- Local News
--By Patrick Bailer on --
The Pinecrest Paladins continued their winning streak on Friday with a demanding 35-0 shutout against the Hebron Christian Academy Lions. The Paladins came into the game with both confidence and swagger after their first region win last week against the Lakeview Academy Lions. Coming off last week’s win, Pinecrest was able to control the game against Hebron very quickly.
Hebron Christian (1-3, 0-2), trying to bounce back from their 23-0 loss against St. Francis, began with the ball. Their offense could not get anything going early, forcing them to punt. The Paladins (3-1, 2-0) then began their command on their first offensive play, a 37-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Jimmy Strom. After Chris Birozes’ extra-point, the score was 7-0. Hebron was again unable to do anything on offense in their next series, forcing them again to punt. The Paladins responded to the Lions offensive inability with another Strom touchdown run, this one for 66 yards. After another Birozes extra-point, the score was 14-0. Hebron then started their next drive at their 20 after a booming kick by Birozes to cause a touchback. The Paladin defense again took advantage of Hebron’s weak offense with senior defensive end Thomas Ross sacking Lions’ quarterback Conner Holliday and forcing a fumble. The fumble was recovered by senior linebacker John Paul Metz at the Lions’ 21, eventually setting up a 2-yard run from Strom for a touchdown. After Birozes’ third extra-point, the score was 21-0. The Paladins three-touchdown lead completely changed the atmosphere of the game. “We came out firing in the first quarter and that silenced the home crowd, putting the game away early” said Thomas Ross.
The Paladins continued to dominate in the second quarter, with some room to relax due to their lead. The Lions were able to get a drive going into the red zone, but were unsuccessful after the Pinecrest defense forced a turnover on downs. The Paladins next drive featured Strom throwing deep with a 30-yard pass to senior Patrick Wilborn and a 35-yard pass to senior Zach Guard. Pinecrest was unable to score on the drive after Birozes missed a 32-yard field goal. Hebron tried to reply with a score, put their desperate attempt was unsuccessful after a failed fake punt caused another turnover on downs. The failed fake put the Paladins on the Lions’ 25, and Pinecrest immediately took advantage with a 25-yard touchdown run from freshman fullback Matthew Walters. After another extra-point from Birozes, the score was 28-0.
The Paladins continued to dictate the game going into the second half. The Lions, still clawing to put points up on the board, were unsuccessful after a Ryan Brooks sack forced another three and out for Hebron. Pinecrest replied with a long 54-yard drive, full of short, time consuming runs. The drive ended with a big push by the Paladin offensive line to let Strom in the end zone a fourth time for a 6-yard touchdown run. After Birozes’ last extra-point, the score was 35-0.
The Paladins large lead allowed for them to simply run down the clock in the fourth quarter. Clock-eating runs from Strom and senior fullback Jacob Jennings eventually led them into scoring position, setting up a 36-yard field goal for Birozes. The field goal attempt however was no good, barely missing the upright. Strom left the game with 148 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns and 88 passing yards, letting sophomore QB Greg Metz close the game. The second string ran down the clock to make the final score 35-0.
The Paladins decisive win now puts them at the top of the Region 8-A standings. Pinecrest plays 2-4 Hapeville Charter School this Friday, Oct. 5.