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Piedmont struggles in final preseason scrimmage


Blake Colston

sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

MUSTANG — Class 4A perennial power Anadarko showed why its won two state championships and played for a third in the previous four seasons on Thursday night at the Mustang Pigskin Preview.

Unfortunately for Piedmont, the methodical display of strength, speed and power came at its expense.

Anadarko’s defense held the Wildcats offense to just two first downs — one by penalty — in 24 minutes of game action in the 14-0 win. Warriors running back Trey Eason scored on touchdown runs of 51 and 33 yards.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont's Hunter Chism tracks down a touchdown pass from quarterback Noah Ellis on Thursday in Mustang.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Hunter Chism tracks down a touchdown pass from quarterback Noah Ellis on Thursday in Mustang.

It wasn’t unlike the Warriors’ teams Piedmont grew accustomed to competing with before its move to 5A last season. Anadarko and Piedmont shared a 4A district for many seasons, so the performance didn’t come as a surprise for Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go to put ourselves in position to win football games. This was an eye opener for our kids,” he said. “Credit Anadarko, they did a great job and always have. They really fly around and make things happen.”

After what Gossen described as a successful opening scrimmage against Northwest Classen Aug. 21, things went south on both sides of the ball during the first 12-minute half on Thursday. PHS went three-and-out three straight times and gave up touchdowns on its first two times on defense. The trial by fire wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, though.

“I was excited when I saw our draw was Anadarko, honestly, because it was a great opportunity for us to have a measuring stick,” Gossen said. “It was just that, a measuring stick, and a good opportunity to see what we needed to work on. That’s what scrimmages are for and that’s the positive out of this.”

After struggling to stop Eason and Anadarko quarterback Nacho Gallegos on the ground in the first half, Piedmont’s defense steadied itself in the second. The Wildcats shut out the Warriors offense and forced a fumble they recovered inside their own 20-yardline off a big hit from defensive end Delbert Todd.

“Delbert is going to be a playmaker for us,” Gossen said. “We’re excited about what he’s going to be able to do for us.

“To get a shutout in the second half and to have people kind of fitting into the speed of the game and where they need to be, I was pleased to see that and excited for them. I think like last year our defense has a chance to be really solid.”

Facing his stiffest test as Piedmont’s new starting quarterback, junior Noah Ellis wasn’t spectacular, but managed the game well and played turnover-free. In the earlier three-way portion of the scrimmage against Anadarko, Elk City and Bishop McGuinness , Ellis connected with Hunter Chism on a 30-yard touchdown pass.

“This was his first opportunity to see someone really move around in front of him,” Gossen said. “This was a great learning opportunity for him. The thing I loved — he never turned the ball over. That’s one of the things we asked him to do, so I’m excited about that.”

With the ‘Cats opener at Skiatook just a week away now, Gossen said his team will get back to work.

“From here we just try and do our best to improve on the things that we have to,” he said.

Schlomach making a big impression

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

A.J. Schlomach stands out in a room, or anywhere for that matter, including the football field.

Most 6-foot-4, 260-pound high school football players do, but when Schlomach first arrived in Piedmont after transferring in from Tolleson High School in the Phoenix area, his fellow teammates weren’t sure what to think of him.

“Some of them thought I was one of the new coaches,” Schlomach recalled with a laugh. AJ Scholmach

Even as only a junior, Schlomach looks like a grown man. He has a full beard and deep voice to prove it, too.

From the start, Schlomach had his teammates and coaches’ attention. He knew though, that a solid frame wouldn’t be enough to gain his new teammates’ respect if he didn’t work hard in summer conditioning.

“His first day of summer pride he was into it,” head coach Drew Gossen said. “There’s no question, when he steps into the weight room that it’s his domain.” Read more →

Piedmont confident in Ellis’ ability

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont junior Noah Ellis has the kind of intangibles that are hard for head coach Drew Gossen to characterize specifically, but he knows they’re the
ones he wants in his starting quarterback.

Which is why as Piedmont approaches its season opener at defending Class 5A runner-up Skiatook, it does so with a quiet confidence about how Ellis will perform in the first varsity game action of his young career.

Blake Colston/Gazette Quarterback Noah Ellis throws on the run during a recent practice as head coach Drew Gossen looks on.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Quarterback Noah Ellis throws on the run during a recent practice as head coach Drew Gossen looks on.

“He’s a kid that’s heady and has sort of an innate knowledge of the game,” Gossen said. “He has some of those intangible qualities you can’t teach.”

Athletically, Ellis runs well enough to keep defenses honest. He continues to grow as a passer in Piedmont’s evolving offense that includes lots of read-and-react options for the quarterback.

“He’s really starting to throw the ball pretty well and it’s been good to see him develop and continue to improve,” Gossen said. “Confidence has played a big part in that. He’s starting to feel like he’s the guy and has started to own the role a little bit.” Read more →

One-on-one with Piedmont kicker Butch Hampton

Piedmont Gazette sports editor Blake Colston spoke with Piedmont senior kicker Butch Hampton about his commitment to Western Michigan, his goals for his final season as a Wildcat and more after a recent fall practice.

BC:  We talked about this time last season you thought you’d probably be committed somewhere by this time. Now that you’ve chosen Western Michigan, what’s it like to be set with that and to know where you’re going?
BH: It’s a load off my back. It’s one less thing I have to worry about. It’s really, really nice just to focus on high school. That’s the best part, I’m 100 percent focused on the season coming up.

Blake Colston/Gazette Butch Hampton committed to Western Michigan on April 3.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Butch Hampton committed to Western Michigan on April 3.

BC: Are other teams still recruiting you?
BH: I get stuff in the mail from other schools, but I don’t talk on the phone with them or anything like that. I’ve made it pretty clear where I am going.

BC: How fun will it be to follow Western Michigan this season?
BH: It’s going to be unbelievable. They open up against Michigan State on the exact same day, Sept. 4, at almost the exact same time we play Skiatook. So I’m going to record it and go home, watch it about 3 a.m. or whenever we get home, and then I’m going to go film at 7 a.m. It’s going to be a fun night. Read more →

Piedmont volleyball breaks out brooms vs. Noble

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont volleyball shook off a slow start and closed by playing its best sets of the young season Tuesday night on its way to a three-set sweep of Noble.

The Lady Wildcats trailed early in the first set 10-3, but after a timeout rallied to win 25-22. PHS coasted in the final two sets by scores of 25-13 and 25-11. Laureli Grothe (five kills), Delaney Mitchell (five kills) and Hannah McGarraugh (three kills) helped the ‘Cats break out of a lackluster start and finish strong.

Blake Colston/Gazette Laureli Grothe goes up for a hit Tuesday night in Piedmont's sweep of Noble.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Laureli Grothe goes up for a hit Tuesday night in Piedmont’s sweep of Noble.

Piedmont trailed twice briefly in the third set, but otherwise led every point after the first set.

“The first set we were a little rough, but once we got past that we were really consistent,” head coach Lauren Bernhardt said, who added that overall it was her team’s best hitting performance of the season. “Hannah had a really good game. She’s had the most consistent games for us so far.” Read more →

Piedmont softball run-rules Deer Creek, 8-0

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont drove home four runs with two outs on Thursday night and Kassidy Scott pitched a one-hitter to lead the Lady Wildcats to an 8-0 run-rule win over the Deer Creek Lady Antlers in the first of two games between the bitter rivals this season.

“I’m ecstatic. I can’t believe that.” Piedmont head coach Rick Scott said afterwards of the result. “They went 5-1 at the Broken Arrow Tournament and we went 1-5, and we come back today and shut them out and run-rule them.”M Lowe

The result might not have been as unexpected, though. Scott sensed extra energy in Piedmont’s dugout before the game and thought it might be a good night.

“We’ve got to try and have that as much as we can,” he said. “We had a playoff atmosphere tonight.”

Piedmont stranded two runners in scoring position through the first two innings, and although the Lady ‘Cats led 1-0, Scott worried the missed opportunities could come back to haunt them. Read more →

Piedmont softball a work in progress early this season

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

OKLAHOMA CITY — There was little drama at Bishop McGuinness High School on Tuesday afternoon.

Piedmont hammered the Fighting Irish 17-2 in five innings, but that was mostly beside the point for Lady Wildcats head coach Rick Scott.

That’s because for one of the few times in Scott’s tenure in Piedmont, the Lady ‘Cats remained under .500 after the win. PHS is now 4-5 after a rough showing at the Broken Arrow Tournament last weekend that included losses to Bartlesville, Pryor, Tahlequah and Mustang.

_MG_4157[1]

Cassadie Ray swings at a pitch during Piedmont’s 17-2 win over Bishop McGuinness Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

It’s early, but the slow start is no less concerning to Scott, who led his team to the 5A state title game last season.

“It’s not what we’re used to,” Scott said of the below .500 mark. “But with six girls in new positions we learned a lot this weekend. We played some tough teams that I think made us mature. We saw a lot of areas where we needed to improve.”

The 1-5 weekend in Broken Arrow — Piedmont’s only win came against Muskogee — left the Lady Wildcats demoralized. Monday’s practice was a good one, though, and afterwards Scott held a long team meeting that included swimming and laughing with little talk of softball.

“Our expectations are high. Let’s just face facts,” Scott said. “Sometimes it’s my fault. I just need to let things happen. I expect us to be playing like we were last October and we’re not there yet.” Read more →

Piedmont slips past Bethany in four sets

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

The past two seasons, Bethany got the best of Piedmont on the volleyball court. Monday night in a noisy Piedmont gymnasium, the Lady Wildcats returned at least part of the favor.

Behind a match-high 11 kills from sophomore Brooke Spears and consistent setting from Kasidi Hardy, Piedmont beat the Broncos in four sets (25-17, 25-17, 16-25, 25-22) to improve to 2-1 overall.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont's Brooke Spears, left, Maddie Boothe, right, celebrate after match point Monday night.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Brooke Spears, left, Maddie Boothe, right, celebrate after match point Monday night.

“This was a game we really wanted to win,” first-year head coach Lauren Bernhardt said. “It feels good to get this one.”

The Lady Cats’ determination showed in the first two sets, as Piedmont never trailed while coasting to easy victories by 25-17 margins.

“Our first two sets we played how I want us to play,” Bernhardt said. “We were consistent with our hits and overall we kept our spirit up.”

But with the opportunity to put the match away in straight sets, Piedmont struggled in the third. The Lady ‘Cats made eight hitting errors, fell behind 8-1 and never pulled closer than five points.

“Our passing went down, we had two missed serves and made some simple errors that you can’t come back from,” Bernhardt said. “It gave (Bethany) momentum. We have to learn how to stay consistent and finish in three.” Read more →

St. John anxious for opportunity at Saint Louis

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

2-26 Piedmont CSJ

Blake Colston/Gazette Conner St. John will join Saint Louis University’s swim team later this month.

Conner St. John’s final event as a high school swimmer couldn’t have gone better for the four-time state champion from Piedmont.

St. John won both his individual events in the 100-yard breast stroke and the 200-yard individual medley while also swimming the 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard individual medley relay at the All-State swim meet at the Jenks Aquatics Center.

“It was really fun. It might’ve been the most exciting high school oriented meet I’ve ever been to,” he said of the West teams’ win. “It was the last hurrah for us as high school swimmers.”

St. John caught up with a group of his club swim teammates from around the state before and after the meet. Dustin Wu of Norman North, Avery Nieman of Heritage Hall, Jesse Gibson of Norman and Ally Robertson of Edmond North, just to name a few.

“That was my favorite part of the event,” he said. “I caught up with a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while and might not ever see again.”

That’s because on Aug. 17, St. John heads off to begin his college swim career at Saint Louis University. Read more →

Piedmont football gets fall camp underway

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Football is officially back, but for fans everywhere the wait continues.

It’s the same in Piedmont, where Monday the Wildcats opened fall camp, which continues until their season opener at defending Class 5A state runner-up Skiatook Sept. 4.

While fans wait, the players and coaches get their first real glimpse of what this season’s team will be like. Deer Creek-Piedmont

“Football is almost year round now, but really fall is what it’s all about,” PHS second-year head coach Drew Gossen said. “This is the time to hook it up and get some things done. It’s nice to know it’s here.”

Piedmont will practice 13 times – including four two-a-day practices preceded by four days with helmets and no pads – before its first scrimmage Aug. 21 against Northwest Classen. Gossen, who said he was pleased with the progress his team made in offseason conditioning and 7-on-7 drills this summer, expects a mix of fundamental refreshers and more advanced work early in the practice season.

“We have to start preparing ourselves, so we’ll dive right into it. There will be some fundamental work, but for the most part we’ll get right into it,” he said. Read more →

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