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Piedmont eliminated by Weatherford

Piedmont huddles up after Friday's loss to WeatherfordBy Greg Evans

Piedmont’s season came to a close on Friday night when Weatherford visited Stout Field and beat the Wildcats 32-20.

Piedmont came out on against the Eagles and hopped out to an early lead. Darrius Burris jumped in front of a Weatherford pass and took it to the house to put Piedmont up 6-0 just under two minutes into the game. Weatherford answered on their next drive with a steady rushing attack. The Eagles marched down the field in four minutes to take a one point lead.

Brett Adams threw an interception early in the second quarter, which halted a strong Piedmont drive but the Wildcat defense was able to force a Weatherford fumble on the very next play. Piedmont went up seven with a Burris touchdown and a Josh Hampton to Anthony Adigun two-point conversion.

Piedmont’s defense excelled in the first half. The Wildcats were able to get solid pressure on Weatherford’s quarterback and Piedmont was able to get stops in the running game when it mattered. Piedmont was able to force a Weatherford turnover on down in the red zone late in the quarter. Piedmont marched the ball down the field with around two minutes left in the half but another Adams pass was picked off. The interception gave the Eagles great field position. Weatherford scored with a minute left in the half but Piedmont was able to block their point after attempt. Piedmont lead 14-13 at the break.

Jarden Brown picked off a Weatherford pass at the 8:10 mark, looking to spark the Wildcat attack. Unfortunately for Piedmont, Hampton and Burris mishandled the handoff on the next play and Weatherford recovered. The Eagles were able to turn  that turnover into six points on a four-yard run but failed the two point conversion. Following a Piedmont three and out, Weatherford marched straight down the field to take a 25-14 lead right before the end of the third quarter.

Hampton, who came out under center to start the second half, helped put together a scoring drive on Piedmont’s next possession. Hampton completed three of three passes, including one that got Piedmont inside the five yard line. Burris was able to punch it in and Piedmont trailed by just five with 9:25 left in the game.

Piedmont’s defense held tough on Weatherford’s next possession, forcing a turnover on downs on a fourth and eight. However, the WIldcats went three and out on their next possession. Weatherford got the lucky bounce of the game when Adigun tipped a pass and the ball deflected into an Eagle receiver’s hands. Piedmont was able to drag the receiver down inside the 10 and eventually score a touchdown on a fourth and one. The score put Weatherford out of reach for the Wildcats.

Piedmont finished the night with 238 yards of total offense but five turnovers.

“I told the team that we’re proud of them,” Coach Craig Church said. “We talked to them this week about pouring their heart and soul into this game. They gave it everything they had and I don’t think there was a single guy who didn’t give this their all. Weatherford is a good football team. They got the breaks and we can’t control those. We accomplished a lot this year. There were a lot of challenges along the way but this group wasn’t about making excuses. They always rose up to meet the challenge.”

Piedmont learned that last week’s opponent, Elgin, was forced to forfeit the previous game. The forfeit meant the Wildcats were, again, in the running for a playoff spot.

“It was an emotional rollercoaster,” Church said. “To have your guts ripped out last week and then get the opportunity to have another chance. To have your guts ripped out again hurts. It’s emblematic of this season. I think the guys grew up a lot this week. They handled every challenge that came at them and dealt with it very well.”

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