough time for Wilson to lead the Bulldogs into position to win the game.

A pass-interference penalty then 25-yard completion to Rhinehart spotted Piedmont at Lauderdale County’s 27 before Piedmont called timeout with 18 seconds left.

Coming out of the timeout, Piedmont ran a wheel route to Pike toward the wide (visiting) side. Pike made a leaping catch at the front corner of the end zone.

Lash initially lined up on Bethel, who ran a post toward Lauderdale County’s two-deep safeties. Lash released Bethel to the inside then made up ground on Pike.

Lash hit Pike after Pike caught the ball, and Pike fell over the sideline.

“I thought I had it,” Pike said. “I thought my feet would’ve dragged in bounds.”

Wilson scrambled to Pike’s side of the field before throwing the pass and viewed the play from behind it.

“I thought he had it, at first,” Wilson said. “They guy made a great play to push him out of bounds before he could get down, so props to him.”

Lauderdale County-Piedmont updates

–Kickoff 7 p.m.


–Cole Wilson’s 42-yard pass to Trevor Pike sets up Chase Cardelli’s 30-yard field goal at 8:44. PIEDMONT 3, LCHS 0

–LCHS answers with a 72-yard drive leading to Jaxson Lovelace’s 1-yard sneak for a TD. PAT good at 2:13. LCHS 7, PIEDMONT 3


—A McClane Mohon fumble recovery at Piedmont’s 37 sets up Cole Wilson’s beautifully thrown, 49-yard TD bomb to Ish Bethel. PAT good at 11:15. PIEDMONT 10, LCHS 7

— Braxton Rose with a 5-yard TD run. PAT no good at 6:16. LCHS 13, PIEDMONT 10

–Cole Wilson playing the best game I’ve seen him play this season. Scrambles right, looks back and finds Luke Rhinehart for a 14-yard TD pass. Cardelli PAT good at 3:25. PIEDMONT 17, LCHS 13

–Lovelace underthrows deep to Hudson Lash, who adjusts and comes back to the ball then eludes Demetrius Owen and finishes off a 59-yard TD pass. Lovelace throws to Joseph Tucker for the conversion at 43.3. LCHS 21, PIEDMONT 17


–Lovelace to Tucker, 33-yard TD pass. Bobbled snap on PAT at 8:07, but offsides on Piedmont. Micah Christensen runs it in for two. LCHS 29, PIEDMONT 17

–Piedmont answers with a drive and Cole Wilson’s 11-yard TD pass to Bethel on fourth and 3. Cardelli’s kick is true at 4:37. LCHS 29, PIEDMONT 24


–With Wilson’s perfect, scrambling throw and a few nifty moves from Bethel after the catch, Piedmont completes a 49-yard TD pass to take the lead. The score comes after Rhinehart recovers a LCHS fumble at Piedmont’s 13. Wilson’s conversion pass intercepted at 4:51: PIEDMONT 30, LCHS 29

–With 42.1 seconds to play, LCHS scores on Payton Richardson’s 5-yard run. Piedmont stops the conversion. LCHS 35, PIEDMONT 30

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