DACULA — It was Jimmy Strom’s night to shine, as the senior quarterback led Pinecrest Academy to a 35-0 win over Hebron Christian Academy on Friday at the Lions’ field.
Strom finished the first quarter with 110 rushing yards (8.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
"We worked extremely hard and we’ve been very prepared." Pinecrest head coach Todd Winters said. "We played hard and tough football tonight, and the kids responded to the coaching, so we are very happy right now."
Pinecrest (3-1, 2-0 in Region 8-A) wasted no time scoring after the Paladins’ defense forced Hebron to go three and out on its first possession.
Strom ran 37 yards for a touchdown that put Pinecrest up 7-0 with 10:37 remaining in the first quarter after the extra point by Christopher Birozes.
With 7:20 reminding in the first quarter, Hebron (1-3, 0-2) was unable to move the football again thanks in part to a tenacious Paladins defense that forced the Lions in a punting situation. On Pinecrest’s second offensive possession, Strom took it again on an option keeper and went 65 yards for his second touchdown With Birozes’ kick, the Paladins increased their lead to 14-0.
Still in the first quarter, the Paladins’ defense forced a Hebron fumble at the Lions’ 2. Strom then called his own number and scored on a quarterback sneak. Birozes kicked his third extra point, increasing the Paladins’ lead to 21-0 with 4:31 remaining.
"A lot of credit goes to Pinecrest," Hebron coach Sal Battaglia said. "What they do, they do very well. We missed some assignments tonight and against that offense, if you don’t play assignment football, that’s what is going to happen."
Later in the second quarter, with 1:23 remaining, Hebron couldn’t convert on fourth down on its own 25-yard line. Pinecrest took the opportunity, as Strom handed off to freshman fullback Matthew Walters, who rumbled 25 yards for the Paladins’ only touchdown in the second quarter.
Pinecrest picked up where it left off in the second half, forcing the Lions to go three and out again on its first possession. Lions’ quarterback Conner Holliday was sacked by Paladins defensive lineman Ryan Brooks on a key third down, forcing the Lions to punt the ball away.
This time the Paladins began their march from the Lions’ 46-yard line. Strom led the Paladins offense on a nine-play drive, capping it off with a six-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper for his fourth touchdown of the night.
"Our offensive line did a great job tonight," Strom said.
"We made the right reads and we didn’t fumble the ball at all. Overall, our team played good."