The Wildcats jumped out on top early against Western Heights on Friday and never let up. Piedmont dominated in all aspects of the game and cruised to a 47-6 victory.
Western Heights was able to move the ball with their spread option attack on the opening drive but a pair of back-to-back penalties stalled out the Jet attack. Brett Adams and Christian Foster connected for a touchdown passes few plays later and away went Western Heights. Piedmont’s extra point attempt was blocked.
On the ensuing kickoff, Dryden Abla was able to strip the ball away from the Jet return man and the Wildcats found themselves in great field position. Mitchell McGinnis waltzed his way into the endzone for the easy score. Piedmont went for two but failed. The Wildcats lead 12-0 midway through the opening quarter.
After struggling a bit on Western Height’s first drive, Piedmont’s defense made some major adjustments.
“We just started filling our gaps,” Kyle Owens said. “We had intensity, we hustled and we got to the ball.”
Trevor Gianfillipo picked off a Western Heights pass to set up, yet another, Wildcat scoring burst. Foster reeled in a pass to score on the resulting possession with just over a minute left in the first quarter.
Piedmont put together a 26-point first quarter thanks to a defense which was able to adapt to its opposing offense and balance on offense.
Adams and Funkhouser hooked up for another score with 9:31 on the clock and on the ensuing Western Heights possession Owens stripped the ball and set up another McGinniss score. Colby Bricker picked off a Jet pass and ran it in for a score for the second time this season.
“I’m glad to have my teammates behind me,” Bricker said. “We’re all giving it 100 percent. We are definitely improving since week one. We’re playing better as a team. We can always improve, though.”
Piedmont found itself up 47-0 at the half. Western Heights would get on the board with 7:23 left in the game by picking off a Marshall Wallace pass.
“The big thing is we did what we talked about doing,” Coach Craig Church said. “We needed to maintain focus and not play down to our competition, which is no slight to Western Heights. We had to make sure we take care of business. We played a clean ball game except we had a few too many penalties for my taste. A goal of ours was to put the game away early, because we knew if we didn’t they would turn it into a dogfight. I was very impressed with our maturity (on Friday).”
Piedmont’s success in the first half came from its ability to find balance on offense between the run and the pass.
“When we get a good momentum going, we keep pushing,” McGinnis said. “We keep that momentum going and we keep the energy up.”
“The two main things is we had a quarterback who made good decisions and was accurate,” Church said. Adams was 11 of 12 for 140 yards and three scores against Western Heights. “Our offensive line played especially well. The line was protecting and run blocking well. It’s hard to be balanced when those two things aren’t there. We were able to use both of our tailbacks, which was good. It was a step in the right direction.”