MARIETTA – Ryan McCarthy returned two interceptions for touchdowns, ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 53 yards en route to Pinecrest Academy’s 34-12 win over Walker Friday.
McCarthy, also playing linebacker for Pinecrest, picked off a Wolverine pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown with 9:40 left to play in the second quarter. Two plays later, McCarthy picked the ball off and took it to the end zone once again to give the Paladins a 20-0 advantage with 8:49 remaining.
“We put ourselves in a bad spot early with a couple mistakes,” Walker head coach Matt Casper said. “But our kids competed, battled and got right back into the football game at halftime. We just came up short tonight.”
It was a tale of two halves for the Wolverines as they compiled 206 yards of total offense in the first half, but were held to just 67 yards in the second. Walker was unable to overcome three turnovers.
“We’re going to continue to build on the positives that we’re making as a football program,” Casper said. “We have our kids fighting through some tough situations, we have kids making plays and we had kids do their job tonight for the most part. They were just the more physical team in the end. That goes back to the weight room, which is our emphasis as an athletic department.”
The Wolverines trailed 20-0 with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter. Walker’s Joseph Vose found Charlie Maxwell behind the coverage for a 52-yard touchdown with 18 seconds left to play in the first half.
The Wolverines took a 20-12 deficit into the locker room.
Pinecrest scored on its first possession of the third quarter as McCarthy took the ball up the middle for a 26-yard score, extending the Paladin lead to 27-12 with 7:52 remaining.
The Paladins engineered a six-minute, 11 play drive, spanning over the third and fourth quarter, for their final score of the night. The drive was capped by an eight-yard touchdown run by Mitchell Ojeda.
Walker’s offense was well executed in their first possession of the game, driving the ball 70 yards down the field and soaking up nearly six minutes of game clock before a turnover ended the drive inside the red zone.
The Paladin’s first possession was short, as McCarthy rushed for a 60-yard touchdown on the third play of the drive, giving Pinecrest a 7-0 lead.