By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
LAWRENCEVILLE – There are three things that Pinecrest Academy coach Terance Mathis said teams cannot do if they want to win football games: turn the ball over, have unnecessary penalties and lose their composure.
The Paladins could not overcome those three things with six turnovers and 10 penalties for 85 yards in Friday night’s 24-0 loss to Discovery.
“That’s what beats you,” Mathis said. “You turn the ball over when you have opportunities to make plays and you miss them.”
Pinecrest (0-2) had trouble sustaining drives because of miscues. The Paladin’s best chance to score came on its opening possession of the third quarter. A fumble inside the Titan 5-yard line after a 10-play, 26-yard drive, on all rushing attempts and two Discovery penalties turned the ball over.
“We felt like we could run the ball on them,” Mathis said. “And when they gave us opportunities to take a shot (downfield) we did and we got a few pass interference calls and it put in a position to score.”
Discovery (1-1) took advantage three plays later as quarterback Alexander Drazic completed an 86-yard pass to Khiree Seabrook down the far sideline to take a 10-0 lead over Pinecrest.
“That was a big play,” Discovery coach Efrem Hill said. “We hurt ourselves in the first half with turnovers and penalties because we weren’t doing the little things.”
“I felt like we did that in the second half a little bit better.”
Just before the end of the first half, Drazic completed a 25-yard pass to Jason Mitchell inside Pinecrest territory. A roughing the passer penalty put Discovery at the 10-yard line. A few plays later, Drazic booted a 26-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead going in to halftime.
“It’s disheartening because that’s the composure I’m talking about,” Mathis said. “The opportunity where you have a chance to make a play and you do things that (are) detrimental. … At the end of the day, I’m going to stick with my guys. I trust them. This is their growing up period.’
Discovery rushed for 165 yards in the second half and used big plays to keep Pinecrest on the defensive. Shamenski Rucker had a touchdown run of 20 yards and Kai Felder added an 11-yard scamper of his own. Both scores took place in the fourth quarter.
After falling behind by two scores, Mathis had to turn quarterback Micky Mangan loose. Mangan finished 9-for-26 for 127 yards and five interceptions, three in the final 24 minutes.
“Once we got behind, we had to throw the ball,” Mathis said. “But the turnovers stopped all of our momentum. And I tell people there is not an offensive coordinator in American football that has a call sheet for playing from behind.”
Discovery’s Jack Oesterle stepped in front of three Mangan passes. Hill was proud of his senior on the defense.
“That’s what Jack does,” Hill said. “He flies around and makes plays when sometimes there’s no play there. We missed him a little bit last week (in a loss at Cedar Shoals) and we were happy to get him back this week.”
Pinecrest and Mathis will take the bye week to correct their mistakes before return home on Sept. 15 when they host Walker.
“Out of the 33 guys we have, only four have played significant varsity snaps,” Mathis said. “I think we’ve gotten better each week since our scrimmages, and I felt like the game was closer than score indicated.”