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.
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.