St. Pius X picked off four passes Friday, helping the eighth-ranked Golden Lions to an easy 31-6 victory over Loganville on a beautiful night at Maloof Field.
The victory advanced St. Pius to the second round of the Class AAAAA high school football playoffs. The Golden Lions (9-1) will play host to fourth-ranked Cartersville next week. Cartersville beat Jackson-Atlanta 56-6 on Friday.
St. Pius started Loganville senior quarterback Tanner Greene’s tough night early, picking him off on the opening drive. RJ Brewster made the interception at the Red Devil 22-yard line with just over a minute gone in the game. Runs by Jack Graham and quarterback Dennis O’Shea set up a 34-yard field goal by Ryan Kirschner.
The Lions stuck to their ground game on the next series, getting big runs by Jack Tchienchou, Luke Jacobellis and Mason Benefield, setting up O’Shea’s 7-yard touch- down run.
Kirschner kicked it to 10-0 with 8:49 to play in the second half.
The next drive by St. Pius saw more long runs by O’Shea, Benefield, Graham and Jacobellis, leading to another touchdown run by O’Shea, this one from 8 yards.
Grayson Carney intercepted a Greene pass on the next drive, setting up the Lions on a short field. O’Shea had 21 yards of passing to set up his 17-yard scoring pass to Tchienchou.
St. Pius led 24-0 at halftime, only after yet another interception, this one by Austin Taylor.
Tchienchou returned the opening kickoff of the second half 57 yards to the Loganville 38-yard line, but Cooper Kennedy picked off a pass.
The Red Devils couldn’t get anything going on the subsequent drive, though, and St. Pius took over at the LHS 45 midway through the third quarter.
A quick scoring drive capped by O’Shea’s 20-yard TD pass to Paul Quigley made it 31-0.
Loganville drove early in the fourth, on the strength of passes by Greene to Austin May and Michael Mason, but Tchienchou registered St. Pius’ fourth pick of the night to snuff the drive.
Greene launched a final drive late including a 27-yard pass to May and capped on Greene’s 1-yard scoring run.