Pinecrest Academy extended its winning streak to four games on Friday, as the Paladins raced past Southern Christian (Ala.), 32-7.
Pinecrest's defense made quick work of the SCA offense after the initial kickoff, forcing a three-and-out.
Bryce Balthaser caught the SCA punt at the Paladin 44-yard line and turned on the jets. Balthaser worked his way through the SCA punt team, going 56 yards for the Paladin TD. QB Breckin Barbee ran it in for the two-point conversion to give the Paladins an 8-0 lead.
The Paladins' defense once again held strong, forcing another SCA punt. The Pinecrest drive came to an abrupt end when SCA came up with a rare Paladin interception.
The Paladins' third offensive series was an air raid on the SCA secondary. Breckin Barbee connected for 19 with slot receiver Ryan Bartling, followed by two strikes to wide receiver Oscar Lynch, a 23 yard shot, followed by a 25-yard completion. The Paladins set up on the 2-yard line, where Brock Barbee took it in for the score. Breckin Barbee then hit slot Balthaser for the two-point play, opening the lead to 16-0.
After the suffocating Paladin defense forced a third punt, the offense went back to work on their own 29 yard line. Two quick-hitting 10-yard runs by Breckin Barbee, then Brock Barbee, set the Paladins up at midfield. Breckin Barbee then hit Lynch streaking down the sideline for a gain of 41 yards. Breckin Barbee finished the drive with a 10-yard TD run. The Paladins hit the two-point play to increase the lead to 24-0.
The SCA Patriots put together a solid drive going into halftime, but the stout Paladin defense came up with a critical fourth-down stop backed up on their own 10-yard line to end the Patriots' hope.
The Paladins suffered another rare turnover on the second-half kickoff, setting the Patriots up with great field position. The Paladins' defense did not let up and forced the Patriots to punt on fourth-and-15.
Balthaser went to work on the punt return, taking the ball back 66 yards to the Patriot 14-yard line. Breckin Barbee hit wide receiver Colin Brown on a corner route for six points, and then Bartling caught the two-point pass to increase the Paladins' lead to 32-0.
The Patriots moved the ball across midfield, but got stuffed on fourth-and-3 as the Paladins attacked the Patriots' screen play and forced an incompletion.
The Paladins went to work from their own 38-yard line. Brock Barbee rumbled for 11 yards and a first down. Balthaser, now at QB, followed Barbee's run with a 24-yard option run of his own. Balthaser then immediately hit Lynch for nine yards, but was sacked on the next play. A 3-yard screen throw to wide receiver Luke Coury came up a yard short of the first down. The Paladins went for it on fourth down and fumbled the ball back to the Patriots.
The Patriots took over on their own 18-yard line and drove the ball to the Paladin 27. The Paladins held tough and forced the Patriots to go for it on fourth-and-10. The Paladins' front caused SCA wildcat QB Josiah Frick to retreat as he hurled a pass to the 6-yard line, where Brown tipped the ball, only to have it fall into Patriots wide receiver Jackson Washburn's hands as he crossed the goal line. The Patriots' extra point was good as they cut the lead to 32-7.
Brock Barbee returned the Patriots kickoff across midfield to the Patriots' 36-yard line. The Paladins were unable to move the chains as they turned the ball over on downs.
The Patriots immediately went to work as SCA QB Daniel Adams escaped the pocket and rambled for 38 yards down the sideline, finally being taken down by Paladin cornerback Timothy Conklin. The Paladins' defense came up big once again as defensive end Will Howell picked off Adams' screen and returned it 49 yards, setting the Paladins up on the Patriot 15-yard line.
Paladin QB Sean McCabe came in to lead the offense in their final drive of the night. McCabe hit Luke Coury for a quick yard strike, followed by a Brock Barbee 5-yard run to set the Paladins up with third-and-1 on the Patriots' 6-yard line. McCabe then fired a shot at wide receiver Pat Frain, but Patriot linebacker Josiah Frick got a finger tip on the ball, knocking it up in the air and running under his own tipped ball for the touchback interception.
On the final play of the game, Patriots' QB Daniel Adams hit slot receiver Levi Marchio for 50 yards, only to be brought down by Conklin as time expired.
The Paladins move to 4-1 on the year and will begin a four-game home stretch Oct. 9 against Lanier Christian.