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Piedmont clinches playoff berth with win over Guthrie

Blake Colston

Piedmont’s quest for a district title is alive and well.

Photo by Hugh Scott Noah Ellis throws on the run Friday night in Piedmont's 22-14 win over Guthrie.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Noah Ellis throws on the run Friday night in Piedmont’s 22-14 win over Guthrie.

The Wildcats navigated the first part of a three-game gauntlet to close the season Thursday night at Wildcat Stadium with a 22-14 win over perennial Class 5A power Guthrie behind three touchdowns from quarterback Noah Ellis and a strong defensive effort that forced six Blue Jay turnovers.

Each team committed three turnovers in the first half and Piedmont (6-2, 5-0 in District 5A-2) trailed 14-6 at intermission, but never panicked.

“That was probably my favorite thing about this game. We started out with a lot of adversity. There are a lot of people who kind of count out Piedmont in a game like this,” head coach Drew Gossen said. “Our guys could’ve shut it down and yet they fought through it. That’s the one thing about this team. They’ve figured out how to win.”

Ellis finished only 7 of 19 passing for 70 yards, but made his completions count. Ellis twice connected with senior receiver Koy Priddy for scores. First, on a 38-yard pass with 11:51 in the second quarter for the Wildcats only score of the half and again on a crucial fourth-down-and goal from the 8-yard line that pulled Piedmont within two, 14-12, with 9:06 to play in the third quarter.

Ellis, who’s developed a strong connection with Priddy this season, said there was never any doubt he was throwing his way on the critical fourth down play. Read more →

Piedmont turns its attention to district title chase tonight

Blake Colston

Piedmont’s goal before the season began was to make the playoffs. With three games left to play in the regular season, the Wildcats can already check that off the list.

Photo by Hugh Scott Koy Priddy turns up field in a game against Weatherford earlier this season.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Koy Priddy turns up field in a game against Weatherford earlier this season.

In pencil, at least.

It took the Wildcats only four weeks of district play — mathematically Piedmont could still miss the playoffs, but it’s unlikely — to all but assure themselves of a postseason berth. Now, Piedmont has its eye on a bigger prize — a district championship.

“That’s exactly what we’ve talked to our kids about this week, because now we’re in a position where that’s a reality,” head coach Drew Gossen said. “We’re in the driver’s seat for that and we can control that. It’s absolutely on our minds.

Piedmont can clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight against Guthrie.

“We’ve got to go through Guthrie first and that’s no easy task,” Gossen said.

Currently tied for first place with 4-0 Bishop McGuinness, the Wildcats (5-2, 4-0) host the Blue Jays (4-3, 2-2) tonight at 7 in the first of a three-game stretch of games against Guthrie, Carl Albert and McGuinness.

Piedmont is 0-6 against the trio of District 5A-2 powers in the last two seasons, but has no reason to think it can’t compete with them all now.

“We’re going to play with whoever we step on the field with and give it our best shot,” Gossen said.

That starts with Guthrie, who beat Piedmont 28-6 last season and 48-6 the year before that. On paper, the Jays don’t appear as strong this season. They have uncharacteristic losses to Ponca City (9-0) and Carl Albert (45-7) and narrowly defeated a 1-6 Lawton Ike team 23-20 at home last week, but Gossen said they still look like the same old Guthrie team to him.

“Guthrie is one of those teams that you say the name and it elicits a response of respect, and rightfully so,” Gossen said, “they’ve done so many good things over there to build that program to something special. We know even if their record may look like one thing, they’re going to be good, no doubt about it.” Read more →

39 national firms contacted by Piedmont retail developer

By Tim Farley
News Editor

Rickey Hayes thoughts graphic

39!…Rickey don’t lose that number

Rickey Hayes, of Owasso-based Retail Attractions, is recruiting restaurants and other retail businesses to locate in Piedmont. Hayes met with city officials and citizens Wednesday to discuss potential new businesses.
(Graphic by Becky Pearce)

A retail development firm hired to attract more businesses to Piedmont has contacted 39 companies about locating here, according to the company’s latest activity log.

Rickey Hayes, owner of Owasso-based Retail Attractions, Inc., submitted a report that shows he contacted numerous national chains that own multiple brands. The contacts included Advance Auto Parts, Luby’s, Family Dollar Stores, Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, Sprint Nextel Corporation, AT&T Mobility, Wendy’s and Mexican Restaurants, Inc., which owns five restaurant brands.

Hayes wrote in his report that he also contacted grocery outlets Reasor’s, Homeland and Aldi’s about new store sites and development strategies in Piedmont.

Piedmont attracted Tuttle-based Williams Grocery Store in 2012 when the city council approved a 15-year sales tax rebate agreement. The pact requires the city to return $1.9 million to the store during the life of the agreement. City officials have said they pay Williams at least $10,000 a month in rebates.

Hayes also contacted clothing and shoe stores such as Claire’s, Name Brands, Maurice’s and Payless Shoes.

City Manager Jason Orr said some of the companies have been “very receptive.” He declined further comment. Hayes was unavailable for comment on the report.

Hayes also wrote in the report that he contacted Furniture Factory Outlet, Children’s Orchard and Winmark Corporation, which owns Plato’s Closet, Music Go Round, Play It Again Sports and Pete First.

The retail development work for Piedmont also took Hayes to a Dallas conference that included a “lot of site selectors,” Orr said. Read more →

Piedmont dominates Woodward 52-23

Blake Colston

WOODWARD — Most fans probably expected a competitive game between two teams jockeying for playoff position Friday night in Woodward.

If so, they were in for a surprise.

Landon White ran for 158 yards on 27 carries while scoring four touchdowns to complement a dominant performance by the Piedmont defense in a 52-23 rout of Woodward at Boomer Stadium.

Nearly flawless play on offense, defense and special teams set the tone for Piedmont’s most complete performance this season.

“Our kids just said, ‘we’re going to do what we do,'” head coach Drew Gossen said. “And they just continued to do it.”

At 5-2 overall and 4-0 in district play, Piedmont is virtually assured of a postseason appearance now, its first since 2011, and is still in firm contention for a district title heading into next week’s game with Guthrie.

“That’s something we haven’t done in a long time and an opportunity we haven’t had in several years,” Gossen said. “To be here going, holy cow, we’re playoff bound… we’re excited about it.”

White has now totaled 1,124 yards and 19 touchdowns through seven games to lead Piedmont’s powerful rushing attack this season, but Friday, the star of the show was the Wildcat defense. They held Woodward to only four first downs and just 101 total yards to help spur Piedmont to a 45-0 run that erased an early deficit.

After Jackson Shirkey’s 45-yard field goal put the Boomers in front 9-7 with 2:24 in the first quarter, Woodward’s next eight positions ended in five punts, two interceptions and a lost fumble. The Boomers didn’t cross midfield in the second or third quarters and by the time Woodward managed another first down, Piedmont led 52-9. Read more →

Piedmont and Woodward meet in high stakes game tonight

Blake Colston

A few things seem certain entering tonight’s crucial District 5A-II contest between Woodward and Piedmont set for a 7 p.m. kickoff in Woodward.

Photo by Holly Cowden Landon White runs the ball in a game at Northwest Classen earlier this season.

Photo by Holly Cowden
Landon White runs the ball in a game at Northwest Classen earlier this season.

The game could be the state’s shortest in duration (more on that later), Woodward’s offense is as unique as any Piedmont will face this season, and perhaps most notably, the winner of this game will all but lock up, at worst, the fourth playoff spot in the district.

“At this point, they’re all big games and they just keep getting bigger,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “This is an opportunity as a team and as a program to show where we are.”

First things first, why the potential for a swiftly played game? Simply put, neither team has much of an affinity for the forward pass. Piedmont (4-2, 3-0) hasn’t thrown the football more than 10 times in either of its last two games. Woodward (3-3, 2-1), which runs a variation of the triple option, much prefers the ground game as well.

“We’ve joked a little bit that we might be done before anyone else in the state,” Gossen said. “Both teams want to pound the rock. That’s how it’s going to go. Both teams aren’t going to get 80 plays, they’ll probably get about 40, and in a game like that it comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes and can execute the best.”

As for the Boomers offense, Gossen calls it ‘very unique.’ It has some flexbone principles, a little veer option and plenty of misdirection. Read more →

Piedmont hammers Guymon, stays unbeaten in district play

Blake Colston

Piedmont needed only six games this year to eclipse its win total from all of 2015.

Photo by Hugh Scott Parker Smith runs away from the Guymon defense Friday night.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Parker Smith runs away from the Guymon defense Friday night.

Friday night Landon White carried 21 times for 165 yards and four touchdowns as the Wildcats blitzed Guymon 34-3 to improve to 3-0 in district play and 4-2 overall ahead of an important road game at Woodward next Friday.

“We definitely felt like we had a chance to come out and play well and we did,” head coach Drew Gossen said. “We continue to learn a lot about ourselves, what we can do and where we can improve.”

The recipe for success against Guymon didn’t stray much from the ingredients that have led the Wildcats to their best start since 2011.

Piedmont has a power running game that’s on track behind a strong offensive line — White now has 12 touchdowns and 966 yards rushing this season — an efficient passing game — quarterback Noah Ellis was 8 of 10 for 140 yards without an interception Friday — and a stingy, opportunistic defense that forced two Guymon turnovers and held the Tigers to 94 total yards in the game.

“We’re kind of rolling right now,” said senior receiver and safety Koy Priddy, who caught three passes for 90 yards. “We just want to keep the momentum going.”

Priddy’s longest reception, a 56-yard catch and run in the second half, nearly accounted for his second touchdown in as many games, but a Guymon defender caught Priddy from behind at the 1-yard line.

“I thought I had it,” he said.

Instead, White punched the ball in from two yards out to cap the scoring in the game with 4:56 to play. White added scoring runs of 35, one and three yards to push the Wildcats to a 21-0 halftime lead. Ellis accounted for Piedmont’s other score with a 16-yard scramble. He was nearly flawless throwing the ball, too, which will be important moving forward. Read more →

Piedmont’s offensive line the catalyst to fast start

Blake Colston

Multiple facets of Piedmont’s football team are improved this season. None more so than the offensive line, however, which has a been a crucial part of Piedmont’s 2-0 start to district play.

Photo by Hugh Scott Logan Hawk holds a block as running back Landon White runs through a hole in a game vs. Weatherford earlier this season.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Logan Hawk holds a block as running back Landon White runs through a hole in a game vs. Weatherford earlier this season.

The unit’s high-water mark this season came against Lawton Eisenhower last Friday. With an Eagles defense playing nine players near the line of scrimmage, all determined to stop the run, the Wildcats still racked up more than 250 yards on the ground in an important early-season game.

“We actually voted our offensive line as our players of the week as a coaching staff,” head coach Drew Gossen said ahead of his team’s game vs. Guymon Friday night at 7 in Piedmont. “Whatever those guys have been given, they push it. They’ve done an incredible job each week.”

It’s a remarkable turnaround for a unit that struggled to run block consistently last season. Simply picking up positive yards was a bonus at times a year ago. This season, the line has paved the way for senior Landon White to run for 801 yards and eight touchdowns in only five games.

Those responsible for the surge — left tackle Joseph Almaguer, left guard C.J. McCaster, center Bryce Johnston, right guard Cameron Coit and Zach Moser at right tackle — were all young last season and went through growing pains that helped mold them into the cohesive group they are now. There’s still not a senior among them, either. Reserves Aaron Pennokee, Logan Hawk and Derek Grassman will all return next season, too.

“They’re a hardworking group and they’re committed. Really that’s the biggest thing,” Offensive line coach Wil Wortmann said. “They expect to play well, and to some degree, we have played well against everyone we’ve played against.”

Their confidence grew in successful preseason scrimmages against Putnam City West and Anadarko.

“I think when we got into the year, we were anticipating playing well,” Wortmann said. “So I don’t think I’ve gone into a game with worry or fear, because they’ve shown they have the ability to play with people, regardless what the name on the jersey is. They just line up and play.”

Wortmann credits depth — he’s started eight different players this season — for part of the improvement. He also said the fact that none of the eight play many snaps on defense has kept them fresher deep into games. Read more →

Punt Pass Kick Challenge offered by Great Plains Bank

Punt, Pass, Kick Challenge imageGreat Plains Bank’s Piedmont location is bringing the Punt, Pass, Kick Challenge to all home Wildcat football games.

Here’s how it works:

  • Wildcat fans sign-up to be entered into the drawing to be the Punt, Pass, Kick participant
  • Sign-up through the online registration system
  • Must be 18 years of age or older to enter
  • Punt, Pass, Kick participants will be drawn at 12 p.m. the day of all home games
  • The selected participant will be notified by a Great Plains Bank representative
  • The selected participant will join the Great Plains Bank staff at the 50 yard line during half-time. The participant will then punt the ball from the 50 yard line, then pass the ball from the spot the punt lands and then kick a field goal from the spot the pass lands.
  • If the participant makes the field goal, he/she will receive $500
  • If the participant does not make the field goal, he/she will receive a $25 to open a Free Rewards Checking account with Great Plains Bank. If the participant already has a Free Rewards Checking account, the $25 will be deposited into that account.

Rules and Regulations:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older to enter
  • Online registration will be available the week of the game until 12 p.m. the day of each home game, at which time a name will be randomly selected.
  • The selected participant will be notified by a Great Plains Bank representative and given instructions on where to meet for the challenge.
  • Great Plains Bank employees and household family members are not eligible.
  • Participants who win the $500 will be required to visit the Piedmont Branch, 12001 NW Expressway, to receive their prize money. Prize money must be claimed within one full week from teh date the prize was won.
  • Participants are required to complete a photo release, allowing Great Plains Bank to use photo, video and name in online, print and social media posts/articles.

Piedmont blasts Lawton Eisenhower, 26-12

Blake Colston

One team took a big step toward securing a spot in the postseason, while another went in the opposite direction Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.

Photo by Hugh Scott Koy Priddy hauls in a touchdown pass from Noah Ellis during Piedmont's 26-12 win over Lawton Ike Friday.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Koy Priddy hauls in a touchdown pass from Noah Ellis during Piedmont’s 26-12 win over Lawton Ike Friday.

Piedmont raced out to a 20-0 lead and dominated from start to finish in a 26-12 win over Lawton Eisenhower to improve 3-2 overall and 2-0 in District 5A-2 play.

Landon White ran 27 times for 201 yards for Piedmont while Eisenhower gained just 191 yards as a team and committed eight penalties for 100 yards in a game Piedmont led wire-to-wire.

“We’ve been saying all along how big this game was. We’ve been thinking playoffs all season,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “This, obviously, is just one step down that road, but it was a big step.”

White, along with quarterback Noah Ellis and Piedmont’s defense, had a big hand in the victory. Ellis rushed for scores of eight and six yards and also threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Koy Priddy.

But defensive end Christian Bricker made the play that sealed the game. Bricker tipped an R.J. Fisher pass at the line of scrimmage and gathered it in near the goaline for an 8-yard interception return for a score with 2:33 left in the third quarter to put Piedmont in front 26-6.

“It definitely put it away,” Bricker said of the play. “I just came around the corner, tipped it up and I looked up and I was in the end zone and caught it. It was kind of just set up for me I guess.”

On Ike’s next offensive play, Bricker sacked Fisher for a 7-yard loss. Read more →

Piedmont hosts Lawton Eisenhower in key district contest tonight

Blake Colston

Piedmont hosts Lawton Eisenhower in a crucial District 5A-2 game tonight at 7.

Photo by Hugh Scott Landon White churns for extra yards against Weatherford.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Landon White churns for extra yards against Weatherford.

The winner will take a big step toward making the postseason, while the loser likely will have to play catch up in the race for the final district playoff spot for the rest of the season.

Piedmont blasted Northwest Classen, 33-0, in its district opener Friday, while Eisenhower coasted past Guymon, 40-10, so both teams enter with momentum.

“We know it’s a big week, but it’s just another week. Last week we took it as an important week because it was game number one and this week is another big week,” head coach Drew Gossen said. “And they all will be from here on out.”

Eisenhower’s season has been a tale of two sides of the ball. Led by dynamic quarterback R.J. Fisher, the Eagles have averaged 32 points per game on offense, but have allowed 42 per game on defense during a 1-3 start to the season.

“Their offense really goes. They have a varied attack, they run the ball well, they throw the ball well,” Gossen said. “They have athletes in several spots and their quarterback kind of makes everything go.”

In its final non-district game, Piedmont faced Noble and its high-powered offense led by quarterback Baehler Buol. With a run-heavy, ball control offensive gameplan in place, the Wildcats held the Bears to their lowest scoring output of the season in a 33-27 loss. That figures to be the plan against Ike, too. Read more →

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