The Battle of the Paladins didn’t go the way Pinecrest Academy wanted, as they fell to Fellowship Christian, 41-0, on Friday at home in a Region 6-1A, Div. B game.
“I think we didn’t play hard, and I don’t understand why,” Pinecrest head coach Terance Mathis said. “Three weeks ago, I thought we were at that point where we were peaking and getting better, and then the last two or three games we just kind of hit a wall.”
Pinecrest (0-7, 0-5) got a turnover on the second play of the game when Tripp Hochman scooped up a fumble and returned it down to the 18-yard line. The Paladins were unable to get anything out of the turnover after going backwards and then punting it away. That proved to be a sign of things to come.
On the ensuing drive for Fellowship Christian (4-3, 2-3), Lawson Haigler busted a 71-yard touchdown run to the house for the first points of the game. Haigler gashed the Pinecrest defense for 209 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
Fellowship Christian outgained Pinecrest 405-66 in the game, and Pinecrest managed just 14 yards on the ground. That was thanks in large part to Fellowship’s Billy McCurry. McCurry practically lived in Pinecrest’s backfield on Friday night. Fellowship sacked Micky Mangan five times, and McCurry was responsible for four of those.
“I think (McCurry) watched film and knew that we couldn’t block on either side of the line,” Mathis said. “We had to make an adjustment, and we got better in the second quarter. I think he made one or two plays after that, but it’s a game of adjustments. At some point someone has to step up and say, 'No more.'”
Fellowship took a 28-0 lead into the half, and came out in the second half with more of the same. From the end of the first quarter to midway through the third, Fellowship put together five consecutive touchdown drives.
Pinecrest, on the other hand, had 12 drives on the night. Seven of those drives went three-and-out, while two ended in interceptions, and one was a turnover on downs.
“The simple stuff we've got fix,” Pinecrest’s Brooks Binkley said. “We've got to work on our o-line, we've got to work on some defense, we've got to work on tackling. It’s very fixable stuff, and we’ll work on that next week.”
With this loss, Pinecrest is still without a win in the 2017 season, and next week they’ll travel to Whitefield Academy (4-4, 3-2).
“You know what, I’m not even worried about that now,” Mathis said. “I’m worried about getting them playing at a high level. Do I care about wins and losses? I do. But right now, I gotta get these kids back to playing at a high level. And if we play at a high level, then we’ll have a chance to win.”