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Big defensive effort not enough to pull Piedmont past Anadarko

Trevor Gianfillipo steps in front of an Anadarko receiver to pick off a pass late in Thursday night’s game.

By Greg Evans

On a night where Piedmont’s defense kept one of the most potent offenses in check, the Wildcat offense couldn’t get the breaks it needed to pull off a major upset. Anadarko beat Piedmont 42-3 on Thursday.

Jared Brown recovered an Anadarko fumble a minute and a half into the game and Piedmont found itself on the right side of the 50 yard line. Brett Adams and Christian Foster connected for an early first down. A couple plays later, the Wildcats found themselves in the red zone following a 20-yard rush by Darrius Burris and a facemask penalty by the Warriors. Piedmont got to third and one at the goal line but a false start penalty pushed Piedmont back. The penalty forced a Piedmont pass and an Anadarko defender stepped in front of the intended receiver to pick off the pass. The defender ran the length of the football field for a score. The Warrior extra point was blocked.

Piedmont went three-and-out on their next possession, forcing a punt. A short punt resulted in great field position for Anadarko but the Wildcat defense would strike again. With just under five minutes left in the first quarter, Piedmont forced and recovered another fumble. Adams was able to find Foster and Steffen Funkhouser to keep the chains moving for the Wildcats. Facing a third and 10 at the Anadarko 15, a pass fell incomplete and Butch Hampton got Piedmont on the board with a field goal. At the end of the first quarter, Anadarko lead 6-3.

Following the Wildcat field goal, Anadarko marched down the field and scored from six yards out. With a two point conversion, the Warriors lead 14-3.

Piedmont’s next possession showed the Wildcats could move the ball on the ground against the Warriors but they couldn’t convert on third down and were forced to punt. Anadarko got the ball inside their own 20. A Blane Culp sack and some big plays by the Wildcat secondary forced a fourth and two for Anadarko. The Warriors pulled a trick out of the bag with a fake punt and ran it for 20 yards.

Thanks to some penalties and sure tackling by Piedmont, Anadarko found itself in a fourth and 12. The Warriors ran the same fake punt play to convert for the first down. Anadarko scored on a 32-yard run the very next play.

Piedmont’s next drive saw the Wildcats moving the ball again but back-to-back sacks of Adams put a first down well out of reach. Piedmont was forced to punt and Anadarko wanted a bigger lead before the half. They would get just that on a 27-yard quarterback scramble with no time left on the clock to lead Piedmont 28-3 at the break.

The Wildcat defense held on strong in the third quarter, holding Anadarko scoreless. Culp added his second sack of the game.
Piedmont started the fourth quarter off much like it started the game, with a forced turnover. Only this time it was Trevor Gianfillipo picking off a Warrior pass in the red zone. The Wildcat offense against struggled to find traction and, following a Piedmont punt, Anadarko was able to score another touchdown on the ground. The Warriors tacked on one more score with under six minutes remaining.

“Our defense played great,” Coach Craig Church. “Anadarko has a really good offense. That’s a big deal. We created turnovers and played really well. Our offense played well at times but had some mistakes. Anadarko has great athletes and they will take advantages of mistakes.

“I’m proud of (the defense). The score is not indicative of the game that was played. It was a short week. The guys came out and played with intensity. Would we like the score to be different? Yes. However, we learned that our team competes no matter what.”

Following the loss, Piedmont fell to 2-3 in district play.

“It’s a 10 day season,” Church said. “The next two games decide the future. If we beat Elgin and Weatherford, then we have a chance at the playoffs.”

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