Pinecrest Academy ended the game with 13 straight points, but a slow start dug too big of a hole for them to overcome as the Paladins lost their home- and Region 6-1A opener to Walker, 35-13, on Friday.
“It’s nothing physical, it’s just a mental thing,” Pinecrest coach Terance Mathis said about getting off to slow starts. “It’s like we’re going through and before you know it, we’re down 21-0 and then we’re trying hard to fight back.
“As an offensive coordinator, you don’t have plays for being 21 (points) down. It’s hard to call plays when (the opponent) knows you have to throw the football.”
With 11 minutes to go in the second quarter, the Paladins (0-3, 0-1 Region 6B-A) were down 21-0 after Walker (1-3, 1-1 Region 6B-A) scored on three of their first four drives.
Walker running back Robert Wood had 14 carries for 114 yards, while quarterback Joseph Vose finished with 17 carries for 176 yards and five touchdowns (four run, one pass) including a 49-yard touchdown scamper down the right sideline in the third quarter, outrunning the Pinecrest defense to put the Wolverines up 35-0.
Pinecrest had only two drives in the fourth quarter, but senior quarterback Micky Mangan seemed to find a grove as he went 7-for-10 for 110 yards on those two drives, both resulting in touchdowns.
The first Pinecrest touchdown was scored on a four-yard run by running back Brooks Binkley, and Mangan scored the second on a QB dive with only two seconds remaining.
“I liked the way we got up to the ball on offense and executed,” said Mathis about the second half. “I liked the stops we had on defense. I liked that, but we have to start games like that. We can’t wait until the game is over with and say, ‘Oh, let’s try and come back.’
“If we start games that fast, we have opportunities to win.”