By Kurt Duryea, Special to WEIS
PIEDMONT – Quarterback Jack Hayes, who already owns all-time state records for touchdown passes and touchdowns accounted for, added three more touchdowns to his total and led third-ranked Piedmont to a 42-16 victory over Geraldine on homecoming.
The win sealed the home team’s 18th region championship and moved them within one win of its first undefeated region season since 2017.
Geraldine (5-3, 4-2 Class 3A, Region 6) won the toss and chose to receive the opening kickoff and proceeded to drive to the Piedmont 2-yard line where a goal line stand turned them away without points.
Piedmont (6-2, 6-0) then went on a 12-play, 98-yard drive that culminated with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Hayes to Ish Bethel with 25.3 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Sloan Smith converted his first of five extra points.
Early in the second quarter, Geraldine quarterback Jaxon Colvin hooked up with Cody Satterfield for an 81-yard score. Moses Garcia made the score 7-7 with his extra point.
Hayes engineered a 10-play, 72-yard scoring drive in a little less than three minutes that sent Piedmont into the locker room with a 14-7 advantage. Hayes covered the last seven yards on his own.
Hayes ripped off a 57-yard run on the first play of scrimmage in the second half and Parker Thornton went the last 18-yards to put Piedmont in front 21-7.
Geraldine came back with a 9-play, 69-yard drive and made the score 21-13 after a 1-yard plunge by Caleb Hall. The extra point attempt was blocked.
After recovering a Piedmont fumble inside the 10-yard line, Moses Garcia kicked a 28-yard field goal making the score 21-16.
Piedmont pulled away with three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth for the final.
Jack Hayes had a touchdown run of 34 yards, Cody Holloway converted from the 3-yard line and Rhett Alford tacked on the final score with a 1-yard burst. Chase Cardelli added the final extra point for Piedmont.
“I thought we took over the game in the fourth quarter by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. “We rushed for, I think, over 300 yards tonight so I was really proud of their effort.”