By Glen Miller/Sports Editor
PIEDMONT – On a night in which its offense could manage only two scores, El Reno High School's “Blue Crush” defense carried the Indians into the win column.
El Reno moved to 2-0 on the season for the first time under head coach Chuck Atchison following a 13-7 win over Piedmont. The Indians have now won three straight in the series with the Wildcats.
“It was all about heart there toward the end of the fourth quarter. We had practiced on that all week long and we had to trust our keys and trust our players and I knew we could hold them.
“Defense always bails out the offense. Defense wins championship,” said lineman Layton Hockersmith.
Leading by six with 2:41 to play and Piedmont with the ball, EHS' Mikey Devereaux and Evan Johnson sacked Wildcats' quarterback Dylan Hampton for a 5-yard loss back to the PHS 5-yard line.
El Reno let the Wildcats escape with a 24-yard pass on fourth-and-19, followed with plays of 7 and 27 yards to move Piedmont down to the El Reno 39-yard line.
However, the potential game-winning drive by the Wildcats ended when Rafe Goucher sacked Hampton for an 8-yard loss with less than 20 seconds to play. Piedmont, with no time outs, tried to spike the ball to save clock but was flagged for a false start and was unable to run another play.
The two first downs by Piedmont on the final drive were among the five allowed by the El Reno defense in the second half. The Indians came up with three fumble recoveries in the final 24 minutes, the most crucial coming in the third period.
El Reno's offense faced a third-and-one from its own 26-yard line when quarterback Dorian Plumley and Kord LaFoe fumbled an exchange which was recovered by the Wildcats at the Indians 24-yard line.
Piedmont moved the ball to the El Reno 16-yard line but on third down coughed up the football which was recovered by EHS' Kolton Hunt and Hockersmith.
The Indians offense was forced into a three and out from its own 19-yard line, but the Wildcats fumbled Plumley's 36-yard punt which was recovered by El Reno's Chris Clements.
Plumley and crew did not waste this opportunity, putting together a 45-yard, five-play scoring drive. LaFoe had runs of 2, 6 and 23 yards which set up Plumley's 8-yard touchdown run with 2:54 left in the third period.
Piedmont had the ball three more times in the game but did not cross midfield until the final drive.
El Reno's defense logged four sacks on Hampton as Piedmont's flexbone offense manged 153 yards of total offense, which included 82 yards rushing on 35 attempts.
Piedmont threw for 71 yards including a 26-yard Hampton to Mason Tetter touchdown hook up in the second period to tie the score at 7-all at halftime.
El Reno ended the game with 231 yards of total offense, rushing 45 times for 151 yards. Plumley picked up 102 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries, while LaFoe had 38 yards on eight attempts. Devereaux added 12 yards on three carries and Tyler Vargas lost a yard on his lone carry.
Plumley was 7-of-16 passing for 80 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The junior completed a 89-yard, 13-play drive when he rolled away from the Piedmont rush and found Hunt over the middle for a 25-yard touchdown pass to the leaping tight end.