By Kurt Main
For the Forsyth County News
On a night where there was plenty of rain but no lightning, the Pinecrest Paladins beat the Lanier Christian Lightning 42-0.
It was the first home game in three weeks for the Paladins, but even more importantly, it was the first night their student body were allowed to watch the game from the stands. It was obvious from the very first series, that the players were pumped to have the student section out in full force.
The Paladins took the opening kickoff and drove to the 11-yard line, where Breckin Barbee passed to Timothy Conklin for the Paladins' first touchdown.
The pass to Brock Barbee in the end zone for the two-point conversion gave Pinecrest an 8-0 lead.
On the Lightning’s first possession, the Paladins forced a fumble at midfield. Pinecrest promptly moved the ball downfield again to the 11-yard line, where Ryan Bartling took the pitch and blew by the Lightning defenders for the Paladins second touchdown, making it 14-0.
Lanier got the ball back and was driving until the Paladins were able to stop them on fourth down and took over at the 49-yard line.
After some great running by Bryce Balthaser and Bartling took the ball down to the 9-yard line, Brock Barbee broke through numerous tackles on his way to another Paladin score.
Oscar Lynch caught the two-point conversion for a 22-0 Paladin lead.
Starting the 2nd quarter, the totally dominant Pinecrest defense again held the Lightning on fourth down, giving the offense another opportunity.
It would not take long.
Balthaser took the next handoff and torched the Lightning defense for a 20-yard run. Shortly after, Bartling took it around the left side for a 14-yard touchdown.
The conversion failed, leaving the score 28-0.
Shortly before halftime, after once again forcing the Lightning to punt, Balthaser took the ball on an 18-yard scamper, and then a great pass from Bartling to Brock Barbee brought the halftime score to 34-0.
The second half was just as drenched as the first half, as Lanier fumbled the second-half kickoff and Barbee recovered at the 26-yard line.
Balthaser once again blasted around the perimeter of the Lightning’s defense for a 21-yard run down to the 4-yard line. He took the ball from there and proceeded to waltz into the end zone for a 40-0 score.
Bartling carried the ball in on the two-point conversion.
The Lightning dominated almost the entire remaining time in the third quarter on some tough running by Carter Raulerson, Isaac Dinn and Zeke Clanton, but the Paladins' hard-hitting defense closed the door on the Lightning once and for all, taking over on downs and giving Pinecrest the 42-0 victory.
After the game, Pinecrest head coach Shawn Coury commented that “this was a great week of practice, and everything we worked on came together at the same time. It was great to be home and it was great to have all the fans – especially the students – at the game.”