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Wildcat Sports

Piedmont places program-record five at state, Heindselman second

Blake Colston

OKLAHOMA CITY – Piedmont’s wrestling team placed a program-record five wrestlers, earned its highest finish as a team and produced a state runner-up in its annual trip to the Class 5A state tournament at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City Friday and Saturday.

Blake Colston/Gazette Josh Heindselman wrestles Matt Smith of Tulsa Bishop Kelley in the Class 5A 220-pound state finals Saturday,

Blake Colston/Gazette
Josh Heindselman wrestles Matt Smith of Tulsa Bishop Kelley in the Class 5A 220-pound state finals Saturday,

Sophomore 220-pounder Josh Heindselman won by fall twice to reach the finals, where he lost a hard-fought 7-3 decision to Tulsa Bishop Kelley senior Matt Smith.

Wyatt Lewis (third), Fisher Johnson (third), Mason Moser (fourth) and Logan Chappell (fourth) rounded out Piedmont’s placers. Piedmont was fifth as a team.

“Overall, I can’t complain. It was a really good weekend for us,” head coach Erik Ford said.

Heindselman closes season in style

Josh Heindselman entered this season with one goal in mind. He wanted to qualify for the state tournament.

By the end of the 220-pound sophomore’s season, that goal probably seemed like a distant memory.

Heindselman wrestled in front of more than 7,500 fans Saturday night in the Class 5A state final, and although he didn’t get the desired result, the experience capped an incredible season.

“I felt like I had a pretty successful season,” the soft-spoken Heindselman said. “At the beginning, I just wanted to qualify for state. Then I wanted to place at state and then I wanted to win state.”

Along the way, Heindselman won 26 consecutive matches and notched a regional championship. He closed the season 36-5 overall with 13 of his wins coming in overtime. Fittingly, his final overtime win was a pin of Tahlequah’s Dustin Hicks in the state semifinals.

“Every time I got into overtime I felt like I should win,” he said. “That last win was definitely exciting.”

Ford couldn’t recall a wrestler under his tutelage with a stronger penchant for winning tight matches.

“Just a crazy year for him. He really started to catch fire after Christmas break,” Ford said. “He’s a competitor. I can’t say anything else about him. He knew if he pushed a match into that seventh minute he had a great chance.”

Heindselman also won by fall in his opening match at state against Korbin McLaughlin of Skiatook. He was Piedmont’s first underclassman to reach the state finals under Ford.

“He knows his strengths and he wrestles to them,” Ford said. “And he did it at what we call a grown man’s weight. At 220 pounds there aren’t a bunch of little kids out there.”

Recaps of other placers:

Fisher Johnson, 3rd (152): Johnson pinned first-round opponent Corbin Ballard of Claremore then defeated Teddy Thomas of Lawton Mac 7-6 to reach the third place match. There he beat Colby Graves of Guthrie 6-2 to take third.

Wyatt Lewis, 3rd (160): Lewis rallied from an opening round defeat with wins over Cade Cook of Duncan, Gunner Kreie of Tulsa East Central and Ryce Hakmaker (by fall) of Collinsville to take third.

Logan Chappell, 4th (126): Chappell, a junior, earned his third consecutive top four finish at state by beating Connor Henson of Collinsville in the opening round and Bennett Sherrer of Pryor in the consolation bracket.

Mason Moser, 4th (138): Moser won a 23-9 major decision over Enrique Barcenas of Shawnee and pinned Collin Elias of Tulsa Bishop Kelley in the consolation semifinals to reach the third place match where he lost 2-1 to Parker Price of Claremore.

Five other Wildcats take part in state tournament

Bo Hardy (113), Mitchell Lance (132), Hunter Johnson (170), Will Heindselman (182) and Dylan Meador (195) also qualified for state, but did not place. Hardy, Lance, Johnson and Heindselman will all return next season for Piedmont.

Piedmont girls beat Tahlequah for Bethany Classic title

Blake Colston

BETHANY – Piedmont didn’t make a singular play down the stretch of Monday night’s Bethany Classic girls championship game to beat Tahlequah.

Blake Colston/Gazette Taylor Clowers of Piedmont, left, tries to drive around Tahlequah's Alyson Hart Monday night in Bethany.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Taylor Clowers of Piedmont, left, tries to drive around Tahlequah’s Alyson Hart Monday night in Bethany.

The Lady Wildcats made them all.

Hannah Reasoner put home a layup off a steal with less than 15 seconds to play to take away Tahlequah’s last chance to tie the game and sealed a 12-2 run down the stretch in No. 5 Piedmont’s 49-45 win.

“It really boiled down to the girls stepping up,” head coach Jordan Stark said. “They did a really good job of sticking to the gameplan.”

Maci Attalla led Piedmont with 17 points and McKenna Kirkpatrick added 11 as the Lady Wildcats improved to 8-1 while taking home the title. Attalla was Piedmont’s go-to weapon in the paint, especially in the first half when she scored 13 points.

“Maci did a great job. I don’t even know if she can play that well again, but I hope she can,” Stark said. “She did this a little bit last year. She was timid and apprehensive to start then all of a sudden something clicks and she goes beast mode and nothing can stop her. She’s one of the strongest girls on the team.”

Attalla said she had a feeling it was going to be a good night when she made her first basket and was sure it was when she lost control of a shot along the baseline that slipped out of her hand and banked in from a difficult angle during the third quarter.

“I’m not really sure how that went it, but I meant to do that,” she said sarcastically. Read more →

Piedmont wins at No. 7 Carl Albert

Blake Colston

MIDWEST CITY – This time it was different.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont's Kish Chandler drives to the basket Tuesday night in the Wildcats' win over Carl Albert.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Kish Chandler drives to the basket Tuesday night in the Wildcats’ win over Carl Albert.

Piedmont made all the plays down the stretch and pulled away for a 66-52 win at seventh-ranked Carl Albert Tuesday night behind a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds from Maddie Sperle. The win helped PHS rebound from a home loss to fourth-ranked Shawnee in another early season Top 10 matchup.

The No. 8 Lady Wildcats improved to 3-1 overall and scored a major early season road victory against a traditional Class 5A power. They did it with execution down the stretch on both ends.

“They followed the gameplan, they ran the plays, they finished their shots and if they got fouled they made their free throws,” head coach Jordan Stark said. “That, to me, was the difference in the game.”

Piedmont led by nine at half, 31-22, but a quick spurt from Carl Albert led by a 3-point barrage from Charissa Price pulled the Titans even at 38 with 2:22 to play in the third quarter. The Lady Wildcats scored the final four points of the quarter capped by a Taylor Clowers hoop in the lane and never lost the lead again.

Mostly because Carl Albert never found a way to slow down Sperle. The SWOSU signee hit three 3-pointers, made 11 free throws – including five clutch makes in the final minutes – scored off the dribble and in the paint. Sperle and senior guard Hannah Reasoner each hit 3-pointers in a 14-5 Piedmont run that spanned from late in the third to early in the fourth.

“That’s the beauty of our team. We have girls that can pretty much do anything,” Stark said. “We’re extremely versatile and we want to use that to our advantage.”

Reasoner chipped in with 15 and Kish Chandler, Piedmont’s steady senior point guard, added 12. Price scored 15 for Carl Albert (4-3).

After Piedmont’s 44-40 home loss to No. 4 Shawnee, in which PHS didn’t make the plays when it counted, Stark was pleased to see her team’s turnaround in the fourth quarter Tuesday.

“I think the weaknesses we showed against Shawnee, we overcame those tonight,” Stark said.

Carl Albert 81, Piedmont 57

Piedmont hung with top-ranked Carl Albert for a half, trailing just 31-19 at the break, but the Titans pulled away in the second half to keep the Wildcats winless on the year.

Trey Hopkins scored 25 points for CAHS to lead all scorers. Mason Harrell added 21 for the Titans, who improved to 4-0 with the win.

Hunter Oden scored 11 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to pace Piedmont. Sophomore Rylan McDaniel had 10.

Piedmont trailed 22-7 after a quarter, but sliced into Carl Albert’s lead in the second period and was behind by only 12 at intermission. Carl Albert answered by outscoring Piedmont 30-11 to start the second half, though and led by as many as 33. PHS continued the back and forth by winning the fourth quarter, 27-21.

Ardmore’s big plays push it past Piedmont in first round of playoffs

Blake Colston

ARDMORE – Fourth-ranked Ardmore threw two passes Friday night. One was intercepted and another was incomplete.

Photo by Holly Cowden Jacob Storts recovers an Ardmore fumble in the second half Friday night.

Photo by Holly Cowden
Jacob Storts recovers an Ardmore fumble in the second half Friday night.

It was what the Tigers did the rest of the time that made the difference. Ardmore’s option attack totaled 397 yards on 44 carries and Jordan Roberts, the star of night, scored three touchdowns in a 35-0 first-round playoff win over Piedmont at Noble Stadium.

Ardmore (9-2, 6-1) advances to play at top-seeded Tulsa Bishop Kelley Friday while Piedmont’s season comes to an end at 6-5 overall.

“They’re very methodical and disciplined and they execute extremely well,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said of the Tigers’ keys to victory. “We knew trying to defend this offense was going to be a challenge and it was.”

Roberts, who flashed brilliant speed on each of his big plays, gathered in an option pitch and sprinted 52 yards untouched for Ardmore’s first touchdown of the game. He added a 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 34-yard interception return for a score to put the game on ice in the fourth quarter.

It’s what Ardmore head coach Josh Newby has gotten accustomed to from the 6-foot-1, 171-pound senior. Roberts credited his coaches for putting him in the right spots to make the big plays Friday night.

“Coach had great play-calling and put me in best position to get into the end zone,” Roberts said. “I just made the right cuts and made the right moves that I needed to.”

It wasn’t just Roberts, though. Chantz Scurry capped off a 29-yard scoring drive from Ardmore with a 2-yard plunge up the middle to give the Tigers a 21-0 lead with 0:21 left in the third quarter. Scurry carried 18 times for 160 yards and two scores to compliment Roberts’ six carries for 82 yards. Kobe Pickens had nine carries for 97 yards.

“It’s not one, it’s three or four guys who rack up the yards,” Gossen said. “You have to defend all of them on every single play and that makes it tough.”

Highlights were few and far between for Piedmont, which gained only one yard in the second half. Tanner Knight picked off an Anthony Kimmons pass at the Piedmont 12-yard line to snuff out a Tiger scoring opportunity late in the first half, and Jacob Storts returned a Tiger fumble 21 yards late in the fourth quarter.

Still, Piedmont had a potentially program-building season that ended with consecutive losses to Top 5 teams, but was otherwise stellar.

“The teams in the future at Piedmont have a lot to look up to,” Gossen said. “These guys set a standard that’s very high and you can’t ask for more than that.”

Three things to watch: Piedmont at Ardmore

Blake Colston

Trick plays: Piedmont hasn’t run any fake kicks this year, or trick plays for that matter. That could change tonight. The Wildcats have several different formations and trick plays in the gameplan this week. When, or if, they choose to use them could go a long ways in determining if PHS can pull the upset.

Photo by Holly Cowden Landon White carries the ball in Piedmont's loss at Noble Friday night.

Photo by Holly Cowden
Landon White carries the ball in Piedmont’s loss at Noble Friday night.

Blocking Tyrecce Lott: Though they’ve already played Carl Albert and Bishop McGuinness, Ardmore defensive lineman Tyreece Lott could be the Piedmont offensive line’s biggest challenge yet this season. At 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, Lott is a difference maker who just received a scholarship offer from the University of Kansas. First things first on each play: Block No. 70.

The Wildcats’ mindset: Throughout the week, Piedmont’s players and coaches have said all the right things about not being satisfied with just making the playoffs for the first time since 2011. But it would only be natural for the team to breathe a sigh of relief with the accomplishment. If they do, that won’t bode well for their upset chances. But if they stay focused like they’ve been all season – look out.

Wildcats not satisfied with playoff berth, they want more

Blake Colston

Piedmont could already be so satisfied that it’s qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2011, that it’s first round game at Ardmore on Friday night at 7:30 takes a backseat to the accomplishment.

Photo by Hugh Scott Piedmont's Bryson Ensminger, left, jumps to deflect a pass intended for Rubell Goe of Bishop McGuinness.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Piedmont’s Bryson Ensminger, left, jumps to deflect a pass intended for Rubell Goe of Bishop McGuinness.

That mindset wouldn’t bode well for the third-seeded Wildcats’ chances to spring an upset, but wouldn’t be completely unexpected considering most preseason predictions had Piedmont watching the playoffs from home.

Senior receiver Parker Smith says that Wildcat-backers have nothing to worry about, though and that Piedmont’s focus is 100 percent on beating the Tigers.

“What’s the point of playing one extra game in a season if it doesn’t mean anything,” Smith asked. “This is about being able to show our community that we’re playing for something more than just ourselves.”

Piedmont (6-4, 5-2) enters the game on a two-game losing streak after losses to third-ranked Carl Albert (49-21) and No. 2 Bishop McGuinness (21-0) with a district title on the line, but doesn’t necessarily feel like it has lost momentum. If anything, head coach Drew Gossen said, his team feels as prepared as ever to win important games because it’s played in so many already.

“Every game has been a big game and every game has been against a quality opponent,” he said, “so it’s just like it escalates into this. From here on out they just keep getting bigger and bigger.”

Ardmore (8-2, 6-1) played for a district title down the stretch as well and had the title within its grasps in a 28-27 loss to Lawton MacArthur that Ardmore led in the fourth quarter. The Tigers had won six in a row before the loss. Read more →

Carl Albert races past Piedmont, 49-21

Blake Colston

MIDWEST CITY — It didn’t take long for Carl Albert to set the tone Friday night.

Photo by Hugh Scott Parker Smith returns a kickoff Friday night at Carl Albert.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Parker Smith returns a kickoff Friday night at Carl Albert.

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.

Piedmont Gazette Podcast, Edition 4

Piedmont wants to keep chip on its shoulder despite recent recognition

Blake Colston

Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen’s phone was busy this weekend.

Photo by Hugh Scott Piedmont's Parker Smith tries to break around the edge as Guthrie's Gavin Brison closes in last Friday.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Piedmont’s Parker Smith tries to break around the edge as Guthrie’s Gavin Brison closes in last Friday.

Congratulatory calls, texts and emails poured in following Piedmont’s 22-14 victory over Guthrie that secured a playoff berth for the first time since 2011 and kept the Wildcats in the conversation for a district title. Piedmont even made its first appearance in various Class 5A Top 10 rankings for the first time all season after the win.

“Our kids are gaining a ton of respect and we feel pretty good about that,” Gossen said. “People are noticing what we’re doing.”

But part of the key to Piedmont’s five-game winning streak has been its under-the-radar trajectory, a perceived lack of respect and the figurative chip on the shoulder that helped create. So heading into a matchup with third-ranked Carl Albert (7-1, 4-1) tonight at 7 in Midwest City, will Piedmont (6-2, 5-0) be able to keep the same mentality?

“It’d be hard to feel like anyone is going to have us over anyone that we play from here on out,” Gossen said. Piedmont hosts No. 2 Bishop McGuinness after Carl Albert. “To have the feeling that we’re still not respected, I have a feeling we’re still going to get that same look. Our kids know that even though we continue to win, people are still going to pick against us.”

Even Gossen admits those same people might have good reason to side the Titans, who’s only loss came to McGuinness.

“What doesn’t,” he said when asked about what stands out about the Titans team. “They’re excellent. There’s not a weak link and I think that’s probably the biggest thing that stands out. Their quarterback is a great player, they’ve got receivers that can run and their running back is the best we’ve seen.”

Defensively, Gossen said Carl Albert is athletic in the secondary, disciplined at linebacker and big and quick along the front. That’s not all, though. 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 →

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