Piedmont Aerial Assault Downs Sylvania

Piedmont Aerial Assault Downs Sylvania

Quarterback Jack Hayes throws for more than 400 yards to drive Bulldogs' region win.

By Roger Scott | For Southern Torch
Photos courtesy of Andy Vance

PIEDMONT, Ala. -- Piedmont’s quarterback and receivers were on point in a 40-7 victory as Sylvania struggled with missed opportunities against its region rival.

Reigning 3A Back of the Year Jack Hayes led the Bulldogs, throwing five touchdowns while completing 20-29 passes and finishing with 419 yards through the air.

The Rams received the kickoff and had a promising first drive cut short by a turnover. Braiden Thomas gained 25 yards on Sylvania’s first play from scrimmage.

A few plays later, quarterback Jaxon Smith found Roman McKeehan for a 30-yard catch-and-run, but Bulldog defensive end Rhett Alford forced a fumble at the end of the run. Piedmont recovered the fumble at its own 39-yard line.

Sylvania forced Piedmont into a third-and-long that ended on a controversial leaping 33-yard reception by receiver Ishmael Bethel. Zack Anderson appeared to intercept the pass on the play, but the official ruled it a Bulldog catch.

Piedmont, gaining momentum, converted on consecutive 4th downs on the drive that ended with a short touchdown catch to make the score 7-0. Sylvania went three-and-out on its next drive, and the defending 3A state champions added another score on a 33-yard reception by receiver Thomas Propst.

In the second quarter, the Rams moved the ball well on the ground, failed to score in the red zone, and struggled to contain Piedmont’s air attack. Bethel caught two touchdown passes from Hayes in the quarter.

The Bulldogs led 27-0 at the half.

Piedmont received the kick after the half and again went to work through the air with a 41-yard pass from Hayes to Parker Thornton. Another first down completion by Hayes led to a touchdown pass to Rollie Pinto, making the score 34-0.

Sylvania again moved the ball into the red zone with 7:20 left in the 3rd quarter, but its scoring chance ended with Piedmont forcing another fumble at the end of a 4th-and-12 completion from Smith to Josh Scott.

Hayes threw another short completion that turned into a 60-yard gain down the right sideline to Propst. The drive ended with a field goal, making the score 37-0. After a Sylvania punt, Piedmont drove the length of the field again and added another field goal for the 40-0 lead.

The Rams added a late touchdown with 5:50 left in the game on a 70-yard run by sophomore Aiden Parham, leaving the final score 40-7.

Piedmont (1-1) hosts Plainview (0-2) in a region matchup, while Sylvania (1-1) seeks to bounce back in a region game vs. Ohatchee (0-3).

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