Tigers hold off late Piedmont charge in Champions ChallengePublished 8:38pm Saturday, August 23, 2014
The Dadeville Tigers got all they could handle from the Piedmont Bulldogs during the AHSAA Champions Challenge.
But behind a big night from junior running back D.J. Pearson and a stellar performance by the Tigers’ front seven, Class 4A No.3 Dadeville held off a late Piedmont charge to prevail 14-8.
“It’s a big win for us going forward. Piedmont is like us – they’ve been to the playoffs a lot and they’ve got a tradition at their place. We knew it was going to be a battle coming in,” said DHS coach Richard White. “Their staff did a good job of getting them ready, as we did with our guys. We came out of this relatively injury-free, which was the main thing.”
Defense was the story for nearly three quarters as neither team could break through the opposition’s defense, but after Michael Miller picked off Piedmont’s Tyler Lusk late in the frame, Shawn Jennings led a 46-yard drive punctuated by a 23-yard scamper from Pearson that finally put the Tigers on the board.
Pearson struck again in the fourth quarter as he and Jennings powered the Tigers again.
Jennings accounted for 59 of the Tigers’ 65-yard drive, as he found Treverous Johnson for 28 yards and picked up 31 yards with his legs.
Pearson capped things off with a 6-yard plunge. A two-point conversion compliments of a Cal Jones dash gave Dadeville a 14-0 lead with 8:34 to go.
“That’s what we wanted to do,” White said of Pearson’s ability to establish the run for the Tigers. “We’re trying to get our new quarterbacks comfortable throwing the ball, and until we get to that point we have to run the football, and we knew that. (Cal and Shawn) grew up a little bit tonight.”
Class 3A No. 2 Piedmont then answered on the next drive. After being given life when a Tyreke Stone pick-six was called back, Lusk hit C.J. Savage over the middle, who evaded a tackle and hit paydirt from 47 yards out.
Lusk hit Justin Bice to convert the ensuing two-point try.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Bulldogs had one more chance to win it but the Dadeville defense stiffened as Piedmont began to sniff the redzone. A sack by Anfernee Jennings knocked PHS back a few yards, and a fourth-down attempt was stonewalled thanks to a sack by Markellis Crayton and Johnson.
Jennings and Jaquan Alvies each had two sacks, and as a team DHS got to Lusk for seven sacks on the night
Pearson led all runners with 118 yards on 16 carries.
See the Tuesday edition of the Outlook for more from this game.