By Cole Rogers
For the Forsyth County News
The Pinecrest Paladins lost to the Mount Pisgah Patriots 28-21 in double overtime in heartbreaking fashion Friday night.
The Paladins, who seemingly can’t catch a break, haven’t won a game this season, and even when they played their best football Friday, it wasn’t enough.
The game was tied 14-14 going into the first overtime. Based on how the game was going, it didn’t feel like these teams were going to be able to put up many more points.
However, both teams came out playing hard and took advantage of their opportunities on offense. Pinecrest scored on the first play, and Mount Pisgah tied it again at 21-21 when they scored on fourth down.
The two touchdowns sent the crowd into a frenzy and sent the game into double overtime.
Mount Pisgah was on offense first and scored quickly, but Pinecrest’s opportunity to score in double overtime didn’t go as planned.
The final play of the game was Pinecrest’s quarterback Bryce Balthaser’s pass getting intercepted in the end zone, and Mount Pisgah walking off with a win.
“We played our hearts out. It was the best game we’ve played all year,” Pinecrest wide receiver Ethan Massey said. “Our record does not reflect how good we actually are.”
The Paladins truly did not play like an 0-5 team. Pinecrest wanted its first win badly and were playing hard to get it.
Mount Pisgah had the ball for nearly the entire third quarter and didn’t allow Pinecrest to capitalize on its few opportunities.
Bryce Balthaser went 8 for 13 for 117 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was also the Paladins leading rusher with 89 yards.
Oddly enough, Mount Pisgah’s quarterback Coleman Smith was also his team’s leading rusher, with 78 yards. He also passed for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and threw two interceptions.
Pinecrest’s offense was very balanced throughout the game. The Paladins didn’t rely solely on the run or the pass and kept the Mount Pisgah defense guessing.
“You could tell it really made a difference when we didn’t just lean on this pass or move towards the run,” Massey said. “It definitely created more of a smooth offense.”
Massey had a nice night, with three receptions for 64 yards. He also had an interception and a couple of tackles on defense.
Pinecrest’s defense, on the other hand, struggled more and more as the night went on. They weren’t able to contain Smith in the second half or in overtime, and just looked gassed by the end.
It’s difficult for teams to stay positive after a close loss, but maintaining focus is the key for Pinecrest.
Pinecrest (0-6) will travel to St. Francis (3-3) next week for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.