A controversial fourth down call and a turnover helped Athens Christian defeat Pinecrest Academy 31-14 on Friday night in Athens.
The Paladins (4-3, 2-2 Region 8-A) trailed 17-7 at halftime, but quarterback Jimmy Strom ran the ball in for his second touchdown of the night to trim the lead to 17-14 in the third quarter.
A turnover near the 50-yard line gave the ball back to the Eagles, where they capitalized on the field position and scored to boost the lead to 24-14.
"The field position battle hurt us," Pinecrest head coach Todd Winter said. "We didn’t do as well. They had a short field to work with."
With the Paladins down by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter near the 30-yard line, they decided to go for it on fourth-and-1, but the run fell short of the marker.
"They had already moved the chains like it was a first down before they went back and measured; it was unfortunate for us," Winter said.
The Paladins executed an all-out blitz on defense following the controversial fourth down measurement, but it didn’t work as Athens Christian reached the end zone to make the score 31-14.
Pinecrest almost scored in the fourth quarter, but time expired with the Paladins on the Eagles’ 2-yard line.
"If we had a couple more stops it could have been different," Winter said.
Pinecrest, which is currently tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in Region 8, will host No. 4-ranked Prince Avenue Christian on Friday.