PIEDMONT -- The Highlanders' Gabriel Watson electrified the home crowd by returning consecutive kickoffs for touchdowns to open the game and then continued to impress by scoring four more touchdowns via break-away runs in the victory on Friday night in Piedmont.

Watson took the game's opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. After an Albany safety, the sophomore returned the Cougars' free kick 75 yards for his second touchdown. Piedmont led 16-0 with 11:09 left on the first quarter clock and Albany had yet to run an offensive play.

The next time Watson touched the ball, he zoomed 27 yards for another touchdown. Watson scored twice more before the half ended, hauling in a 33-yard pass from Spencer Kim and sprinting for a 68-yard touchdown run.

Piedmont (1-2) led 37-8 at the half, as Watson racked up five first half touchdowns.

Albany (0-3) scored on a second quarter three-yard run by Jack Johnson and a fourth quarter seven-yard run by Cyrus Wofford.

Watson finished his night with six touchdowns and 333 all-purpose yards (135 rushing yards).

Piedmont 44, Albany 16

Piedmont          23          14          7          0--          44

Albany          0          8          0          8--          16

P -- Watson 90 kickoff return (Strauch kick)

P -- Safety, Albany's Johnson downs kick-off with one foot in the end zone

P -- Watson 75 kickoff return (Strauch kick)

P -- Watson 27 run (Strauch kick)

A -- Johnson 3 run (Sternad pass to Root)

P -- Watson 33 pass from Kim (Strauch kick)

P -- Watson 68 run (Strauch kick)

P -- Watson 37 run (Strauch kick)

A -- Wofford 7 run (Sternad pass to Kim)

Rushing: P -- Watson 4-135, Kim 4-70, Gardner 6-40, Garrett 5-29, Tam 3-19, Gruendl 2-0. Totals: 24-293. A -- Johnson 19-56, Sternad 9-38, Wofford 6-35, Siriyard 4-20, Holter-Hamilton 1-9, Black 1-1. Totals: 40-159. Passing: P -- Kim 4-7-0 45, Gruendl 0-1-0 0. Totals: 4-8-0 45. A -- Sternad 8-15-0 124. Receiving: P -- Finkel 2-12, Watson 1-33, Gardner 1-0. Totals: 4-45. A -- Kim 4-79, Root 2-26, Johnson 1-12, Chadha 1-7. Totals: 8-124. Fumbles/lost: Piedmont -- 1/0, Albany -- 1/1. Records: Piedmont 1-2, Albany 0-3.