PIEDMONT — Piedmont started a new winning streak Friday night. The Class 3A, No. 5 Bulldogs scored twice in less than four minutes to start the game then added three touchdowns in the third quarter and defeated Geraldine 35-14.
“It was great to get back in the win column against a playoff team like Geraldine,” Piedmont head coach Steve Smith said. “They’re runner-up in their region.
“I thought our guys played well tonight. We did a lot of things well. We turned it over a couple of times. We have to clean that up, but I thought we got after it pretty good on the defensive side of the ball, and offensively we were effective with our possessions.”
A low snap on a punt attempt gave Piedmont the ball at the Geraldine 24-yard line on Piedmont’s first possession. Quarterback Jack Hayes wasted no time, immediately lofting a 24-yard touchdown pass to Silas Thompson. The first of Bryce Mohon’s five extra points made it 7-0.
Geraldine was three-and-out on its second possession. Caleb Hall got off a 35-yard punt that Austin Estes promptly returned 64 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 8:43 still to play in the first quarter.
Ahead 14-7 at halftime, Piedmont moved 70 yards in eight plays to start the second half. Hayes scored on a 7-yard run.
Piedmont’s defense got a turnover on downs on Geraldine’s initial possession of the second half, and Elijah Johnson scored on a 48-yard run, his eighth and final carry of the game. Johnson, at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, rushed for 121 yards.
Noah Reedy recovered a fumble for Piedmont at the Geraldine 42 and returned it 17 yards to the 25 on Geraldine’s next possession. On the first snap, Hayes pumped once and then threw deep to Estes for Piedmont’s final touchdown.
Hayes was 3-of-6 passing for 56 yards and two scores. Geraldine’s Kyle Thackerson and Chase Kermondy each intercepted him in the first half.
Kermondy rushed for one of Geraldine’s touchdowns, and Troy Willoughby’s only carry went for 17 yards and a score.
Anthony Baldwin led Geraldine with 27 carries for 132 yards. Thackerson ran 10 times for 48 yards.
DJ Graham completed 8-of-11 passes for 95 yards. Jackson Bearden (56 yards), Baldwin (17 yards) and Thackerson (14 yards) all caught two passes.
Bearden and Thackerson led Geraldine’s defense with six tackles each. Nate Rowell had four tackles and one sack.
Gattlon Riddle, Jacob Hamilton and Tyler Hughes each contributed a sack.