By Evan Grice
Piedmont’s playoff journey didn’t just take a slight detour Friday night at Stout Field against Anadarko.
It hit a brick wall.
A smothering Warriors defense held the Wildcats offense in check all night long, as the AHS offense capitalized with two scores in the first half and two in the second to claim a 27-0 victory, and the district 4A-1 title in the process.
PHS’ playoff chances now hinder on the results of the Wildcats final two games against Elgin and Weatherford, where the Wildcats will need to win both to make the playoffs.
“Obviously we need to correct mistakes we made tonight,” Piedmont coach Craig Church said. “Our whole season hinders on our next two games. I know it’s tough but we’ve got to put this game behind us and focus on Elgin next week. We’ve got some guys banged up as well and we need to get them ready.”
Anadarko extinguished any hopes of a Piedmont comeback just under four minutes into the fourth quarter, when RJ Sink broke loose for a 24-yard touchdown run, putting the Warriors up 27-0 with 8:01 remaining.
It was the third rushing touchdown on the night for AHS, which won the game despite turning the ball over twice in the third quarter, but proved to be harmless as Piedmont failed to capitalize on both possessions.
After choosing to receive the ball on the opening kickoff, Anadarko just needed three minutes to drive 58 yards, capping the drive off with a 26-yard touchdown run from Traymayne Wauahdooah, making it 7-0.
Piedmont struggled on its opening drive, which saw the Wildcats fail to convert on a 4th and 1 from the 44-yard line, giving the Warriors prime field position to start their next drive.
Offensive struggles were an unfortunate theme for the Wildcats throughout the night, as quarterback Lucas Richert felt the pressure multiple times, suffering two sacks on the evening.
AHS quarterback Brandon Pollard took full advantage, finding Josh Parton for a 44-yard touchdown strike to make it 14-0 at the 5:36 mark of the first quarter.
“They’re (Anadarko) not number one in the state for nothing,” Richert said about the Warriors and their defense. “No one has been able to give them a test except Woodward, and that’s another quality team. Going into halftime, this was a game. But number 85 (Mailk Boardingham) and number one (Traymayne Wauahdooah) are some fast and big linemen, and make things difficult. They’re on you before you can do anything.”
“We need to execute more,” Richert added. “There were some bright spots, don’t get me wrong. But we’ve got a big game against Elgin and we need to move on. This game wasn’t any bigger than Elgin or Weatherford. It’s not always going to be easy, and we need to keep moving forward.”
Having to start deep inside its own territory didn’t help Piedmont either, as the Warriors were able to pin the Wildcats back most of the evening with punts stopping deep inside the five-yard line.
“When we got the ball on the 10, it wasn’t anything we were doing wrong,” Church said. “They (Anadarko) have so many fast players that can avoid blocks and get down field. We had a lot of trouble getting vertical, and when that happens their defenders don’t feel threatened because of the lack of pressure.”
Piedmont looked like they were going to get back in the game after recovering a fumble early in the third quarter, but a three and out gave the ball right back to the Warriors, which saw Pollard cash in for his second touchdown of the evening.
A nine-yard scamper on a first and goal attempt made it 21-0 with 1:21 left in the third, effectively putting the game out of reach going into the fourth quarter.
Richert finished the game 6-for-16 passing for 25 yards, which included going 2-for-9 in the second half after starting the game off a perfect 5-for-5 on the night.
Darrius Burris finished the night with 22 carries for 85 yards, just one week after he ran for more than 200 yards against Clinton.
RJ sink totaled 26 carries for 139 yards and one touchdown for Anadarko.
Piedmont (4-4, 3-2) will travel to Elgin Friday night Nov. 1 for a matchup against the Owls, with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.