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Piedmont clinches its 10th state tournament berth

Blake Colston

Piedmont softball is headed back to the state tournament for the 10th time, and for Piedmont head coach Rick Scott, it’s the sweetest of them all.

Scott’s Lady Wildcats beat Tahlequah 3-0 on Thursday to sweep through their regional and on to next week’s state tournament in Oklahoma City. They did it behind pitcher Kassidy Scott, who threw 17 scoreless innings in two days while driving in eight runs and hitting a pair of mammoth home runs.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont celebrates after winning the regional championship Thursday in Piedmont.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont celebrates after winning the regional championship Thursday in Piedmont.

“She’s just a beast,” Scott said of his daughter. “She took over against a good hitting team today and shut them down. We played fantastic defense behind her, too.”

Piedmont will face Carl Albert (31-6) in the Class 5A State Tournament next Thursday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

“With the way this year started out and where we’re at now, anything can happen,” Scott said of a tumultuous season that started with Piedmont slumping and included a two-game suspension for Scott in the middle of the year. “These girls and coaches that I have are so awesome. They found a way to win and get another regional championship.”

Kassidy Scott gave herself all the support she needed on the day in the top of the first inning. Scott lined a 3-0 pitch into the right-center field gap to score Ashlyn Ratliff to give Piedmont a 1-0 lead. The Lady ‘Cats scored single runs on fielder’s choices in the second and seventh innings.

“We left too many runners on, but we came through when we needed to,” Rick Scott said.  Read more →

Piedmont travels to Carl Albert Friday night

Blake Colston

10-16 Piedmont H Chism

Hunter Chism runs with the football in last season’s loss to Carl Albert.

Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen doesn’t make much of his team’s three-game stretch of games against 5A District-II powerhouses Deer Creek, Guthrie and Carl Albert, the final of which takes place Friday night at 7 at Carl Albert.

He didn’t last year, either, when his Wildcats faced the same three-game gauntlet in the middle of the season.

“You could argue that if we play certain teams on our schedule first that maybe we’re 3-2 instead of 0-5,” he said. “But are we better for that? I don’t know that we are.”

So although Piedmont remains winless and in last place in the district heading into Friday’s game, Gossen is confident his team has gotten better each week because of the challenging schedule.

“You realize that playing great competition is going to make you better in the long run as long as our kids keep fighting,” he said. “So that’s a good thing.”

This week, 11-time state champion Carl Albert and dual-threat quarterback Braxton Dickerson present perhaps the stiffest challenge for Gossen’s team so far this season.

“They want to run the ball and dominate the line of scrimmage. That’s always been their M-O.” Gossen said. “And they’re good at it.” Read more →

Seniors play big role for Piedmont volleyball

Blake Colston

Ashton Howe knew coming into her senior season that her role on this year’s team might diminish.

But what at first she saw as a lesser role has become something completely different. She’s one of Piedmont’s best passers and defensive players and helps setup the Lady Wildcats’ big hitters along the front line.

Blake Colston/Gazette Ashton Howe serves a ball earlier this season.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Ashton Howe serves a ball earlier this season.

“You can’t have the offense without the defense,” head coach Lauren Bernhardt said.

Howe, like her fellow senior class members, has fit perfectly into a role that, before the season she was skeptical about. Once she saw the talent Piedmont had along the front line though, she bought in.

“I think that kind of started my transition into thinking more about defense than offense,” she said. “It’s been a work in progress this season because that’s not my normal position. But I think I’m where I want to be right now.”

For Bernhardt, Howe is exactly what she hopes all of her players will be. Tough-minded, hardworking and selfless.

“She’s fought for this team and she’s been what a team member should be,” Bernhardt said. “She supports everyone and everyone supports her.”

The common theme amongst the senior line class revolves around two things. First, that it’s a tight knit group which has been through a lot together.

“They’re like my family. I couldn’t imagine a greater group of girls to be seniors with and to be on a court with,” Howe said. Read more →

Piedmont moves within one win of state

Blake Colston

Tatum Honer didn’t think she’d have the chance to drive in Piedmont’s first run Wednesday against Tahlequah.

She thought instead that head coach Rick Scott would pinch hit for her and reinsert her later, or possibly have her bunt. When Honer’s spot in the lineup came up with two outs and a runner at second in the third inning, though, Scott let her hit and Honer delivered by bouncing what proved to be the game-winning RBI-single up the middle in the Lady Wildcats’ 5-0 win over Tahlequah.

Blake Colston/Gazette Kassidy Scott, above, and Piedmont are just one win away from reaching the state tournament.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Kassidy Scott, above, and Piedmont are just one win away from reaching the state tournament.

“He ended up keeping me in, so I just said, OK, I have to do my job and get a hit,” Honer said. “It was an inside pitch and I just got my hands through and drove it up the middle.”

Down to her final strike, Honer did the job by grounding a slowly hit ground ball just past the Tigers’ shortstop to score Abby Detar.

“She got it started and opened up the floodgates,” Scott said of Honer’s hit.

With pitcher Kassidy Scott cruising in the circle, an inning later another somewhat unlikely RBI source came through for Piedmont when Noodle Owen drove home a run.

“We executed better tonight than we have in a long time,” Scott said of Piedmont’s approach on offense. “The whole team — everyone on the bench, the fans — they all made a difference.”

Tahlequah mounted a two-out rally in the sixth by putting the tying runs on base, but Scott induced a groundout to shortstop to end the inning. Scott pitched a complete game shutout while allowing just three hits and striking out six. PHS added three unearned insurance runs in its half of the seventh.

Now Piedmont, which was just .500 midway through the season, is one game away from advancing to the state tournament.

“It feels amazing, I can’t even put it into words,” Honer said. “Being my senior year I can’t even describe it.”

Piedmont will play either Tulsa Memorial or Tahlequah tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the regional finals. Either team would have to beat the Wildcats twice to advance.

“It’s not going to be easy tomorrow,” Scott said. “But it’s huge to have to be beat twice. There’s no doubt in my mind if we come out and play like we did today that we’ll be regional champions.”

Piedmont pounds Tulsa Bishop Kelley

Blake Colston

Texas Tech commit Kassidy Scott drove in six runs, hit two home runs and threw a perfect game to lead Piedmont past Tulsa Bishop Kelley 12-0 in a regional playoff game Wednesday afternoon.

Scott did all that in just three innings to advance Piedmont within two wins of a berth in the state tournament. The Wildcats will play the winner of Tulsa Edison and Tahlequah at 6 p.m. tonight in a regional semifinal.

“I hope we can continue this tonight,” head coach Rick Scott said. “That’s what counts. We need to stay focused and keep it up.”

Piedmont scored 10 times in the third inning after Scott put Piedmont in front 2-0 with a two-run home run in the first inning. Jourdan Edwards and Cassadie Ray delivered RBI-doubles in the 10-run frame. Later, Scott added a three-run home run to end the game.

Piedmont improved to 24-13 overall. Bishop Kelley fell to 4-16 overall.

Tulsa Edison beats Piedmont in four sets, heads to state

Blake Colston

Piedmont volleyball’s dream season came to an end Tuesday night in Piedmont in front of a raucous home crowd.

No. 7 Tulsa Edison used athleticism and uncharacteristic mistakes from 11th-ranked Piedmont to clinch its berth to the 5A state tournament in four sets (25-20, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18).

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont’s Delaney Mitchell reaches to return a ball in the Lady Wildcat’s four-set loss to seventh-ranked Tulsa Edison Tuesday night in Piedmont.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Delaney Mitchell reaches to return a ball in the Lady Wildcat’s four-set loss to seventh-ranked Tulsa Edison Tuesday night in Piedmont.

The loss ended an otherwise successful season for Piedmont, which had its first winning season in program history, hosted its first regional and won its first postseason game.

“It wasn’t the ending we had hoped for, but when you look at the season we had, we had a lot of amazing games,” head coach Lauren Bernhardt said. “I’m just really proud of the girls.”

The Lady Wildcats never gained traction on Tuesday. Edison took the first set, and never trailed in the second. Piedmont avoided the sweep in the third thanks to stellar play from sophomore Laureli Grothe. Brooke Spears clinched the set with one of her five kills on the night.

The ‘Cats never led in the fourth and decisive set and were tied just once. Bernhardt thought nerves played a factor from start to finish.

“I think there were a few individuals that were nervous coming into the game, and I don’t know if that ever left them,” she said. “It showed with errors and what or not.

“It was a very high-energy game and we thank our fans for that, but it’s learning how to control that and turning it in into positive energy on the court.” Read more →

Guthrie hands Piedmont its fifth straight loss

Blake Colston

Quarterback Zane Maltz ran the ball 26 times for 86 yards and three scores Friday night to lead Guthrie to a 28-6 win at Piedmont.

Maltz, who also threw for 112 yards on 7 of 12 passing, led the Blue Jays’ methodical attack (2-2, 1-1) back from an early 6-0 deficit after Piedmont scored on an 81-yard pass from quarterback Noah Ellis to Hunter Chism.

Blake Colston/Gazette Landon White runs the ball in the first quarter of Friday night's game.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Landon White runs the ball in the first quarter of Friday night’s game.

Guthrie strung together a handful of big plays, but for the most part moved the ball in small chunks behind Maltz, racking up 14 first downs along the way.

“That’s their gameplan and in the second half they really started to implement it,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “They took five and six yards at a time and it was just go, go, go.”

Piedmont led 6-0 after a quarter and had a chance to extend the lead after a pair of Noah Ellis to Easton Hensley connections brought Piedmont to the Guthrie 30-yardline, but the ‘Cats were forced to settle for a 33-yard field goal attempt from Butch Hampton that Guthrie blocked.

“We wish we could’ve gotten points there, obviously,” Gossen said. “It was a good drive and we needed to finish better.”

It didn’t take Maltz and Guthrie long to charge down the field after the blocked kick. The ‘Jays went 67 yards capped by a 4-yard run from Maltz to take a 7-6 lead at the 10:49 mark of the second quarter. Maltz scored again, this time from a yard out, less than three minutes later to help Guthrie take a 14-6 lead into intermission.

The Blue Jays went 80 yards on the opening drive of the second half, with running back Kevin Blue accounting for a 40-yard gain to the Piedmont half-yardline. That set up Maltz’s third and final touchdown run of the game to give the ‘Jays a 21-6 lead with 9:36 to play in the third quarter.

Blue added a 6-yard run with 6:20 to play in the fourth to seal the win for Guthrie. Blue finished with 110 yards on 15 carries.

For Piedmont, Ellis had his best throwing night of the season. The junior completed 19 of 30 passes for 252 yards and one score while leading Piedmont to its best offensive output of the season.

“Noah was kind of in the zone. His footwork was great and he was getting the ball out on time,” Gossen said. “He did a really good job of putting the ball in the right spots over and over again. I can’t say enough about the job he did.”

Though he finished with just 11 yards on seven carries, running back Landon White provided a spark for Piedmont early. It was White’s first action since an offseason transfer to Wynnewood and back to Piedmont again left him ineligible for the first four games of the season.

“We’re excited to have him back,” Gossen said. “Things went well for him tonight.”

Piedmont (0-5, 0-2) plays at Carl Albert next Friday.

Texas plane crash claims Casey Joe Bussett’s life


Casey Joe BussettCasey Joe Bussett of Yukon/Surrey Hills tragically lost his life Thursday night Sept. 24 in a plane crash in Granbury TX.

He had been in Granbury with AirEvac and was preparing to fly home when the crash occurred. Chad Hughes a mechanic from Georgia was with Bussett when the plane crashed.

Bussett was piloting his 1987 single engine fixed wing plane when plane crashed shortly after takeoff.  The plane crashed at the end of the runway and a few hundred yards from freshman football game that had just ended.  Players knelt in prayer while parents and coaches rushed to help with the crash.

Bussett was a 20-year veteran of the US Army where he retired as Warrant Officer.  He served two tours in Iraq, as a helicopter pilot flying Kiowa Warriors, and was a pilot for AirEvac Life Team.

He had held his pilot’s license since he was 16, getting his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.

The investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing and the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) have said the investigation could take up to a year to complete.

Casey Joe Bussett is survived by his wife Christy (Crystal) and four sons. His father Jerry (Sharron), his brother Curtis Bussett, two nieces, his mother Carla (Harold) Lewis and many friends and loved ones.

Scott clutch in Piedmont’s extra-innings win over Deer Creek

Blake Colston

EDMOND — Kassidy Scott did everything imaginable to help her team win Thursday night.

When the dust settled, Scott’s will was enough to lead Piedmont to a 7-5 win over rival Deer Creek in 10 innings to sweep the season series from the Lady Antlers.

Blake Colston/Gazette Kassidy Scott hits a pitch during Thursday night's 7-5 win at Deer Creek.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Kassidy Scott hits a pitch during Thursday night’s 7-5 win at Deer Creek.

Scott pitched all 10 innings of the game, tagged out the potential game-winning run at home plate in the sixth inning and drove home a run to give Piedmont the lead in the 10th inning.

“Kassidy is just the gutsiest player I’ve ever coached,” Piedmont head coach Rick Scott said of his daughter. “That’s all I can tell you.”

Scott’s run-scoring ground ball in the 10th was anything but ordinary. With the International Tiebreaker Rule in effect, Ashlyn Ratliff began the inning on second base and was sacrificed to third by Tatum Honer. Which brought up Scott, who Deer Creek chose to try to walk intentionally with one out. After one ball was thrown, Scott reached for a pitch that was well into the other batter’s box and grounded a ball slowly to second base that couldn’t be fielded cleanly. Ratliff scored and Scott reached base.

“It was pretty far outside. I had to reach pretty far for it,” Scott said. “I was just thinking, whether I hit this or not I’m going to go down swinging.”

Scott said it wasn’t the first time she had tried the unconventional approach.

“I did it this summer. We were down by one with a runner on third and the ball was probably three balls off the plate and I just reached over and swung at it,” she said. “I like to do that because I don’t like getting walked. You’ve got to get it pretty far out there if you don’t want me to hit it.” Read more →

Piedmont hosts perennial power Guthrie Friday night

Blake Colston

Perennial Class 5A powerhouse Guthrie visits Wildcat Field Friday night in an unfamiliar place.

The Blue Jays, who went a combined 24-2 with a state championship the last two seasons, enters Friday’s game below .500 (1-2) and winless in district. The ‘Jays lost their district opener at home to Bishop McGuinness last week, 20-3, after falling 28-27 at Duncan in their season opener. Guthrie’s only win this season came against Ponca City after its game with Sand Springs was cancelled due to lightning on Sept. 18.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont's Cody Winkle, right, and Kanton Logan tackle Deer Creek's Zach Kerstetter in the first half on Friday night.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Cody Winkle, right, and Kanton Logan tackle Deer Creek’s Zach Kerstetter in the first half on Friday night.

So it could be a good thing for Piedmont, in the midst of a three-week gauntlet of games against Deer Creek, Guthrie and Carl Albert, that the ‘Jays appear down. Or it might not.

“It’s kind of one of those jokes, Guthrie being down is like everyone else being up,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “They’re still going to be a solid team. They’re still Guthrie and they’ve still got that tradition and they play like it.”

Guthrie is led by dual-threat quarterback Zane Maltz, whose favorite target early in the season has been receiver Chance Whitt. Whitt hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass in the Blue Jays’ 28-19 win over Ponca City. Maltz’s best weapon is probably his feet, though, especially in Guthrie’s run-heavy offense

“(Maltz) is their key player. He’s the guy they want to win games with,” Gossen said. “He’s fast; he’s tough and makes good decisions. They want the ball in his hands.” Read more →

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