Pinecrest football placed seven players on the All-Region 6-A South first team, behind only region champion Mt. Pisgah (10). Matt Walters was named the region’s lineman of the year after helping guide the Paladins to a 7-4 record and the first GHSA playoff appearance in school history.
On offense, sophomore quarterback Ryan McCarthy, junior running back Mitchell Ojeda and sophomore lineman Garrison Winter were first-teamers.
McCarthy rushed for a team-high 809 yards with six touchdowns and threw for 601 yards and five scores. Ojeda rushed for 744 yards and eight touchdowns in Pinecrest’s balanced triple-option attack, while Winter graded out at 94.7 percent blocking on the season.
Defensively, Walters, senior linebacker Adam Guard and linebacker Jacob Hanley earned first-team honors. Walters finished with 43 tackles (6 1/2 for loss) and three sacks. Guard tallied 79 1/2 tackles (11 for loss) and an interception. Hanley led Pinecrest with 84 1/2 tackles (5 1/2 for loss), three pass deflections and an interception, returned for a touchdown.
McCarthy was named first-team punter after averaging 35.3 yards per kick.
“What’s scary,” Pinecrest coach Todd Winter said, “is that we bring almost all of those guys back next year. McCarthy was just a puppy. Walters and Ojeda, they look the part already and get another summer in the weight room.”
Offensive lineman Logan Stafford, defensive back Greg Metz (74 tackles, three interceptions) and defensive back Sean Flanigan (28 tackles, three pass deflections) earned second-team honors.
Linebacker Peter Nelson (team-high four interceptions), wide receiver Nick Palmer (334 yards, two touchdowns) and offensive lineman Luke del Balzo were honorable mention selections by the region’s coaches.