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That set up the winning play. Elijah Johnson took the handoff from Hayes and sweeping off the left side into the end zone for the touchdown.
PAT was no good, but the damage was done. Piedmont 27 - Walter Wellborn 20.
The Panthers had two last-second heaves from the Wellborn 35 that both fell harmlessly to the grass.
After the loss, the first of the season for the 8-1 Panthers, a totally dejected Jeff Smith summed it up, “This is awful. What can you say? The kids left it all on the field.”
Jett Smith paced the Panthers with 134 total yards, including 100 yards rushing. Calvin Spinks added 81 yards rushing.
This was a classic Alabama high school football nailbiter. Wellborn never led, but the game was tied three times before Piedmont scored the winning touchdown in the final 58 seconds.
Piedmont's Steve Smith on the win. “We’ve played in a lot of big games. This was an outstanding high school football environment tonight. My hats off to Wellborn for the crowd. Both sides, our side, and their side. Everybody was into the game. It was high-impact, high-intensity the whole night and two teams leaving it all on the field, but we felt like that big-game experience would work in our favor.”
The Bulldogs' sensational sophomore quarterback, Jack Hayes had another good night, going10 out of 18 passing for 217 yards and three touchdowns.
Piedmont has now captured its 6th consecutive region title. The last three have all come on regular-season ending tiebreakers. 2020 saw all three teams involved in the tiebreaker, Piedmont, Wellborn, and Ohatchee beat one of the other teams in the tiebreaker - all on the road in close games. Piedmont won 27-21 at Wellborn. Wellborn won 20-14 in overtime at Ohatchee. Ohatchee won 20-15 at Piedmont. In the end, it was Piedmont's non-region schedule against Cherokee County and Jacksonville that sealed the tiebreaker in favor of the Bulldogs.
Piedmont will close out the regular season on Halloween-eve at unbeaten Alexandria then prepare for the defense of their 3A state championship with a Round 1 game at The Field of Champions when they will host either Clements, Colbert Heights, or Phil Campbell on November 6th.
Wellborn's regular season has ended. The Panthers have an open date this coming week and will finish 2nd in 3A-Region 5. Wellborn will host their Round 1 matchup from "The Hill" with the #3 seed from 3A-Region 8, which will be either Clements, Colbert Heights, or Phil Campbell - all tied at 3-3 with tiebreaker matchups coming this Friday to determine the region's final outcome.
FNN's 10th Anniversary season for the GAME OF THE WEEK will conclude the regular season Friday with a return to Barney Hood Stadium for the county rivalry matchup between 5A Southside-Gadsden hosting 4A Etowah. The COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF begins at 6:30 PM with play set to get underway at 7:00 PM. You can watch the game live on any of FNN's seven platforms including here on the FNN 24/7 Channel. You can also view it on your TV if you have a Roku box or Firestick. Here are those viewing details
James Clemens 49 - Albertville 7
Alexandria 24 - Leeds 9
Anniston 28 - Cleburne Co. 0
Appalachian 20 - Woodville 54
Arab 34 - Springville 35
Fultondale 21 - Ashville 51
Randolph Co. 0 - B B Comer 30
Calera 20 - Ben Russell 46
Coosa Chr. 20 - Cedar Bluff 47
Corner 43 - Center Point 46
Tallassee 0 - Central-Clay Co. 33
Chelsea 21 - Mountain Brook 35
Jacksonville 30 - Cherokee Co. 8
Trinity 37 - Childersburg 6
Chilton Co. 0 - Pelham 41
Collinsville 14 - Geraldine 19
Sweet Water 20 - Etowah 33
Ranburne 27 - Fayetteville 21
Asbury 0 - Fyffe 54
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PIEDMONT WRITES MORE HISTORY WITH 27-20 WIN AT WALTER WELLBORN IN THE WEEK 9 FNN GAME OF THE WEEK
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Vestavia Hills 45 - Gadsden City 7
Glencoe 0 - Pleasant Valley 8
West Point 28 - Guntersville 59
Handley 52 - White Plains 0
Hokes Bluff 7 - Saks 28
Vincent 19 - Lafayette 39
Horseshoe Bend 6 - Lanett 48
Lincoln 20 - Moody 13
Ohatchee 56 - Weaver 6
Oneonta 7 - Good Hope 34
Oxford 49 - Fort Payne 14
Piedmont 27 - Walter Wellborn 21
Victory Chr. 14 - Ragland 27
Sand Rock 13 - Cleveland 56
Shelby Co. 34 - Jemison 6
West Morgan 22 - Spring Garden 40
Winfield 27 - Hayden 35
Sylacauga 27 - Holtville 31
Elmore Co. 29 - Talladega 66
Winterboro 25 - Woodland 15
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Once again, Piedmont was clutch when it counted most. This time, they pushed the dagger into Walter Wellborn's heart with just 15 seconds left on the clock.
With two dramatic plays, the Bulldogs captured the lead in the final minute of the game to top unbeaten Wellborn 27-21 to win the Class 3A, Region 5 championship.
The final drive started on the Piedmont 40 with 58 seconds left on the clock. Jack Hayes hit Austin Estes on a 17-yard pass down the Piedmont sideline. Estes got out of bounds stopping the clock. On the next play, Hayes scampered off the right side, tip-toeing down the sideline on a 32-yard run that ended at the Wellborn 11.
After the game, Hayes said, “I was just surprised that nobody hit me, so I just kept running. I guess everybody else thought I ran out of bounds, too, because they all stopped.”
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