Pine Lake Prep raced to a 32-point halftime lead and maintained the shutout for a 53-0 win over Highland School of Technology.
Pride running back Zach Morlidge dominated the Ram defense with power and speed, both breaking and avoiding tackles while racking up yards after contact.
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On one play he ran to one sideline before switching field and reaching the other sideline for a 22-yard gain. His most impressive run came in the second quarter when he was hit by nine of the 11 Ram defenders but managed to gallop 40 yards for a touchdown that put the game out of reach before halftime.
Pride quarterbacks Nick Reid and Brendan Miller utilized their mobility from the shotgun formation to complete passes on the run and find open spaces for large gains.
Pine Lake committed to stopping the run, plugging gaps and tackling well for most of the game while placing its corners in single coverage. Corner Clay Robinson was effective covering Ram receivers and breaking up passes. His 44-yard interception return for a touchdown put Pine Lake ahead 53-0 in the third quarter. Highland made its first completion 22 minutes into the game.
Brady Guin fielded a short opening kickoff inside Highland School of Technology territory. Reid ran down the sideline 29 yards and completed a pass to Austin Shaw on the following play, setting up first-and-goal. Morlidge then took a run up the middle for the game’s first score.
The Ram offense stuck with a large amount of runs from its wishbone formation, but did not have the speed on runs outside the tackle box to reach the sideline, resulting in several tackles-for-loss.
Defensive lineman Griffin Perley made a 12-yard sack on the Highland Tech’s first passing play. Despite short Ram punts and long punt returns from Nick Murphy, Highland Tech continued to punt on fourth downs, ending their possessions early while still ceding strong field position.
On fourth down, Reid found Sam Cornacchione wide open out of the backfield who ran 31 yards untouched for the second Pride score.
Cornacchione intercepted Highland’s first pass of the second half and returned it 46 yards to the Ram four yard-line, where Miller ran four yards into the corner of the endzone.
The Pride converted all four of its two-point attempts, and Aedan Lambert made all three of his extra point tries, totaling 11 of the 53 Pride points.
Pine Lake is now 4-3 and 2-2 in the conference.
Pine Lake will host Bessemer City Friday at 7:30 p.m.