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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 →

Bishop McGuinness beats Piedmont in regular season finale

Blake Colston

Highly touted receiver Rubell Goe caught 10 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns to help lead second-ranked Bishop McGuinness past Piedmont 21-0 in both team’s regular season finale Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.

Photo by Holly Cowden Easton Hensley tries to reel in a pass over a pair of Bishop McGuinness defenders.

Photo by Holly Cowden
Easton Hensley tries to reel in a pass over a pair of Bishop McGuinness defenders.

In a game dominated by defense, the Wildcats were limited to just 130 total yards. Goe’s yards accounted for almost half of the Irish’s 282 total yards.

Piedmont, (6-4, 5-2) seemed to be just a fraction off from making key plays all night. Landon White ran for for 74 yards on 22 carries, but was one tackle away from breaking a pair of long runs. Noah Ellis was 6 of 19 passing for 52 yards and narrowly missed connecting with Easton Hensley for a long touchdown pass.

“Offensively we couldn’t sustain drives and really battled field position all night,” head coach Drew Gossen said. “We’re one block away from breaking a power play early and then another one late. It was a play here and there that made the difference.”

Trailing 7-0 with less than a minute to play in the first half, Piedmont’s Christian Bricker wrapped up McGuinness quarterback Jarrett Lewis near the goal line and appeared to strip the ball from Lewis. An Irish lineman recovered the ball in the end zone for a potential safety, but the officials ruled the play as an incomplete pass instead. Read more →

Piedmont playing for playoff momentum in regular season finale

Blake Colston

The result of Friday night’s regular season finale at Wildcat Stadium set for a 7 p.m. kickoff between Piedmont and second-ranked Bishop McGuinness likely won’t have any bearing on either team’s playoff destinations.

Photo by Hugh Scott Landon White stretches over the goal line for a touchdown at Carl Albert.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Landon White stretches over the goal line for a touchdown at Carl Albert.

Because of its stranglehold on the district points lead, McGuinness (8-1, 6-0) holds the potential tiebreaker over Piedmont and Carl Albert and thus has already locked up a district title, while Piedmont (6-3, 5-1) will be the third seed unless it wins Friday and Woodward pulls an unlikely upset of Carl Albert.

Despite all that, Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen says that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important game.

“It’s all about momentum,” he said. “You think about any level of football, the champion is not necessarily the team that at the beginning of the season impressed everyone, it’s the team that gets hot at the right at time and that’s really what our goal is right now.”

Piedmont built a good deal of momentum heading into last week’s game at third-ranked Carl Albert, but suffered its first loss since Sept. 16 at Noble, so the importance of regaining whatever momentum it lost as it nears the postseason, where it’ll face either Lawton MacArthur or Ardmore next Friday, can’t be overstated.

“It’s a matter for us of getting better everyday,” Gossen said. “This week, a win would give us a huge swing of momentum going into the playoffs.” 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 clinches playoff berth with win over Guthrie

Blake Colston

Piedmont’s quest for a district title is alive and well.

Photo by Hugh Scott Noah Ellis throws on the run Friday night in Piedmont's 22-14 win over Guthrie.

Photo by Hugh Scott
Noah Ellis throws on the run Friday night in Piedmont’s 22-14 win over Guthrie.

The Wildcats navigated the first part of a three-game gauntlet to close the season Thursday night at Wildcat Stadium with a 22-14 win over perennial Class 5A power Guthrie behind three touchdowns from quarterback Noah Ellis and a strong defensive effort that forced six Blue Jay turnovers.

Each team committed three turnovers in the first half and Piedmont (6-2, 5-0 in District 5A-2) trailed 14-6 at intermission, but never panicked.

“That was probably my favorite thing about this game. We started out with a lot of adversity. There are a lot of people who kind of count out Piedmont in a game like this,” head coach Drew Gossen said. “Our guys could’ve shut it down and yet they fought through it. That’s the one thing about this team. They’ve figured out how to win.”

Ellis finished only 7 of 19 passing for 70 yards, but made his completions count. Ellis twice connected with senior receiver Koy Priddy for scores. First, on a 38-yard pass with 11:51 in the second quarter for the Wildcats only score of the half and again on a crucial fourth-down-and goal from the 8-yard line that pulled Piedmont within two, 14-12, with 9:06 to play in the third quarter.

Ellis, who’s developed a strong connection with Priddy this season, said there was never any doubt he was throwing his way on the critical fourth down play. 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 →

39 national firms contacted by Piedmont retail developer

By Tim Farley
News Editor

Rickey Hayes thoughts graphic

39!…Rickey don’t lose that number

Rickey Hayes, of Owasso-based Retail Attractions, is recruiting restaurants and other retail businesses to locate in Piedmont. Hayes met with city officials and citizens Wednesday to discuss potential new businesses.
(Graphic by Becky Pearce)

A retail development firm hired to attract more businesses to Piedmont has contacted 39 companies about locating here, according to the company’s latest activity log.

Rickey Hayes, owner of Owasso-based Retail Attractions, Inc., submitted a report that shows he contacted numerous national chains that own multiple brands. The contacts included Advance Auto Parts, Luby’s, Family Dollar Stores, Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, Sprint Nextel Corporation, AT&T Mobility, Wendy’s and Mexican Restaurants, Inc., which owns five restaurant brands.

Hayes wrote in his report that he also contacted grocery outlets Reasor’s, Homeland and Aldi’s about new store sites and development strategies in Piedmont.

Piedmont attracted Tuttle-based Williams Grocery Store in 2012 when the city council approved a 15-year sales tax rebate agreement. The pact requires the city to return $1.9 million to the store during the life of the agreement. City officials have said they pay Williams at least $10,000 a month in rebates.

Hayes also contacted clothing and shoe stores such as Claire’s, Name Brands, Maurice’s and Payless Shoes.

City Manager Jason Orr said some of the companies have been “very receptive.” He declined further comment. Hayes was unavailable for comment on the report.

Hayes also wrote in the report that he contacted Furniture Factory Outlet, Children’s Orchard and Winmark Corporation, which owns Plato’s Closet, Music Go Round, Play It Again Sports and Pete First.

The retail development work for Piedmont also took Hayes to a Dallas conference that included a “lot of site selectors,” Orr said. Read more →

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