Brock Barbee has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Such was the case late in the second half Friday during Pinecrest Academy's 42-18 win over Calvary Christian, when he was at the center of two plays — one on defense and another on special teams.
First, as Calvary quarterback Luke Zevac retreated into the end zone and away from Pinecrest sophomore Chris Calupca, Zevac threw up a desperation heave that appeared destined for Barbee. But the ball went straight through Barbee's arms and fell to the turf for nothing more than an incomplete pass.
"I missed it," Barbee said. "I was tripping and falling, so I couldn't quite keep my eye on it."
Barbee needed only seconds for atonement, blocking the Knights' punt on the very next play and allowing freshman John Lynch to scoop up the loose ball and return it for a touchdown.
Brock Barbee blocks punt, John Lynch scoops and scores
It was one of four blocked kicks by Pinecrest's special teams unit. Jackson McCray blocked two punts and Nick Bohn blocked a PAT.
McCray's first block flew skyward and landed in the arms of Ryan Bartling, who was standing in the end zone when he caught it. His second block gave the Paladins first-and-goal from Calvary's 3-yard line with 12 seconds left in the first half.
Pinecrest needed just five seconds to score, as Breckin Barbee took a speed option around the right side for a quick touchdown that gave the Paladins a 28-12 lead entering halftime.
"They do line up very close to the line of scrimmage," Pinecrest coach Shawn Coury said. "They changed, but at the beginning, their quarterback was the one who lined up as their punter. A lot of times they do it out of an offensive formation, so we just thought, 'You know, if we get after them, because he's so close, we've got a shot to get to them.'"
Pinecrest trailed early in the game after a couple of touchdown runs by Calvary running back Jayden Mason. His 22-yard TD run gave Calvary a 6-0 lead, and his 12-yard score answered Bartling's recovery in the end zone to give the Knights a 12-7 lead.
Mason tallied 72 yards and two touchdowns on his first seven carries, but his last nine carries netted only 16 yards.
"We were playing too high when we first started," Coury said. "Once we started playing low, and once we started slanting a little bit up front, we were able to get in the backfield and make some plays."
Mason eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in five games this season but was held to just 88 yards against Pinecrest.
The Paladins have seen several different offensive formations this season but are holding opposing offenses to just 12.1 points per game.
"It takes a lot during practice to get used to it, but our scout team does a good job of showing us good looks," Brock Barbee said.
An interception and a couple of high snaps doomed Pinecrest's first three drives, but Breckin Barbee capped a 14-play, 74-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run to account for Pinecrest's first offensive score and give the Paladins a 14-12 lead with 4:14 before halftime.
Pinecrest's next drive started on Calvary's 29-yard line after a short punt. A couple of runs by Brock Barbee and a 2-yard keeper by Breckin Barbee took the ball down to Calvary's 14-yard line, where Breckin Barbee lofted a perfect pass to Colin Brown, who boxed out the defender and caught the pass for a 14-yard TD.
The Paladins added another score after halftime, when Luke Coury caught a 7-yard TD pass from Breckin Barbee, which was set up by Coury's 20-yard catch.
Breckin Barbee completed 11 of 18 passes for 171 yards, while Brock Barbee carried the ball 15 times for 60 yards. Bartling led the Paladins through the air with 59 receiving yards on two catches and also had several QB hurries on defense.
Brock Barbee entered the game with 115 total tackles this season
"He calls all the defenses," Shawn Coury said. "So, when coach calls it in, he's the one that calls it in and lets them know. Then he's always around the ball. He's always where he's supposed to be. Credit to the defensive line. The way our defense works, it allows our backers to move free because our defensive line is trying to take up offensive linemen. That helps him with that opportunity, which is really cool."
Pinecrest [9-1] will host Community Christian next week in the first round of the GAPPS Division II playoffs. The Paladins won 56-6 earlier this season against Community Christian.
"It's been really fun and I've enjoyed it a lot. We've had a lot of success," Brock Barbee said. "The playoffs are coming up, and we've just got to win out."