Last season Pinecrest Academy got revenge over Mount Paran Christian with a region title game win that made up for a home loss earlier in the schedule. Mount Paran returned the favor on Friday night.
The Eagles rode a second-half outburst, headlined with big runs from running back Chandler Webber, and scored four un-answered touchdowns to knock off Pinecrest 28-3 between the pines.
Webber carried nine times for 128 yards, with 127 coming after halftime, and scored two of the Eagles’ four rushing touchdowns. It was the junior running back’s first game of eligibility with Mount Paran (4-1, 2-1 Region 6-A, Div. B) since transferring from North Cobb High School.
Pinecrest head coach Todd Winter said he was surprised by Webber’s second half performance, as the 5-foot-7 running back showcased great speed to open up the offense.
“I have not seen him all season, so I need to find out who he is,” Winter said. “It would have been nice to have seen him earlier on film. He was really explosive.”
Early on it looked like the Paladins (3-2, 2-1) might control the clock and win a low-scoring contest. The Eagles struggled to get first downs in the first half and appeared disorganized on offense, using three separate quarterbacks in arbitrary moments.
Pinecrest also struggled with moving the ball in the first half, but managed to get on the board first with a 31-yard field goal from Stuart Jeans midway through the first quarter.
Mount Paran, with Jared Knox taking snaps, marched down field late in the second quarter, then switched to Niko Vangarelli, who threw an interception to Corey Downes with seconds to go.
Jack Allen got the Eagles’ first big run of the second half, scampering 59 yards for a touchdown on the team’s first possession. Webber then added a 30-yard run to set up his own 10-yard score, then went 62 yards on his next touch to give Mount Paran three scores in 8 minutes and a 21-3 lead.
Knox scored the game’s final points with a 20-yard run with 7:16 to go in the game. That score followed a fake-punt where Jackson Mclarty threw to Davis Stephens for a first down at Pinecrest’s 40-yard line.
Pinecrest couldn’t punch back. The Paladins had 15 of their 31 run plays go for a yard or less, finishing with just 49 yards on the ground. Ryan McCarthy rushed 14 times for 20 yards to lead the team, while no other running back eclipsed 10 yards. McCarthy was also 5 of 13 through the air with 49 yards—22 coming on an impressive sideline catch from Carson Holler on a third-and-long.
Pinecrest ended up getting outgained 279-98.
“I think offensively we had some opportunities in the first half, they were giving us some looks we have not seen and we need to get back and evaluate,” Winter said. “I felt like they played extremely hard in the second half and I’m not sure we rose up to that in the second half. We played extremely hard in the first half but I’m not sure we played the whole game.
Allen finished with 84 yards on eight carries, while Knox had 64 on 12 and quarterback Kyle Terry had 56 on 6.
With the loss the Paladins fell into a tie for second with the Eagles in the region standings, while Fellowship improved to 5-0 on Friday and leads the region with a 3-0 record.