J.B. Pennington pushed the Bulldogs and made them sweat but, in the end, the defending champion didn’t blink in a 28-13 victory over the visiting Tigers last Friday.
Piedmont took a 7-0 lead after one quarter but Pennington answered with a 65-yard drive capped off by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Noah Allison to Cade Timmerman. Allison added the extra point and the game was tied 7-7 early in the second quarter.The Bulldogs answered on the following possession with a touchdown and then Pennington gave the hosts a short field with a turnover and Piedmont cashed in to take a 21-7 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Tigers turned the ball over twice more and the Piedmont running game kept the Tiger offense off the field for long stretches.
Pennington got on the board again late when Cole Littleton scored on a 2-yard run but it was too little, too late for the Tigers.
Turnovers were a big story on the night as Pennington had two fumbles and an interception. Piedmont lost just one fumble and did not throw an interception.
The Tigers managed just 75 yards rushing but Allison completed 16 of 24 passing for 170 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Allison and Jalon Bullard each had 29 yards rushing while Sheldon Blythe was held to just 14 yards on five carries.
Littleton caught six passes for 60 yards while Timmerman had five receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. Dawson Blaxton caught four passes for 13 yards while Nik Brown had a 12-yard reception.
Piedmont’s running game proved to be the difference as the Bulldogs finished with 344 rushing yards (on 39 carries) and just 39 yards through the air.
Travis Haynes led the Tiger defense with 15 tackles, including a sack. Luke Cassity and Jalon Bullard had 10 tackles each and Bullard had a caused fumble. Ethan Williams had eight stops and recovered a fumble.
“Piedmont is obviously a very good football team,” said Pennington head coach Todd Cassity. “I am proud of the way our guys competed on every play against the two-time defending state champions. Our defense did a great job of keeping us in the game and we had chances inside the red zone on offense but we just could not finish drives.
“I am very proud of what this team accomplished this season. After losing such a good senior class last year, we were not real sure how this team would be this year but these guys played their hearts out each and every game and would not allow failure. I really hope that is going to carry over into the offseason to make the returning guys even more hungry to go further next season.”
Pennington ended the season at 9-3 while Piedmont improved to 11-1. The Bulldogs will travel to Colbert Heights (11- 1) Friday for the quarterfinals.