BIRMINGHAM – Crazy things tend to happen at the AHSAA Super 7.
Piedmont completed a 23-point second half comeback to win the Class 3A championship, 35-21 over Montgomery Academy, Thursday afternoon at Protective Stadium.
The Bulldogs outscored Montgomery Academy 29-4 in the second half after trailing 29-6 at halftime, led by a heroic performance from player of the game Jack Hayes and the defense.
Montgomery Academy stopped Piedmont's offense twice in the second half, and Piedmont chose to take safeties both times, attempting to make Montgomery Academy drive further to score.
It paid off.
Montgomery Academy put together its first good drive of the second half late in the fourth quarter, but Ruston Bassett fumbled at the Piedmont 14-yard line.
Montgomery Academy couldn't do wrong early, and Piedmont rarely executed. In the first quarter, Jamal Cooper had a 62-yard touchdown rushing and, plays later, Chance Wilson blocked and recovered a punt. Cooper then threw a wide-open 28-yard touchdown to Will Hardin.
Piedmont had three 25-plus-yard, first-half touchdowns as Wilson had a 67-yard interception return.
Piedmont's second half was near flawless.
The Bulldogs decided to get cornerback Omarion Foster involved on offense in the second half, where he caught a crucial 31-yard touchdown pass. Piedmont took its first lead when Hayes connected with Austin Estes for a 25-yard touchdown with fewer than six minutes left.
Hayes passed 8 of 17 for 123 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 36 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Estes caught two touchdowns for 53 yards.
Judson Lindsey had 13 tackles and a sack for Montgomery Academy. Cooper finished with 66 yards rushing and 106 passing.
Contact Jerell Rushin at 205-600-4015 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JerellRushin_.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: AHSAA Super 7: Piedmont comes back big, beats Montgomery Academy 35-33