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Football: Pinecrest Academy bounces back with dominance over King's Ridge
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A second half offensive surge from Pinecrest proved to be enough Friday night as the Pinecrest won its second consecutive Holy War, defeating King’s Ridge, 34-6.

Pinecrest (4-2, 3-1 Region 6-1A, Div. B) dominated the entire first half leading by as much as two touchdowns before surrendering a late touchdown to King’s Ridge (2-4, 1-3) as the Paladins went into half leading 13-6.

With momentum in favor of King’s Ridge coming into the third quarter, Paladins quarterback Ryan McCarthy led the team down the field on a drive that took 4 minutes, 31 seconds and was capped off by a Michael Birozes 9-yard touchdown run to put Pinecrest up, 20-6.

“Second half the varsity did a tremendous job rolling down the field,” Pinecrest head coach Todd Winter said. “The game plan was to run the ball right at them. We wanted to leave no doubt we were the superior team tonight. I’m very proud of our offensive line.” 

On the ensuing drive, King’s Ridge failed to match the Paladins as quarterback Hayden Milling threw a game changing interception giving the Paladins excellent field position.

The Paladins capitalized on the turnover as McCarthy scrambled down to the Tiger’s one-yard line setting up Hunter Hawk for his second touchdown of the night putting the Paladins affirmatively in front 27-6.

King’s Ridge looked to stay in the game on its next drive, but the Paladins’ defense came up with a huge stop on third down forcing the Tigers to punt with 9:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.

After the Paladins forced the Tigers to punt, McCarthy led the offense down the field with a 44-yard pass to Birozes setting the Paladins up inside the King’s Ridge 20. On the very next play, McCarthy broke loose for a 19-yard run down to the Tiger’s 1 before running it in for the touchdown with 5:22 to play.

“We started clicking in the second half,” McCarthy said. “We really started executing the dive play that opened everything else. This was a big win, but we gotta look forward to next week.”

McCarthy finished the night with 179 total purpose yards completing 2 of 5 passes for 78 yards, and running for 101 yards with a touchdown. Four different players scored touchdowns for Pinecrest. Hunter Hawk finished the night with nine carries for 33 yards with two touchdowns. Jack Binkley finished the night with 16 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown.

With the win, the Paladins improved to 4-3 all-time against King’s Ridge since the teams began playing in 2010. Pinecrest will travel to Fellowship Christian next Friday with implications for the region championship.

“The most difficult game is next week: Fellowship,” Winter said. “They’re undefeated, and we gotta go to their place for us to win region. It’s a must win game.”