Piedmont's win 'boosted our confidence'
Piedmont High's football team opened the season in impressive fashion last weekend.
The Panthers went on the road and handled Hickory Ridge, 37-20, on Saturday, avenging an overtime loss to the Ragin' Bulls in last year's opener.
Hickory Ridge finished 11-2 and won the South Piedmont Conference in 2012, while the Panthers went 5-7.
"The win definitely boosted our confidence," said junior quarterback Cameron Tripp. "But we can't be satisfied. We still have a long season ahead of us."
Tripp, who didn't start last year but played a lot, rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another in Saturday's victory.
The 6-foot-7, 200-pounder completed 10-of-19 passes for 211 yards and also added 63 rushing yards.
"I've grown into being a runner," said Tripp. "I have to do what the scheme and play call tells me to do. I have to go out there and read the play, and if it's not there I take what I can. I just try to be smart about it."
Tripp completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to junior Mitchell Woody on the Panthers' opening drive of the game.
Senior tailback Matt Fisher added a 24-yard touchdown run for the Panthers, who also got an interception return for a score from senior Colton Greene and a field goal from junior kicker Taylor Baucom.
"Coach (Ron) Massey had us very well-prepared," said Tripp. "We just try to get the ball in the right people's hands and let them make plays, and we trust the guys up front. They did a great job for us."
Now Tripp and the Panthers turn their attention to Friday's home opener against archrival Porter Ridge, which has played for the 4A state championship each of the last two years.
The Pirates are coming off a heartbreaking 26-24 loss to Mount Tabor in their season-opener last Friday under first-year coach Greg Neuendorf.
Piedmont hasn't defeated Porter Ridge since 2008, and the Pirates have dominated the last three meetings by a combined score of 163-37.
Tripp, and many of his teammates, attended Porter Ridge's opener after Piedmont's game was postponed last Friday.
"It's a big week for us," said Tripp. "Porter Ridge is a very good team and we know that, so we have to have a great week of preparation."