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Football: Paladins snag All-Region 8-A honors
Strom picked after record-breaking season
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Pinecrest Academy quarterback Jimmy Strom is tackled during the Paladins game against Mt. Vernon Presbyterian on Sept. 15 in Atlanta. Strom set school records for most rushing touchdowns in a game (five) and most rushing yards in a game (201) against the Mustangs. - photo by File photo

Region 8-A coaches selected 71 players to the all-region football team, including seven Pinecrest Academy athletes.

The Paladins went 3-3 in region play and finished the 2012 season 5-4 overall under first-year head coach Todd Winter, becoming the first Pinecrest Academy team to finish with a winning record in any sport since the school joined the Georgia High School Association in 2009.

Prince Avenue Christian senior Tyler Parrish was named All-Region 8-A Player of the Year, while Athens Academy senior Austin Schulte took the Offensive Player of the Year award and George Walton Academy senior Chad Howell was chosen Defensive Player of the Year. Athens Academy’s Michael Gunn was selected Coach of the Year.

Pinecrest senior quarterback Jimmy Strom was one of three signal callers named to the all-region squad. Strom set school records for most rushing yards in a game (201), most touchdowns in a game (five) and most touchdowns in a season in 2012 and became the first Pinecrest athlete to ever be named North Fulton Forsyth Touchdown Club Player of the Week.

He finished the season with 1,007 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns on 149 carries (6.8 yards per carry) and completed 24 of 73 passing attempts for 524 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions.

"He exceeded our expectations in his ability to execute the triple option [offense]," Winter said. "He was also a tremendous leader and a playmaker."

Strom was joined on the all-region team by two-way workhorse John Paul-Metz, who rushed for 677 Yards and four touchdowns on 128 attempts as a fullback, and recorded 57 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception on defense.

Despite being limited to six games due to an injury, Pinecrest wide receiver Zach Guard also earned a spot on the team. Guard finished the season with 10 catches for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

Paladins lineman Thomas Ross garnered all-region honors for the second consecutive season. Ross served as Pinecrest’s starting center on the offensive line and recorded 37 tackles, a team-leading seven sacks, two fumble recoveries and a blocked kick as a defensive end.

Pinecrest junior Chris Birozes was the lone punter named to the team, after averaging 35.5 yards per punt, pinning two punts inside the 20-yard line and four more inside the 10.

"He flipped the field constantly," Winter said. "He was able to help us win the field position battle this season."

Pinecrest senior Ryan Brooks and sophomore Jacob Hanley were named All-Academic players.