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Football: Pinecrest explodes for 55 points in blowout win
Joey Kiernan
Pinecrest Academy senior Joey Kiernan celebrates after a King's Ridge turnover Friday during the Paladins' 55-0 win. - photo by David Roberts

Joey Kiernan has been waiting all year for a game like this. So have Terance Mathis and the rest of the Paladins.

They got one on Friday.

Pinecrest obliterated King's Ridge 55-0, scoring on four of its first five offensive plays, while the defense held Tigers to fewer than 100 total yards all game.

"You know what, it may sound cocky, but I'm not surprised," Mathis said. "They way we've played the past two and a half games, I'm not surprised that it all comes together. It was a build up to this."

Senior Ethan Massey picked off King's Ridge quarterback Braxton Chadwick on the first play of the game, then junior Bryce Balthaser found senior Sawyer Huffstetler with a 35-yard touchdown strike on Pinecrest's first offensive play.

Kiernan recovered a fumble on King's Ridge's next drive, which led to a 23-yard hookup between Balthaser and Massey. 

Massey finished with four receptions for 240 yards and four touchdowns in the win. 

"He did it against St. Francis, he did it against Mount Pisgah, he did it against Mount de Sales, he did it against everybody — he did it against Fellowship," Mathis said of Massey. "To me, honestly, everyone can talk about Ze'Vian (Capers) over at Denmark. Yeah, he plays against better talent, but it ain't about the talent you're playing against. You still have to get the job done. By far, he's the best receiver in the county."

Balthaser had a 45-yard touchdown sprint, and junior Tony Novo followed with a 3-yard plunge to make it 27-0 with 3:52 left in the first quarter.

Balthaser finished 7-of-8 passing for 294 yards and five touchdowns, adding two carries for 80 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"We have gotten better every single week," Balthaser said. "We work hard every practice, we take no days off and we're hungry for wins. We don't win much here, and we won." 

Pinecrest (1-7) did not gain a single first down until the second half, scoring seven times on 12 plays.

The Paladins had four one-play drives end with a touchdown in the first half.

"We know that we can do that," Kiernan said. "When Bryce is on, when Massey is on, it's awesome. Our offensive line played amazing tonight, our defensive line played great."

On defense, Kiernan forced and recovered a fumble, and Colin Brown had an interception of his own. 

Massey also had a blocked punt on special teams.

"The great thing is, we know that we can do this," Kiernan said. "Our offense is there, and our defense came together tonight. Everyone hit, everyone flew to the ball. Not a lot of missed tackles and everyone was communicating. It was amazing. It felt great to finally put together what we knew that we have."

Pinecrest's lone score in the second half was a 65-yard bomb from Balthaser to Massey early in the third quarter.

The Paladins averaged nearly 10 yards per carry despite playing without starting center Peter Haynes.

"Understand that if you start the season 0-4, 0-5, it's easy to separate and start pointing fingers," Mathis said. "But they've stayed together. They wanted to see this; this is what they wanted to see. They wanted a win, and they got one. Like I told them at the end, this is for them. It ain't for nobody else. This win is about you guys."