Layton Duke

Piedmont junior Layton Duke had the best game of his career in Week 4, rushing for 195 yards and his first career touchdown. Duke also contributed five tackles on defense and returned two kickoffs for 42 yards.

UNIONVILLE — Piedmont High’s football team is on a two-game winning streak for the first time since 2018.

In the Panthers’ 34-28 win at Fort Mill (S.C.) in Week 4, the offensive line paved the way for 379 rushing yards — with a team average of 7.4 yards per carry — and four touchdowns.

Piedmont has averaged 36.5 points per game during the current win streak. In a 39-8 home win over Anson in Week 3, the Panthers rushed for 368 yards and five touchdowns with an average of 7.5 yards per carry.

Duke had a day

Layton Duke, who plays running back and safety, had the best night of his career for Piedmont last Friday. The 6-foot, 185-pound junior carried the ball 26 times for 195 yards and his first varsity touchdown against Fort Mill. He also had five tackles on defense and returned two kickoffs for 42 yards.

In three games this season (he missed the Anson game), Duke has averaged 113.7 rushing yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry. He had a 47-yard run in a Week 2 loss to Monroe, and a 36-yard run against Fort Mill.

Sawyer’s been superb

Senior Evan Sawyer has also contributed in all three phases of the game for Piedmont this season. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Sawyer, who like Duke plays safety and running back, rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown on seven carries (8.7 yards per attempt) against Fort Mill and also caught two passes for 51 yards and a TD. On defense, Sawyer had seven tackles, two pass breakups an a QB hurry, and his special teams contribution included going 2-for-3 on extra points.

A week earlier, Sawyer rushed 22 times for 173 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and a touchdown, caught two passes for 21 yards, made four solo tackles and broke up three passes.

Four games into his senior season as a co-captain, Sawyer has rushed for 230 yards (7.7 ypc) and caught seven passes for a team-high 126 yards while averaging a team-best 6.8 tackles per game and leading the team in pass deflections (six). He also has the Panthers’ only interception this season.

2 sterling defenders

Senior Gunnar Diedrick is also a co-captain. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Diedrick plays center and defensive line, and he had a team-high eight tackles with 1.5 quarterback sacks against Fort Mill. Diedrick has also kicked off for the Panthers three times this season.

Senior Bryson Williams, a 6-foot, 190-pound defensive end, has a team-high three sacks for the Panthers this season. Williams had six tackles, including four behind the line of scrimmage, against Anson. Williams also helps out as a running back and rushed for a touchdown against Anson; he averaged 10.8 yards per carry on four rushes against the Bearcats.

Fesmire stands out

Junior quarterback Chase Fesmire has a big frame at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, and he’s proven to be a dual threat this season. In the win over Fort Mill, Fesmire rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries (6.7 ypc) and completed 8-of-13 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown without an interception.

Fesmire has rushed for four touchdowns in the past two weeks; in the win at Anson, he carried 15 times for 84 yards and two scores.

In four games this season, Fesmire has thrown for 358 yards and rushed for 203 yards.

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