Sylvania played one of the best programs in the state tough for four quarters but in the end the Rams couldn’t pull off the victory as they fell 40-20 to Piedmont in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Piedmont’s Jack Hayes threw two touchdown passes and rushed for two more in the victory.
“This was not your usual first round game,” Piedmont head coach Steve Smith said. “I think both of these teams could have made a deep run in the playoffs. We are certainly glad to come up here and get this win. It was a big win for us.”
Sylvania head coach Tyler Vann praised his team’s effort.
“Piedmont is a really good football team that I think will make a really deep run,” Vann said. “We are a really good football team too. I just don’t think we played well enough to win tonight and they deserve the credit for that.”
Piedmont jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after Hayes scored the first touchdown of the night on a 2-yard run. Sloan Smith added the extra-point to make it 7-0 with 4:15 left in the first.
Piedmont scored again with a 53-yard punt return for a touchdown from Austin Estes with 3:07 left in the first. Smith added the extra point.
Sylvania didn’t stay down long.
As the first quarter ended the Rams began to build momentum. On the first play of the second quarter, Preston Bates scored on a 13-yard run. Conner Andrade added the extra point to cut Piedmont’s lead to 14-7.
However, on the next drive Hayes hit Estes for a 42-yard touchdown pass. Smith added the extra-point to make it 21-7 with 9:55 left in the first half.
Sylvania responded again with a 62-yard touchdown pass from Brody Smith to Zack Anderson. Andrade made it 21-14 with 2:47 left in the first half.
Piedmont got into field goal range just before half but the 34-yard attempt was blocked and returned to midfield by Anderson with 8 seconds remaining.
Sylvania’s Smith then connected on a deep pass inside the five-yard line but offensive pass interference was called as time expired in the first half.
In the second half, Piedmont began to take control. The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Hayes to Estes. The extra point failed and Piedmont led 27-14.
Hayes scored again with 4:22 left in the third on a 1-yard run, which was set up by a 21-yard run by Estes. The two-point attempt failed and Piedmont led 33-14.
Again, Sylvania responded with a 55-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Sawyer Hughes. The extra-point attempt failed but Sylvania made the score 33-20 with 7:30 remaining.
Piedmont sealed the win with 2:28 remaining with a three-yard run from Parker Thornton. Smith added the extra point.
For Sylvania, Smith went 13-for-30 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Hughes had 114 yards receiving and a touchdown. Anderson had 87 yards receiving and a touchdown.