Noah Ellis earned the first win of his career as a starting quarterback Thursday night, and in the process managed to crack a smile.
Ellis threw three touchdowns passes while leading Piedmont to a 38-6 win — its first of the season — over Oklahoma City Southeast. All while Ellis worked out a half-season’s worth of frustration, thanks to the teammates around him, he said afterwards.
“Our line did a great job of giving me protection, our receivers did a great job of getting open and really made my life easy,” Ellis, a junior, said. “It’s good for the team to get one in the win column. We just have to keep rolling now.”
Ellis led an offensive attack that scored more points — 38 — in one game Thursday than it had in the previous six games — 29 — combined.
“We did a good job of moving the ball, definitely the best job we’ve done this season,” he said. “We just need to keep the momentum going in practice this week and into next Friday night.”
Landon White scored on runs of 34 and three yards and Easton Hensley reeled in touchdown passes of 25 and 20 yards from Ellis. Heath Beebe added an 18-yard touchdown reception in the second half of a game Piedmont led wire-to-wire. Butch Hampton’s 33-yard field goal as time expired in the first half sent the Wildcats to halftime with a 24-0 advantage.
“Having success is an awesome feeling for these kids and I’m so proud and excited for them,” head coach Drew Gossen said. “Really excited about seeing it finally come together.”
Ellis led a 12 and a 10-play drive for touchdowns, as well as a pair of two-play scoring drives.
“We did it in a lot of different ways,” Gossen said. “That was exciting to see.”
The Wildcats defense shutout Southeast’s offense. The Spartans only points came on a defensive touchdown from Josh Means in the third quarter. Means stripped White as he was being dragged down and returned the ball 48 yards for a score.
Piedmont (1-6, 1-3) travels to Western Heights next Friday with a chance to start a late-season surge up the district standings.
“We’ve got a really good opponent coming up next week,” Gossen said. “But now we’ve got some momentum. Hopefully we can take this positive experience and run with it.”