MIDWEST CITY — It didn’t take long for Carl Albert to set the tone Friday night.
Diego Richards took the opening kickoff back 97 yards for a score to ignite a big play parade that sparked the third-ranked Titans to a wire-to-wire 49-21 victory over Piedmont.
Carl Albert quarterback Johnny Bizzell added three rushing touchdowns and Jason Taylor came through with a 25-yard interception return for a score and also caught a 10-yard touchdown pass.
“They’ve got a lot of good athletes and No. 3 (Diego Richards) is at the top of the list,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said. “They’re a great team and we knew they were. Credit to them for what they’ve done.”
Bizzell finished the game 12 of 21 passing for 138 yards and added 79 yards rushing on 14 carries. His second rushing touchdown of the first half on an option keeper gave the Titans (8-1, 5-1) a 21-0 lead with 6:05 to play in the second quarter.
The Wildcats (6-3, 5-1) answered with a four-yard touchdown run from Landon White, who finished with 73 yards on 23 rushes, but Carl Albert countered with a touchdown before half on a seven-yard scamper from Bizzell.
Piedmont was led by versatile senior running back and receiver Parker Smith, who totaled 261 all-purpose yards with an 78-yard touchdown catch and a 39-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. His 78-yard reception brought Piedmont within 14, 28-14, early in the second half. A long kickoff return from Smith setup Piedmont’s first score.
“He’s a kid who’s good with the ball in his hands and can make plays for us,” Gossen said. “I’m excited for him. We’re hopeful he can continue to improve moving forward.”
Carl Albert scored 21 unanswered points to pull away in the fourth quarter. PHS quarterback Noah Ellis was 6 of 15 passing for 127 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Piedmont, which has already clinched a playoff spot, will host No. 2 Bishop McGuinness Friday with a chance to secure a home playoff game with a victory.
“You regroup because next up is a really good team,” Gossen said. “We’ve got to keep our heads up, learn from this game and move forward.”
Piedmont’s first-round postseason opponent came more into focus after last night’s results. Lawton MacArthur hammered Altus 54-20, which means Mac and Ardmore, both 6-0 in district play, will play next week for the district title. The loser will, most likely, host Piedmont in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.
However, if Piedmont upsets McGuinness and Carl Albert loses to Woodward Friday, then Piedmont likely will host Altus.