This week, the Bulldogs got a 60-yard punt return from C.J. Savage and followed it with a 51-yard scamper around left end by Dreek Thompson to start them toward a 49-0 halftime advantage.
Susan Moore lost 20-6 last week to Ashville, a team Piedmont defeated 55-0 in Week 2.
“Having already played Ashville and winning big, one of the things that we wanted to guard against was a letdown as far as effort. ... I really thought we were sharp in the first half. Offense, defense, special teams — everything was really clicking well,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said.
The victory keeps Piedmont unbeaten at 7-0, including 5-0 in Class 3A, Region 5, one of two undefeated teams in the standings.
The other is Saks, a 43-7 winner over Weaver on Friday. The Bulldogs and Wildcats collide at Saks on Friday in a game that probably will settle the region title.
“Whichever team is able to play the best defense I think will probably come out on top in that game,” Smith said. “I think everybody will be expecting lots of points but I don’t really feel that way.”
Susan Moore took the kickoff, ran three plays and punted. Savage caught the ball near the hash marks on the visitors’ side, came back toward the Piedmont grandstand and outran the coverage. Easton Kirk, who was 8-for-8 on extra points, made it 7-0.
“We just practice hard. We go over punt return almost every day,” Savage said. “My players blocked and we got the touchdown.”
Susan Moore punted 10 more times during the night, but Piedmont never attempted another return. The second punt ended on a fair catch at the Piedmont 49-yard line.
On first down, Thompson took a handoff around left end. The more steps he took the more distance he put between himself and his pursuers.
“We just thought we’d make some big plays,” Thompson said of Piedmont’s expectations entering the game.
Before the first quarter ended, Denard Spears scored from 5 yards out on a speed sweep.
In the second quarter, starting center Caleb Adams went to the backfield and scored the first touchdown of his high school career on a 1-yard run.
Spears followed with a 35-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Ty Sparks.
A 19-yard run by Darnell Jackson made it 42-0 with five minutes to play in the half. Neonta Alexander turned a simple run at right end into an 89-yard touchdown 55 seconds before intermission.
Early in the third quarter, Trevaughn Carpenter’s 35-yard run completed the scoring.
In the first half, Piedmont’s defense limited Susan Moore to a net of three yards rushing and just 51 yards through the air. Piedmont safety Tyler Lusk said the secondary had to make adjustments on the fly when Susan Moore went to tight end formations then settled in.
“The only way people have been getting down the field on us is big plays,” Lusk said.
“We had to stop that this week and we did.”