Rowell's recovery, TD ice it in Piedmont's win
The Piedmont Panthers pulled out a defensive struggle against Central Academy, rallying from a halftime deficit for a 17-7 road win over Central Academy on Friday.
The Panthers' defense faced some bad situations early with the Cougars (3-3) starting in their territory on the first two possessions.
Central Academy couldn't capitalize on Quay Threatt's 64-yard kick return to the Panthers 30 to open the game but the defense forced a three-and-out and the punt was shanked.
The Cougars got the ball back at the Piedmont 14 and took three plays to score. Kristian Carthage hit Xavier Hamilton for a 4-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Piedmont starting quarterback Cameron Tripp went down on the Panthers' second possession and stayed out the remainder of the first half.
The Cougars couldn't capitalize on their defense's strong start. CATA gave up just two first downs in the first half, but Piedmont's defense was just as dominant.
Piedmont gave up just two first downs as well in the first 24 minutes.
The Panthers held Cougars leading rusher DeShawn Morrison to 8 yards on five carries.
The Panthers' defense put points on the board in the second half as they forced an intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety to make it 7-2 with 8:54 left in the third quarter.
Piedmont running back Aaron Braswell found the end zone from 3 yards out two plays into the fourth quarter. Tripp ran in the 2-point conversion to give Piedmont a 10-7 lead.
The Panthers' defense iced the game on CATA's following possession when Rhett Byrum sack-stripped Carthage at the Cougars' 11 and defensive tackle CJ Rowell picked up the fumble at the nine and crossed the goal line for the final.
The Panthers were led offensively by halfback Matt Fisher, who carried the ball eight times for 85 yards.