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Archive for: September 2015

Piedmont cross country ready for Pre-State

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont’s boys and girls cross country teams ran in one of the region’s most prestigious races Saturday in Stillwater.

The Wildcats and Lady Wildcats ran at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree, with the boys team taking 26th out of 41 teams. The girls, meanwhile, were 22nd of out 36 teams which completed the race with at least five runners crossing the finish line.

“My initial reaction was disappointment, but then when I got home and saw the results I kind of took a step back,” Piedmont head coach Kelly Beck said of his team’s finish in a race that included top teams from Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. “I kind of looked at where we were in relation to teams we’re going to be running against, and it still is not where we should have been, but better than my initial reaction.”

Piedmont’s top finisher was senior John Anderson, who took 18th overall in 17:08. Next across for the Wildcats was freshman Blake Cope in 18:06, good for 57th.

“Only one 5A kid finished ahead of John,” Beck said. “18th out of that crew is pretty good.”

Beck was also encouraged that Cope, who dealt with an illness early in the season, ran his best race of the season.

“He was pretty good at Norman and he ran really well at Norman,” he said. “That’s the best I’ve seen him run yet.”

Connor McIntosh (178th in 19:45) Ethan Taylor (206th in 20:15) and Colton Lindsey (221st and 20:37) rounded out Piedmont’s top five.

“Those guys struggled a little bit, but it’s a tough course,” Beck said. “And nerves come into play because there are so many people. Sometimes the pace gets away from you.”

Devin Bingham, Zach Swindell and Jack Shubert also finished the race.

Piedmont’s most consistent runners all season on the girls side, Josilyn Schenk and Julia Grimes once again paced the Lady Wildcats. Schenk regained the top spot this week for Piedmont in 22:33 good for 71st, after Grimes took first in Norman in Piedmont’s previous race. Grimes, a senior, was only two seconds behind Schenk’s pace in Stillwater and took 74th. Read more →

Tuttle spoils Piedmont’s senior night

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

4A No. 11 Tuttle took advantage of uncharacteristic mistakes by Piedmont and scored seven unearned runs total in the fifth and sixth innings to spoil senior night for six Lady Wildcat seniors Tuesday night in an 8-1 win.

10-1 Piedmont Scott

Blake Colston/Gazette Kassidy Scott delivers a pitch on Tuesday night.

“This was the first loss on senior night that I’ve ever had,” Piedmont head coach Rick Scott, who’s in his 14th season at PHS, said. “But that’s OK, in the course of human events the game didn’t matter.”

Piedmont honored six seniors — Kassidy Scott, Jourdan Edwards, Tatum Homer, Logan Ratzlaff, Cassadie Ray and Madison Giggers — after the game in a rousing ceremony that made most in attendance forget about the final score. Shortly after, Scott looked ahead to regionals which begin next Wednesday at noon in Piedmont. Tahlequah, which beat Piedmont 2-1 earlier this season, is likely to be the ‘Cats top competition then.

“It’s the best case scenario we could have to have it here,” Scott said. “Not to say that Tahlequah isn’t really, really, tough, because they are, but I like our chances.”

In a game that meant little to either team on Tuesday, other than sentimental value for Piedmont, Tuttle scored first in the fourth and then loaded the bases without a ball leaving the infield in the fifth. Peanut Owen followed with a ringing double to center field to clear the bases and put Tuttle on cruise control with a 5-0 lead.

Kassidy Scott provided the only offense for Piedmont by blasting a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to avoid a run-rule.

“When you give up no earned runs it makes a difference,” Scott said of defensive lapses. “But you know what? We’ll clean it up. Regionals are next Wednesday at noon and we’ll be ready to go by then.”

Scott surmised his team will be ready for the games that count next week, because they been have all season.

“It’s OK we played bad, because this team gets up for the games they need to,” he said. “They’re a smart bunch.”

Deer Creek pounds Piedmont, 41-3

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

EDMOND — Deer Creek quarterback Clatyon Sims completed 19-of-37 passes for 309 yards with four touchdowns and Deer Creek took advantage of a bevy of special teams mistakes by Piedmont in a 41-3 win over the Wildcats in the teams’ annual rivalry game.

This season’s game had added meaning for two reasons. It was both teams’ district opener and the last time the two rivals are set to play as Deer Creek makes the jump to 6A next season.

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.

The importance showed for both sides. Piedmont forced a turnover in the games’ opening minutes to take an early lead and Deer Creek responded with special teams’ trickery.

Sims led the charge for Deer Creek. Trailing 3-0, he directed an 80-yard drive that was capped by a 3-yard plunge from Tahj Davidson to give the Antlers 7-3 lead with 2:59 to play in the first quarter.

Piedmont’s first special teams blunder of the night came two possessions later when a Wildcat muffed a punt and Deer Creek recovered at the Piedmont 44. Vernon Bills caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Sims to turn the miscue into points six plays later.  Read more →

Piedmont, Deer Creek set to end annual rivalry game Friday

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

One of the Oklahoma City metro’s fiercest football rivalries will come to an end Friday night in Edmond.

The annual Piedmont-Deer Creek game will see its final chapter, at least for the foreseeable future, written when the two squads meet at 7 p.m. in each team’s district opener. Both the Wildcats and Antlers enter the game off a loss — Deer Creek fell at Yukon last week and Noble beat Piedmont — so a district-opening win would give both teams momentum on tap of bragging rights.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont and Deer Creek will meet for the final time for the foreseeable future Friday night in Edmond.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont and Deer Creek will meet for the final time for the foreseeable future Friday night in Edmond.

“It’s huge. You’ve got two things going for you, it’s Deer Creek week which our kids are always excited about, and it’s the first district game,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “Are we a playoff team? If so then this is the start to that path.”

Gossen stressed the importance of a fast start to district play, but downplayed the significance of the last game with Deer Creek.

“It does and it doesn’t,” he said when asked if this year’s game is more important. “In the end it’s just a game.”

An important game, though, for a winless Piedmont team that has gained momentum through its non-district schedule, but has yet to put itself in position to have a chance to win. The Wildcats offense gained 258 yards last week against Noble, 249 more than it had gained this season. But Piedmont bogged down in the red zone and turned the ball over on downs inside the Bears’ 20-yard line three times last Friday. Read more →

Piedmont clinches regional host spot

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Thanks to a doubleheader sweep of district rival Coweta last week that gave Piedmont a 10-2 district mark, for the fourth consecutive season Piedmont softball has clinched a spot as one of eight regional playoff hosts in Class 5A.

It marks the 15th straight year Piedmont will advance to at least the regional round of the postseason. The Lady Wildcats never lost a district game in 12 seasons in Class 4A under head coach Rick Scott._MG_4157[1]

Postseason assignments won’t be officially assigned for two weeks, but Scott anticipates the Lady Wildcats main competition in the regional to be Tahlequah and says it’s an obvious advantage to play at home for a chance to advance to the state tournament.

“It’s a lot easier. It sets us up with a huge advantage,” he said. “We play harder at home.”

Earlier this season, Tahlequah beat Piedmont 2-1 in Broken Arrow, but the Lady Wildcats are a more experienced and settled team now.

“We feel like we’ve gotten better since then, that’s not to take anything away from Tahlequah. They’re a great team,” Scott said.

Perhaps most importantly, Piedmont is 11-1 at home this season.

“It’ll be a tough regional. Someone who is really good will get left out,” Scott said. “That’s why I thik it’s so important to have home field. I think how many of our fans come out will be the difference in whether or not we get to the state tournament because our girls really feed off their energy.”

Next up for Piedmont is, ironically, a trip to Tahlequah for the Northeastern State University tournament, where Piedmont will play five games in two days before returning home for senior night against Tuttle Tuesday.

After that, Piedmont travels to Edmond to play rival Deer Creek next Thursday.

McIntosh enjoying strong senior season

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont senior cross country runner Connor McIntosh has easily taken the prize as the Wildcats most improved runner this season.

After finishing third, fourth or fifth in each of Piedmont’s races last season, McIntosh has crossed the finish line second in each of the Wildcats first three races this season, and third last week. Much to the delight of his head coach Kelly Beck, who saw McIntosh run well in the preseason, but wasn’t sure he’d have this kind of impact for the Wildcats.

Blake Colston/Gazette Connor McIntosh runs at the Carl Albert Invitational.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Connor McIntosh runs at the Carl Albert Invitational.

“He’s ran fantastic. Since the first race he’s been our second best runner,” Beck said. “I’ve been really impressed with him.”

McIntosh was 40th in 19:03 at Carl Albert, 42nd in 17:40 on a fast track against a talented field at Deer Creek and opened the season at Piedmont’s home meet with an eighth place finish in 18:23. Read more →

Piedmont beats top-ranked Chisholm in four sets

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

On a month-long hot streak, Piedmont volleyball had been creeping up the Class 5A hierarchy, but after Monday night the No. 11 Lady Wildcats might start sprinting.

The ‘Cats beat 3A No. 1 Chisholm in four sets in Piedmont (25-15, 26-28, 25-22, 25-19) for their 14th win in 15 tries to improve to 20-7 overall and became only the third team in 5A with 20 victories.

They did it in style behind a match-best 15 kills from sophomore Brooke Spears, who was unstoppable at times on Monday night. But it wasn’t just Spears. Delaney Mitchell added four kills in Piedmont’s first-set win, Laureli Grothe had three and senior setter Kasidi Hardy’s passing was nearly flawless all match.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont's Delaney Mitchell goes up for a spike Monday evening.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Delaney Mitchell goes up for a spike Monday evening.

“This was my favorite game for us as a team,” first-year head coach Lauren Bernhardt said. “We’re all playing our positions, we’re hitting well and when everyone is in their spot, it works.”

The only blemish on an otherwise stellar night for Piedmont was blowing a 12-3 lead in the second set that Chisholm won 28-26. Wearing pink jerseys in honor of cancer awareness, PHS answered a powerful hitting Longhorn team with a gutty third-set victory that featured plenty of power from Piedmont.

“They’re getting into their roles and doing amazing,” Hardy said of Piedmont’s hitters. “I can’t even explain how well they’ve done for us.” Read more →

Noble downs Piedmont, 30-10

Daniel Smola

sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

The Noble Bears took care of Piedmont 30-10 in a game marred by penalties.

Although the result was a loss for Piedmont, head coach Drew Gossen sees improvement in the Wildcats.

Daniel Smola/Gazette Quarterback Noah Ellis runs for a big gain against Noble.

Daniel Smola/Gazette
Quarterback Noah Ellis runs for a big gain against Noble.

“It was a heck of a lot better,” Gossen said of the team’s performance. “Our guys are really starting to come together and we’re starting to see their resolve, their resilience in the midst of all kinds of stuff that’s going on around us…We’re starting to see those guys build some chemistry and I’m proud of them for that.”

The Wildcat offense saw drastic improvement from its first two contests. Quarterback Noah Ellis completed 18/31 passes for 174 yards with no interceptions. The running game added 84 yards, including 75 yards from tailback Quinn Cooper. Piedmont recorded 258 yards of total offense – more than tripling its total offense in its first two games combined – and 14 first downs.

The Noble offense put up 481 total yards and 21 first downs while wearing down the Wildcats defense. Quarterback Baehler Buol had a solid performance, completing 22/34 passes for 328 yards and throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bears also rushed for 153 yards, including two touchdowns from tailback Caleb Black.

The game was also plagued with yellow laundry. There were 24 penalties on the night, totaling to 204 yards. Piedmont committed 10 penalties for 75 yards. Noble was set back 129 yards on 14 penalties, three of which negated touchdowns for the Bears.

The Bears offense started fast, scoring on its first offensive play. Buol threw a bubble screen to receiver Michael Murphy who ran 69 yards for a touchdown with 9:57 remaining in the first quarter, giving Noble a 6-0 lead.

Piedmont marched down the field on its next possession. The drive eventually stalled in the redzone, and kicker Butch Hampton converted a 34-yard field goal to cut the deficit in half with 1:52 left in the first quarter. The field goal proved to be the only points the Wildcats would score until late in the fourth quarter.

And by then, the game was out of reach. Buol found receiver Casey Harris for a 19-yard passing touchdown to put the Bears up 12-3 with 8:15 to play in the second quarter. Just 2:22 later, the Piedmont defense forced a crucial turnover when Cody Winkle recovered a fumble inside Noble’s 30-yard line.

The fumble was one of two forced turnovers by Piedmont in the game.

“Forcing turnovers obviously is a huge deal,” Gossen said. “It’s something we really want to focus on as a defense, and they did a great job of it…they gave ourselves opportunities to go and get some points on the board.”

However, the Wildcats squandered the opportunity. After Piedmont’s offense was aided by a defensive pass interference penalty, the Wildcats turned the ball right back over 30 seconds later due to a high snap.

Noble went on to extend its lead to 18-3 after Buol hooked up with Harris again for an 18-yard touchdown reception.

Just before halftime, the Wildcats entered the redzone. Piedmont picked up a 38-yard gain when Ellis completed a 23-yard pass to receiver Hunter Chism and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Noble added 15 more yards. But again the drive stalled, and the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs.

The redzone woes were the Achilles’ heel for Piedmont. The Wildcats turned the ball over on downs three times inside the Noble 20-yard line.

“That’s something we’re definitely going to have to look at,” Gossen said of Piedmont’s redzone offense. “You never want to be in that position where you don’t put it into the endzone. We had a lot of opportunities, just kind of came up dry on a few. It’s all little mistakes and things that are fixable.”

Black rushed for his two touchdowns in the third quarter, putting the Bears – who missed all five point-after tries (three two-point conversions and two extra-point field goals) – up 30-3.

Late in the fourth quarter, Cooper rushed for a 26-yard touchdown to give Piedmont its first offensive touchdown on the season and bring the game to its final score of 30-10.

There was also a scary moment in the first half that diminished the importance of the game.

Midway through the second quarter, Piedmont’s Kohl Francis started to walk off the field while clutching his chest. He was seated by the training staff just within the field of play, where he remained for the next 30 minutes. While he appeared conscious, Francis was eventually helped off the field by stretcher and taken to an ambulance.

“[It’s] undetermined right now,” Gossen said of the Francis injury. “We’re just praying for him and hoping for the best.”

The coaching staff thinks Francis may have been suffering from concussion symptoms, but the actual injury is unknown at this time.

Piedmont (0-3) will try to earn its first victory of the season on the road against Deer Creek on Sept. 25.

Piedmont hosts Coweta in important DH tonight at 6

Blake Colston 
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

After a slow start to district play, the Piedmont softball team finds itself in solid position entering the most important week of its season.

The Lady Wildcats (16-9) pounded Tulsa Memorial twice on Tuesday in Piedmont, with Jourdan Edwards slamming a walk-off home run in the sixth inning of a 10-0 run-rule win in game one of a doubleheader. Piedmont won the next game 15-0.

The wins were Piedmont’s seventh and eighth in a row and put it in good position to host a regional, if the Wildcats play well in three crucial games today and Friday.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont's Makenzie Lowe hits a ball during a game against Tulsa Memorial.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Makenzie Lowe hits a ball during a game against Tulsa Memorial.

First up is a critical doubleheader against Coweta which begins at 6 p.m. tonight in Piedmont. Then, the Wildcats host district leader Durant, who beat Piedmont 7-2 in Durant earlier this season, for a single game Friday night at 6. If PHS can win all three and beat Durant by more than five runs, Piedmont likely wins the district. One or two wins would probably guarantee Piedmont second place and a regional host. Anything less than that and Piedmont will have to hit the road for regionals.

“I was fortunate enough to set it up this way,” Piedmont head coach Rick Scott said of hosting the crucial games late in the season. “I hope it works out for us. We need everybody out to fill the stands tonight at 6 p.m.” Read more →

Piedmont and Noble could be in store for a shootout

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Through two games, Piedmont’s offensive output in terms of yards resembles a good quarter, not two full games.

The Wildcats have gained just 85 yards this season – 70 through the air and another 15 on the ground – and managed just nine total yards last week against Weatherford.

Piedmont needs desperately to find momentum on offense heading into district play at Deer Creek Sept. 25. So it could be good news that Noble, a team known for its offense, but not as much for its defense, comes to Piedmont Friday night for the Wildcats home opener.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont safety Jacob Storts flips a Weatherford ball carrier near the line of scrimmage last Friday,

Piedmont safety Jacob Storts flips a Weatherford ball carrier near the line of scrimmage last Friday,

Last season, the Bears allowed four of their final five opponents to score more than 50 points and three times surrendered 60 or more. Noble’s defense has been better to start this season, but has yet to defend a 5A squad. Noble beat Tecumseh 56-28 in their season opener and last week pounded Chickasha 44-16.

“We’re hoping to move the ball and get some points on the board,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “I think we’re in good shape, it’s just a matter of us getting out there and executing at a high level.”

Dropped passes, turnovers and three injured offensive line starters combined to make a mess of Piedmont’s offense at Weatherford last week. But as Gossen said after an opening night loss to Skiatook, the Wildcats weren’t far from gaining more yards. And for the first time all season, Piedmont found tangible momentum thanks in large part to a 95-yard kickoff return for a score from Hunter Chism that sparked the Wildcats’ sideline and led PHS to a second-half shutout of the Eagles. Read more →

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