Piedmont forced five Cache turnovers on Friday night to help themselves to a 50-32 win and the Wildcats moved to 1-1 in district play.
Cache stole an early lead from the Wildcats on the opening drive of the game thanks to a 45-yard pass. After going three and out, Piedmont was able to pin Cache at their own four and forced the first turnover of the night on a third and six. A couple plays later and Brett Adams was diving into the endzone to give Piedmont its first lead of the game.
Cache immediately answered on their next drive. Their option based attack taking full advantage of an aggressive Wildcat defense. A 21-yard pass later and the Bulldogs were up 12-7 with 57 second left in the first quarter. Not to be outdone by Cache, Piedmont put together a 44 second scoring drive. The Wildcats handed the ball off to running backs Darrius Burris and Mitchell McGinnis on every down. Burris crossed the line and the Wildcats converted a two point conversion with 13 seconds left in the first quarter to give Piedmont a 15-12 lead.
The score put Piedmont on top for good, but Cache wouldn’t quit.
Cache looked to get themselves on the board again midway through the second quarter. Their receiver reeled in a long pass but fumbled. Piedmont recovered and marched 98 yards down field. A balanced Wildcat offensive drive was capped with a 37-yard score from Burris.
Cache came out after the Burris score and put together another good drive. Piedmont was struggling to stop the option but the Bulldogs fumbled a handoff with 20 seconds left in the half. Piedmont recovered and was able to close out the half with a 22-12 lead.
The Wildcats got the ball out of the break and went back to work. Adams and Steffen Funkhouser connected for a touchdown score and Piedmont found themselves up 29-12. Cache just wouldn’t go away and their option attack produced another score midway through the third quarter. Piedmont turned the ball over on down on their next drive but another Cache mistake got the ball back in the Wildcats hands. Piedmont was able to pound the ball inside with Burris and allow Adams to, once again, dive into the endzone for a score. Piedmont lead 36-19 with under two minutes left in the third.
Cache pulled it back to 10 early in the fourth quarter but Adams found Funkhouser on the ensuing drive from 42 yards out to put Piedmont up 43-26. Following a Bulldog turnover on downs on the next drive, Burris plowed his way into the endzone to put the game fully out of reach.
“It comes down to our basic technique,” Hunter Amos said. “We drove them off the line. We were able to take it to them and they were tired by the end of the first quarter.”
Piedmont’s offensive line played lights out all night against Cache. They were able to help fuel a balanced Wildcat offense.
“That’s exactly how we want to be able to play; where we run to set up the pass,” Coach Craig Church said. “We have been on the opposite side of that a few times but it’s good to be in a position where you can do what (we did tonight). We can run, throw the play action pass and force them to load the box. That makes throwing the ball easier.”
Going into this week, Church said team discipline was a major focus against Cache.
“We did well,” Church said. “That offense is a unique challenge. Our guys did well and our adjustments in the second half payed off for us. Our offensive discipline was great. We were able to protect well and run. Our line played really well.”
Piedmont’s offensive line was the key all night. They were able to open holes for runners and allowed Adams and the backs time to work.
“(Cache) has both a three and a four man front,” Adams said. “We had great outside edge protection and Darrius and Mitchell were running well. Our offensive line was blocking well too. They got tired and we were hard to stop.”
“We worked hard all week,” Kyler Adams said. “We have to continue to come out and get better every day.”