- Local News
--By Patrick Bailer on --
After years of trying to return to the elite, dominating play Pinecrest Academy was used to in the Georgia Independent Schools Association, the Paladins are back and finally look like a great GHSA team. After a disappointing 45-7 loss to Kings Ridge Christian School two weeks ago at home, Paladins head coach Todd Winter took advantage of the extra week to practice and strategize to beat Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. He did just that Saturday afternoon at Mount Vernon when the Pinecrest Paladins beat the Mount Vernon Mustangs 56-27.
The game started off with each team exchanging punts early in the first quarter. The Mustangs (1-2) , then had quarterback Elijah Burnette run for a 68-yard touchdown. The Paladins (1-1) responded with senior running back John Paul Metz blazing into Mustang territory on a 40 yard run. A 30 yard bobbled catch by senior receiver Zach Guard then set up senior quarterback Jimmy Strom for a short Touchdown run to tie the game 7-7. On the next Mustang possession, Burnette threw an interception to Jimmy Strom. Pinecrest was able to capitalize off the interception with another goal line TD run from Jimmy Strom to make the score 14-7.
Mount Vernon began to bounce back from the unanswered 14 points with a touchdown pass by Burnette to receiver Evan Tucker. They could not tie the score after a botched extra point to make the score 14-13. Pinecrest responded to the score with JP Metz churning through for a 67-yard touchdown run, coming off an excellent open field block by sophomore receiver Jonathan Moreno. Mount Vernon was then shutdown on the next drive, with multiple tackles for loss by freshman linebacker Matthew Walters. The Paladins capitalized yet again on their exceptional defense with another JP Metz run for yet another Paladin touchdown to make the score 28-13. The defense continued to hold its own against the Mustangs, this time with a monster sack from senior defensive tackle Ryan Brooks. The Paladins were able to score again before the half ended, with a bunch of Strom runs to set up a 15 yard score from Strom to Zach Guard to make the score 35-13 at the half.
The Paladins did not let up for Mount Vernon in the third quarter. The half began with a 65 yard run by Jimmy Strom to the Mustang’s 3-yard line. Strom then ran it in for another touchdown on 4th and goal to make the score 42-13. The Paladin defense continued to lay out big hits, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from Pinecrest after another Ryan Brooks sack led to a Mustang touchdown by Burnette. After failing the two-point conversion, the Paladins were up 42-19. Pinecrest responded with another 60-plus yard run by Jimmy Strom, but this time for a touchdown. An array of penalties from both Mount Vernon and Pinecrest on the Mustangs’ next possession eventually led to Zach Guard and senior Thomas Ross to tackle the Mustang’s punter after a botched punt snap. Pinecrest took advantage with a 28 yard run by freshman running back Mitchell Ojeda to set up another Strom goal line run. After junior kicker Chris Birozes’ eighth extra point, the Paladins were up 56-19.
Pinecrest second stringers got to see most of the field during the fourth quarter and were able to hold their own defensively. The Mustangs did score however on the second team with a goal line run from Elijah Burnette. The Mustangs were able to get a two-point conversion to make the score 56-27, but it was much to late to affect the outcome of the game.
Pinecrest returns home on Friday to play the 2-0 Lakeview Academy Lions. This dominating Paladin victory shows that there are many more good things to come this season for the Pinecrest Academy.