The second quarter belonged to second-ranked Piedmont, as the Bulldogs outscored Ashville 17-0 and went on to win the Class 3A, Region 5 contest by the final of 36-13.
“Ashville has a real talented bunch, and they are a team to watch out for in the future,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. “Coach (Mark) O’Bryant has done a great job here in just a short time. We got behind the eight-ball early when they scored a defensive touchdown, but I was proud of the way our guys fought back.”
On the second play of the game, Ashville’s Kenny Brady intercepted Cade Bradley’s pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown. Damien Bothwell’s extra point was good, giving Ashville (1-1, 0-1 Region 5) a 7-0 lead.
The defensive touchdown woke up the Piedmont offense. The Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 Region 5) marched 62 yards in just four plays, with the end result a 41-yard touchdown run by Darnell Jackson. The PAT by Dillon Terry was good, tying the game at 7 with 9:35 left.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Ashville quarterback E. J. Moss completed a pass to Randy Williams, but on the tackle, he fumbled. Piedmont’s Jamie Major recovered the ball at the Ashville 44.
Piedmont wasted little time in finding the end zone. On the next play, Bradley hooked up with Jackson for a 44-yard touchdown connection to put Piedmont on top 13-7 with 9:08 remaining in the first quarter.
The two teams traded punts, but then Ashville put together an 80-yard drive in nine plays. Moss had a 30-yard completion to Randy Williams. Six plays later, he threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Fuller. The extra point was blocked by Piedmont’s Cody Daughtry to keep the game tied at 13 heading into the second quarter.
It would be a quarter dominated by Piedmont. The Bulldogs scored two touchdowns off of two Ashville turnovers.
Terry kicked a 37-yard field goal to put Piedmont up 16-13. Following an Ashville fumble, Piedmont took over at midfield. Seven plays later, Dreek Thompson scored on a 1-yard run that made it 23-13 Bulldogs.
Daughtry later intercepted a Moss pass at the Ashville 20. Sarandon Dunbar scored two plays later on a 9-yard run to make the halftime score 30-13.
There was only one score in the second half, and it came the first time Piedmont had the ball in the third quarter. They drove 63 yards in five plays, capped off with a 25-yard run by Denard Spears for the final.
O’Bryant said his Ashville players just “got their butts kicked.”
”They are better than us at every position,” O’Bryant said. “They outmanned us up front on both sides of the ball.”