NORCROSS – Pinecrest Academy fell to Wesleyan 45-8 in Norcross on Friday night, ending its season in the second round of the Class A-Private playoffs.
“We just didn’t execute, Pinecrest head coach Todd Winter said. “I felt like we had a good game plan. I thought they might be a little rusty, but man they weren’t. They were hitting on all cylinders on offense. They had some good matchups and that quarterback is a good thrower. This is the first team I can recall that’s had success really throwing the ball against us and they did a nice job of that.”
After having a bye week in the first round of the playoffs, Wesleyan (9-2) had everything working on offense. After racking up 326 yards of total offense in the first half, the Wolves added another 196 in the second half.
The Paladins (8-4) just couldn’t find an answer for the Wolves’ talented junior quarterback Banks Ramsey. Ramsey finished the game going 17-for-21 for 190 passing yards and three touchdowns while also adding 126 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
Pinecrest struggled to get anything going on offense in the first half. They tallied 73 yards on the ground and zero through the air. Each of the Paladins four first half drives ended in punts.
“I just don’t think we were executing very well,” Pinecrest quarterback Ryan McCarthy said.” And I’ll take part of the blame on that.”
The most promising drive came after they fell down 14-0 late in the first. The Paladins converted two fourth and shorts on the drive. The first one was on its own 30-yard line, and the second came at its own 44. But after a procedure penalty backed them up, they were forced to punt once again.
In the second half the Pinecrest had more success moving the ball. The Paladins had three different drives that lasted for 10 or more plays, but in the end only managed one touchdown.
Ryan McCarthy scored the team’s lone touchdown with 2:31 remaining in the game when he was able to punch it from two yards out. McCarthy finished the game with 37 rushing yards and 33 passing yards.
“We played really, really hard out there,” McCarthy said. “Just give a shoutout to my line, every single person on my line, my a-backs, my fullback, I mean everyone just gave it their all, we just didn’t come out on top.”
Brooks Binkley led Pinecrest in rushing with 79 yards on 16 carries, while Hunter Hawk carried 11 times for 42 yards.
While Winter was disappointed with the final score, he’s still proud of what this team and this senior class has accomplished.
“There’s nothing for these kids to hang their hats about,” Winter said. “We took a program that was at six wins and 12 losses, to 35 wins and only 19 losses, three straight playoff appearances, we’ve advanced the last two years, quarterfinals last year, region champions. That’s a heck of an accomplishment when you think about where this program was at you think about us being one of the smaller schools in the state.”