Paladins Face Stiff Challenge in Athens Academy in Second Round of State Playoffs

The Fellowship Christian School varsity football team will likely have its greatest challenge of the season on Friday night.

The 10-0 Paladins host 10-1 Athens Academy in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private School Football Championships on Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

"They're the best team we have ever faced in the second round of the state playoffs in my time here," head coach Al Morrell said. "Since they did not use rankings this year, the brackets are different. You won't face a random crossover opponent in the second round and teams can face very tough games in the early rounds. Athens Academy is a great program, and is a very well coached team. The only school they lost to this year is the No. 1 team in the state [Prince Avenue Christian]. They have plenty of talented players, and their strength is their offensive line. They have three kids headed to [NCAA] Division I programs next fall, including one kid to Virginia with Charlie [Patterson]. They are a power team, and like to run right at you."

In the last combined rankings released by the Georgia High School Football Daily, FCS was ranked No. 2 among Class A Private Schools and Athens Academy No. 4. The Spartans are the second-seeded team from Region 8 behind Prince Avenue and the Paladins are No. 1 from Region 6.

The Paladins improved to 10-5 all-time in the state playoffs with a 49-7 opening-round win over Mount Paran Christian School at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 27. It is Fellowship's fifth straight trip to the state playoffs.

Like Fellowship, Athens Academy has both a strong defense and a very successful run game.

"They can also spread the field well," said Morrell, who is 66-25 at FCS that includes an 8-4 state playoff record and a trip to the state finals in 2016. "The challenge is getting ready for two offenses in one week. But the boys have had a great week of practice and are prepared for the toughest opponent of the season."

The keys for the Paladins will be to start fast, have success early, rotate players in and out throughout the game to keep the team fresh and execute on both sides of the ball, according to the veteran coach.

"I feel like if we keep it close, we have a great chance [to win]," Morrell said. "They play the same guys most of the game, and we have plenty of depth, so the second half is very important. We usually able to rest guys, so we hope to wear them down."

With the victory over the Eagles, the Paladins have improved to 10-5 all-time in the state playoffs. The Paladins are now 101-83 all-time in varsity football, including a 1-2 mark against Athens Academy.

Through nine games on the field (FCS has one forfeit win), the Paladins have collected 3,952 yards and have allowed just 1,330 this season. Those numbers include a 3,116-421 advantage on the ground. The Paladins have reached 40 or more points in a game seven times this season.

The Paladin defense has been stellar this season as well. The team has held opponents to 10 or fewer points in six of nine games, including three shutouts.

Senior Caleb McClung leads FCS with 27 assisted tackles and 39 total stops, while sophomore Jayven Hall leads the team with 17 solo tackles and is second with 37 tackles.

Senior Murphy Reeves leads Fellowship's ground game with 102 carries, 1,584 yards, 22 touchdowns and an average of 15.53 yards per carry. Junior Josh Cole has collected 524 yards on 51 attempts with eight touchdowns, and senior Lawson Haigler has added 376 yards on 35 rushes with six scores.

Senior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt has completed 33-of-52 pass attempts for 653 yards and nine TDs. Sophomore Clay Shepler and Haigler both have grabbed 10 passes to share first on the squad. Shepler's 220 reception yards top the team.

(Photo by Chip Cookston)

Lady Paladin Varsity Basketball Team Beats Pinecrest, Improves to 2-1

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team has won for the second time this season.

On Dec. 1, Fellowship posted a 42-24 Region victory at Pinecrest Academy, 40-24.

"It was a big win for the Lady Paladins tonight," head coach Troy Schulz said. "We started a little slow tonight, but overall it was a great team effort. At one point I said to Coach Allison [Michael] I think there may be a lid on that basket. It was 17-15 at the half and then the girls started to find the groove. I was extremely pleased with our defense especially in the fourth quarter as we held them to one point while scoring 17. We are proud of these girls tonight as they battled all night and finally found success in the fourth quarter. They were rewarded for their persistence."

Junior Cate Hardin led the Lady Paladins, now 2-1 overall, with 18 points.

Junior Kaya Beard netted nine points, and freshman Avery Paulson knocked down a big 3-pointer in the first half and finished with six points. Junior Savannah Schulz had five points and played all 32 minutes.

Boys Tennis Squad Downs Whitefield, Advances to Metro 10 League Finals

The undefeated boys middle school tennis team has now qualified for the Metro 10 League championship match.

With a 5-0 victory over Whitefield Academy in the first round of the playoffs at Paladin Park on Dec. 1, the Paladins have advanced to the title match. They will face the winner of The Walker School and Saint Francis. Match details will be announced later.

Fellowship improved to 7-0 overall with the victory.

Alex Chapman captured first singles, 8-0; Logan Gilleland won second singles, 8-1; and Austin Turner claimed third singles, 9-7.

In first doubles against the WolfPack, the team of Will Landreth and Jackson Young won 8-1. The duo of James Scherer and David Kennedy took second doubles 8-8 (tie breaker 7-5).

Paladins Down Mount Paran to Advance in GHSA Class A Private Football Championships

A two-week break from games didn't seem to hurt the Fellowship Christian School varsity football team too much on Friday night.

The Paladins did not show any rust early as senior Murphy Reeves scored on the game's first play from scrimmage and the team scored on its first three possessions overall en route to a 49-7 victory over Mount Paran Christian School at Bob Lord Field in the opening round of the Class A Private School Football Championships on Nov. 27.

"Our offensive line is playing outstanding, and we have super talented backs," head coach Al Morrell said. "That's probably the fifth time Murphy has scored on the first play of the game. He's a terrific back, who is hard to catch in the open field. We did have a great start to the game. It had been three weeks since we played, so we did not execute perfectly. But we played well enough to win."

Fellowship, seeded No. 1 from Region 6, improved to 10-0 with the victory. FCS faces Athens Academy (seeded second from Region 8) at Bob Lord Field on Dec. 4. Athens (10-1 overall) defeated Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in overtime, 49-42, on Nov. 27. The Mustangs (5-7 overall and the third seed from Region 5) rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

"Athens is a great team," Morrell said. "I believe their only losses over the last three years are to Eagles' Landing Christian School and Prince Avenue. They have a huge offensive line with three Division I commits. They are very big and physical."

With Friday's victory, the Paladins have improved to 10-5 all-time in the state playoffs. In their previous game, the Paladins defeated Mount Pisgah Christian School, 63-10, on Senior Night on Nov. 6 to capture their second straight Region championship and the school's third Region football title since the 2016 season.

The Paladins offense didn't waste any time against the Eagles as Reeves took the pitch, went right and scored on a 79-yard TD run 23 seconds into the playoff contest. Senior Matt Rodgers booted the first of seven extra points to give FCS a 7-0 lead. It was the first of three touchdowns for Reeves, Fellowship's all-time rushing leader.

The Fellowship defense forced a Mount Paran punt three plays from scrimmage later. Sophomore Jayven Hall then capped a 57-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring run with 9:32 left in the first quarter.

Following another Eagles punt, Reeves scored on a 37-yard TD run at 8:23 of the first quarter. Senior Lawson Haigler ended the first quarter scoring on a run up the middle that went 42 yards and a score on the final play of the first quarter score.

The Paladins led 28-0 after the first and out gained the Eagles (seeded fourth from Region 7) in the first quarter, 248 yards to minus-15.

FCS scored on five out of eight possessions in the first half, including senior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt's 1-yard TD run with 53.1 seconds left in the half. The 54-yard drive was set up by junior Wilson Long's interception.

It was another strong defensive effort for the Paladins, who held the Eagles to minus-26 yards in the first half that included sacks by seniors Joey Archer and Caleb McClung.

"The defense had another shutout, as they scored on our offense," Morrell said. "They are playing extremely well."

Following a Mount Paran punt to end its first possession of the second half, Reeves scored on a 38-yard run that included a broken tackle and spin move up the middle with 6:00 left in the third quarter. The senior gained 238 yards on 12 carries.

Junior Garrett Wagner added a TD run from 6 yards 31 seconds into the fourth quarter to give Fellowship a 49-0 lead. The 12-yard drive was set up by Hall's fumble recovery.

The Eagles' lone score came on a fumble recovery that went for a 73-yard score with 5:44 to play. Mount Paran finished the season 1-9.

Fellowship improved to 5-3 all-time against Mount Paran in varsity football, including a 45-13 win over the Eagles in the Elite Eight of the 2016 playoffs on Nov. 25, 2016.

The Paladins out gained Mount Paran 423 to minus-25 yards on Friday night, including a 397 to minus-86 advantage on the ground. The Eagles picked up 61 passing yards to 26 for FCS.

Haigler collected 81 yards on five carries, while Hall added 34 on five attempts. Both Hildebrandt and sophomore Caleb McMickle completed two passes, while senior Jordan Brewer grabbed two of them.

Defensively, Archer and McClung led the way with six solo tackles and six total stops apiece. Archer led the team with two tackles for loss. Senior Jackson Albee recorded a sack.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Paladins Begin Varsity Boys Basketball Season Dec. 1 at Pinecrest Academy

The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys basketball team has been adjusting very well to its new coach and his philosophies.

"It's actually going very well," head coach Chris Cameron said. "The kids have responded well. They have been having fun and are working hard. For them there was uncertainty in the beginning with a new coach, new system. But their energy level has been great. We have some good talent here as well."

A veteran coach with college experience, Cameron was attracted to Fellowship for its "Christian atmosphere" and "being able to be a part of it." He is also up for the challenge of the rebuilding process.

"We are not focused on the past," Cameron said. "We are focused on who we are and why we all came here. We want to win and change the mindset. As a team we will put the work in to do that."

The Paladins travel to Cumming to face Pinecrest Academy in the season opener on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. It is a Region contest.

Fellowship basketball fans will likely see a very different type of game this season.

"There are three ways we are going to win – play smart, work hard and compete together," Cameron said. "We will play up tempo with a more defensive mindset. We also want structure and control. We will build our team around this style."

In the early season practices the Paladins have shown Cameron good shooting and solid skill development. There are multiple players who will contribute on both ends of the floor.

The Paladins will be part of a strong Region 6-A division that features perennial state power Saint Francis, Pinecrest, Brandon Hall, King's Ridge Christian School, Lakeview Academy, Mt. Bethel Christian School, Mount Pisgah Christian School and The Weber School.

Dana King will serve as JV head coach and will assist Cameron this season with the varsity. FCS teacher Edward Pasqual is also a varsity assistant coach.

Cameron, who joined FCS in July, is a member of the Albany (Ga.) Sports Hall of Fame (2013). He's entering his 20th year as a basketball coach this school year, and has coached at both the college and high school levels.

Cameron earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Tulane University and a Master of Science in Health and Physical Education from Albany State University.

A native of Albany, Ga., Cameron played basketball at Tulane University. He lettered all four years for the Green Wave. Cameron played high school basketball at Dougherty High School and was a member of the Trojans Final Four team in 1991.

Football Playoff Game Set: Paladins to Face Mount Paran in Opening Round of Class A Private School Football Championships

The match up is all set.

The Fellowship Christian School football team, seeded No. 1 from Region 6A, will host Mount Paran Christian School in the opening round of the Class A Private School Football Championships on Nov. 27 at Bob Lord Field. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Eagles (1-8 overall) beat The Walker School 33-7 on Nov. 20 to qualify for the state playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 7A.

The Paladins (9-0) defeated Mount Pisgah Christian School, 63-10, on Senior Night on Nov. 6 to capture their second straight Region championship and the school's third Region football title since the 2016 season. Fellowship equaled its single-game points record set on Oct. 23, 2020 with a 63-0 win over 7A Dunwoody High School at Bob Lord Field.

Fellowship is 4-3 all-time against Mount Paran in varsity football, including a 45-13 win over the Eagles in the Elite Eight of the 2016 playoffs on Nov. 25, 2016. The Paladins are 9-5 all-time in state football playoffs.

"Don't let Mount Paran's record fool you," head coach Al Morrell said. "They are a good football team. They played a lot of teams tough this season. We will be ready on Friday night. The boys are excited for another state playoff game. We are focused on playing a good game. We need to execute on both sides of the ball, limit mistakes and turnovers, and play with confidence [after two off weeks]."

The Paladins have out gained its opponents 3,525-1,355 in eight games on the field this season. That includes 2,715 yards on the ground to just 507 for its foes. As a team the Paladins have collected 39 rushing touchdowns.

Senior Murphy Reeves tops Fellowship runners with 90 carries, 1,346 yards and 19 touchdowns. Junior Josh Cole is next with 49 rushes, 506 yards and eight scores. Senior Lawson Haigler has picked up 295 yards on 30 carries with five TDs.

Senior quarterback Eli Hildbrandt had gone 33-for-52 for 643 yards and nine TDs. Haigler and sophomore Clay Shepler share the team lead with 10 catches each. Shepler's 220 reception yards tops the squad, while Haigler has gained 186 reception yards and has grabbed two TDs. Both Cole and senior Jordan Brewer have seven catches and two TD receptions.

On defense, senior Caleb McClung leads the Paladins with 27 assisted tackles and 39 total stops. Sophomore Jayven Hall's 17 solo tackles lead the team. He's second overall with 37 total stops. Senior Nathan Nardone ranks third on the team with 35 total tackles and is second with 25 assists.

Lady Paladin Varsity Basketball Team Wins Opener at AIS

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team started the 2020 season off on the right foot.

The Lady Paladins posted a 42-10 victory over non-Region Atlanta International School in Buckhead on Nov. 21.

"We played really well for a first game," head coach Troy Schulz said. "Avery Paulson played extremely well in her first varsity game. Kaya Beard was strong in the post."

Beard led the Lady Paladins with 16 points. Junior Cate Hardin and freshman Alden Hays chipped in with eight points apiece, while junior Savannah Schulz and Paulson added two points each.

Lady Paladins Tip off Season Nov. 20

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team has already established a motto in the preseason it brings to every practice and plans to take to heart throughout the season.

"We want to 'be better today than we were yesterday' this season," head coach Troy Schulz said. "We are excited about the season. Our practices have actually been going better than I expected. We lost five seniors and we will be young. But we are making improvements and should be pretty balanced."

The Lady Paladins open the season on Nov. 20 at Atlanta International School at 5 p.m.

The Lady Paladin roster includes eight players, including a group of three juniors and three freshman who are expected to lead the team in minutes this year.

That includes junior returners Kaya Beard, Cate Hardin and Savannah Schulz, who played valuable minutes last year, and cousins Alden Hays and Avery Paulson and fellow freshman Olivia Young.

"Those three juniors will be our team captains," Schulz said. "They are the three wheels of the bus, and we are looking for that fourth wheel. Any one of those six girls could lead in scoring any night. I really like our group of freshmen too."

Beard gives FCS a strong presence under the basket.

"Kaya is very strong in the post," Beard said. "She'll have a great presence there."

Sophomore Addy Costoulas also returns to the team, and freshman Shelby Grace Sparrow is a newcomer.

"They have both worked very hard," Schulz said. "Addy could contribute a lot."

Despite being a young team, the coach expects a balanced attack this season.

"We have six or so girls who are very balanced across the board, and will get a lot of minutes," Schulz said. "Our scoring will be balanced."

The team has set the bar high in a tough Region that features three good programs: Saint Francis, Lakeview Academy and Mount Pisgah Christian School (three teams that are contenders for the Final Four).

"I believe we can finish in the top 3-4 of the Region and make the state playoffs," Schulz said. "That's a goal we have. We want to be above .500 and think 12 or 13 wins in realistic."

Saint Francis is a perennial Final Four team, Mount Pisgah is very tough to beat and region newcomer Lakeview is very talented.

"We have three top contenders for the Final Four in our Region," Schulz said. "We hope to improve every day, compete well and split [two] games with them."

In addition to a tough Region schedule, Schulz also called out The Walker School and Trion High School as being tough non-Region opponents.

Rickheim Wraps up HS Career with Seventh-Place Finish; FCS Girls Bring Home 12th Overall

The boys and girls varsity cross country squads from Fellowship Christian School competed in the GHSA Class A Private Cross County Championships held at the state meet race course in Carrollton, Ga., on Nov. 7.

The girls team took home 12th place overall, but were first among teams from the Region (Mount Pisgah, Lakeview Academy and Saint Francis) competing in the state meet.

Senior Sami Rickheim closed out her high school career with a seventh-place finish in the varsity girls race.

The boys squad finished third among teams from the Region at the meet and were 22nd overall.

"It was a challenging course," FCS head coach Tom Harrison said. "It was also a great opportunity for both our boys and girls to cap off the season with an appearance at state. It was the final high school race for two seniors -- Sophia Mahlke and Sami Rickheim. The kids showed good effort and attitude today on a challenging course."

(Photo courtesy of @PaladinsFCS)

Paladins Beat Mount Pisgah to Capture Second Straight Region Title; Fellowship Honors 17 Football Seniors

Prior to Friday's game against Mount Pisgah Christian School, the athletic department from Fellowship Christian School honored a group of 17 seniors.

Senior Night was a fitting tribute to a group of athletes who have had a major role in the team's 38-8 varsity football record over the past four seasons since falling the state championship game in December 2016. Many of the 17 have spent four years with the varsity program following successful middle school careers at FCS.

With a 63-10 victory over the Patriots, the Paladins captured their second straight Region championship and its third Region title since the 2016 season. The team equaled its single-game points record set on Oct. 23, 2020 with a 63-0 win over 7A Dunwoody High School at Bob Lord Field.

"It was so special to honor this great group of kids," head coach Al Morrell said. "They are an extremely talented and dedicated group. They work hard in the offseason, in the weight room, at practice and in games. The coaches and I could not be more proud of them. We are obviously excited about the state playoffs but this Region title is very nice. It's a testament to how hard everyone in our program works every day -- the players, the coaches and the support staff. I have said this before, but we have a great coaching staff here."

Fellowship's seniors this season include Jackson Albee, Joey Archer, Jordan Brewer, Cole Chapman, Lawson Haigler, Eli Hildebrandt, Cade Kammerer, Caleb McClung, Josh McLaughlin, Nathan Nardone, Brady Niblock, Charlie Patterson, Murphy Reeves, Reid Robinson, Brad Rodgers, Matt Rodgers and Michael Washburne.

Friday night's game started out like several games have this season.

Reeves, Fellowship's all-time leading rusher, took the pitch on the first play from scrimmage, broke a tackle and raced into the end zone for a long TD run (61 yards this time). Matt Rodgers kicked the first of eight straight extra points to give the Paladins an early lead.

Fellowship went on to score four more touchdowns in the first quarter and three times in the second on the way to a 56-3 halftime lead. Fellowship improved to 9-0 overall and 4-0 in Region games.

"Our offense was terrific," Morrell said. "The line and backs blocked well, and our guys run hard. They make plays. It was also nice to see us convert a turnover for a score and have some key passes. Overall, it was a very good effort from our team."

Now the Paladins will have to wait for their next opponent. The GHSA Class A Private School Championships kick off on Nov. 27. There aren't any first-round byes this season.

On Nov. 6, Reeves scored on touchdown runs from 61, three and 46 yards, while Haigler added a 5-yard TD run, sophomore Jayven Hall returned a fumble 50 yards for a score, Hildebrandt connected with Brewer on a TD pass play from midfield, Hildebrandt scrambled for a 7-yard touchdown run, junior Josh Cole collected a 45-yard TD run and Matt Rodgers' 1-yard plunge closed out the scoring.

Kammerer recovered a fumble to set up the drive that Reeves capped with his second TD run.

In the first quarter, Reeves scored twice, Haigler once, Hall once and Brewer grabbed a TD pass.

Hildebrandt and Reeves added TD runs in the second quarter to give FCS a 49-0 lead. Following a 35-yard field goal from the Patriots with 35 second left in the first half, Cole broke a couple of tackles on a sprint to the end zone with 19.7 seconds left in the half.

Rodgers scored from two yards out and freshman Nathan Chapman kicked the extra point to help Fellowship tie the single-game points record with about four minutes left in the third quarter.

Mount Pisgah added a 1-yard TD run with 6:29 to play. The Patriots are now 4-4 overall, which includes a 1-1 Region mark.

With the win over Mount Pisgah, the Paladins have topped 40 points in a game seven times this season. It was also marked the sixth time of the season that Fellowship has allowed 13 or fewer points in a game.

The Paladins are now 9-7 all-time in varsity football against the Patriots.

Fellowship out gained the Patriots, 453-119 in the game, marking Fellowship's sixth straight game of over 400 yards. That included a 398-26 advantage on the ground.

Reeves topped the Paladins with 196 yards on 10 carries, while Cole added 111 yards on six attempts. Brewer caught two passes for 55 yards.

Washburne led the Paladin defense with five assisted tackles and seven total stops, while Cole (two solo, three assists), Hall (two solo, three assists), McClung (two solo, three assists) and sophomore Kyle Elphick (one tackle, four assists) all registered five total stops. Haigler and McClung each recorded a sack.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

FCS Boys and Girls Teams Prepare for GHSA Class A Private School Cross Country Meet

The boys and girls varsity cross country squads from Fellowship Christian School will compete in Saturday's GHSA Class A Private School Cross County Championships being held at the Carrollton State Meet Course (Nov. 7).

Head coach Tom Harrison answered some questions about the meet. The boys race begins at 9:30 a.m., and the girls race begins at 10:15 a.m.

What are the secrets to success for boys and girls this year?

Harrison: As the season progressed and our kids competed in their meets from week to week, they increasingly learned the tactic of running together as a pack – 4 or 5 of our athletes running together, limiting the gaps between them and runners from other teams, which impacts the overall scoring for the team. Pacing each other through portions of the course, and then finishing the race relatively close to each other has been instrumental in our teams' overall success this season.

What are your expectations for boys and girls on Saturday?

Harrison: I expect that they will enjoy the fruits of their labors – the hard work they put into the season which enabled them to get to the State competition. If they come together in this race to work together as a team, I think they have a chance to finish their season well.

What are the keys to race for Fellowship?

Harrison: Cross Country at Fellowship is "come as you are" – there are not any tryouts for the team. Generally speaking, the main criteria that determines an athlete's position on a Varsity or JV squad is the 5K time they produce at each meet. A runner's performance in one race, would impact which team he runs on in the next race.

Is the team prepared for such a tough field?

Harrison: With 1A private schools from all over Georgia participating, the state meet provides a competitive venue for our runners. Some members of our girls team have run this race before, while this will be the first time for our boys. Each member of the squad is looking forward to the challenge of running this race. As they realize the opportunity to run at the state level and accept the challenge provided by the opportunity, I feel confident that our athletes will prepared to put in a great effort.

What have this year's seniors meant to the program?

Harrison: We had 10 seniors begin this season with us in the fall, although not all were able to complete the season because of injury, etc. Most have been with the team for one, two or three years, while a few pushed through all four years. Our seniors this year are: Andy Chapman, Ryan Johnson, Lincoln Ledet, Sophia Mahlke, Cam Miller, Ace Montgomery, Colin Omonhundro, Owen Reedy, Sami Rickheim and Sabrina Smith. Team captains this year were Cam Miller and Sophia Mahlke. Any time you have athletes participate and then return for the next season as many of our seniors have done, helps grow the team and the program.

Week 9 Preview: Region Title on Line for Paladins in Senior Night Game against Mount Pisgah

The stakes are high for the Fellowship Christian School varsity football team on Friday night.

The Paladins host Region rival Mount Pisgah Christian School at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 6 with its second straight Region championship and third in the last five years on the line. The FCS squad captured the Region 6-A championship in 2016 and 2019.

Fellowship improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in Region games with a 49-13 road win at King's Ridge Christian School on Oct. 30.

"It will be a huge game for us," said Morrell, now 64-25 as FCS head coach. "We have taken it one game at a time this year, which has put us in a position to win the Region championship. But it won't be easy. Mount Pisgah is very much an improved team from last year, and they have plenty of talent. It will be a very tough football game for us. It will be exciting to honor this terrific group of seniors that have meant so much to our program."

The Patriots enter the game with a 4-3 overall record, which includes a 1-0 Region mark and a 1-2 road record. Mount Pisgah is on a two-game win streak, including a 31-15 win over Lakeview Academy on Oct. 30 and a 35-14 victory over Chamblee High School on Oct. 23.

In the victory at King's Ridge, the Paladins topped 40 points in a game for the sixth time this season. It was also the fifth time of the season that Fellowship has allowed 13 or fewer points in a game.

Fellowship out gained the Tigers, 430-11 in the game, marking Fellowship's fifth straight game of over 400 yards.

FCS quarterbacks threw for 149 yards and the team gained 281 yards on the ground at King's Ridge. The Tigers earned 110 rushing yards and threw for seven yards.

Through eight games, the Paladins have picked up 3,072 yards compared to 1,236 for their opponents. On the ground, it's a 2,317 to 481 advantage.

Senior Murphy Reeves, Fellowship's all-time rushing leader, tops the squad this year with 1,150 yards, 80 carries and 16 touchdowns. Junior Josh Cole is next on the team with 43 carries, 395 yards and seven scores.

Eli Hildebrandt, a senior quarterback, has completed 32-of-51 pass attempts for 593 yards and eight scores. Both senior Lawson Haigler and sophomore Clay Shepler have 10 catches to share the team lead.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior Caleb McClung tops the squad with 34 tackles and shares first with 24 assisted stops.

Senior Nathan Nardone (eight solo tackles, 24 assists) and sophomore Jayven Hall (15 solo stops, 17 assisted tackles) have registered 32 tackles apiece. Hall leads the team in solo tackles.

Fellowship is 8-7 all-time in varsity football against the Patriots.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

FCS Senior Reeves Rushes for 4 Scores to Lead Paladins to Eighth Straight Win; 49-13 at KR

Murphy Reeves set another Fellowship Christian School football record on Friday night.

On Oct. 30, the senior running back scored four rushing touchdowns to lead the Paladins to a 49-13 road win at King's Ridge Christian School in a Region contest. Reeves, already the school's leading rusher for yardage (4,534), carries (452), and rushing touchdowns (53), is now the school's all-time leading overall touchdown leader with 54. Former Fellowship quarterback Jack Hardin recorded 52 total touchdowns during his Paladin career.

"Murphy has been a steady catalyst for our offense for three years," head coach Al Morrell said. "The coaches and I are very proud of him. He has worked so hard to get where he is today. He brings speed, physical play and dedication to every game and practice."

The Paladins improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in Region games with the road win. The team hosts Mount Pisgah Christian School at Bob Lord Field with its second straight Region title on the line.

"It will be a huge game for us," said Morrell, now 64-25 as FCS head coach. "We have taken it week to week, and one game at a time this year. We played well against King's Ridge, which has set up for this big game next week. Our offensive and defensive lines set the tone for us and played great. The coaches and I are proud of this team. They are a great group of kids."

The Paladin offense came out flying once again. Senior Eli Hildebrandt connected with senior tight end Brady Niblock on the game's third play from scrimmage for a 38-yard score. Senior Matt Rodgers kicked the first of seven straight extra points to give FCS the 7-0 lead.

Junior Josh Cole scored from two yards out at 8:20, and Reeves scored on a nifty 67-yard run to help Fellowship open up a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Paladins would go on to score three more touchdowns in the second quarter, including a 13-yard run from Reeves at 2:18. That possession was set up by senior Jordan Brewer's interception.

FCS scored twice more before halftime.

Reeves burst into the end zone from three yards out at 7:51, and sophomore Caleb McMickle connected with senior Lawson Haigler on a 12-yard pass play at 2:59.

Each team scored a touchdown in the second half. Reeves wrapped up his stellar night with a 1-yard plunge to give FCS a 49-6 lead in the third quarter

The Tigers, which had a pair of field goals from Logan Hewlett on the night, scored their lone touchdown in the fourth quarter on a two-yard run.

Friday's game marked the sixth time the Paladin offense topped 40 points in a game. It was also the fifth time of the season that Fellowship has allowed 13 or fewer points in a game.

Fellowship out gained the Tigers, 430-11 in the game, marking Fellowship's fifth straight game of over 400 yards.

FCS quarterbacks threw for 149 yards and the team gained 281 yards on the ground. King's Ridge earned 110 rushing yards and threw for seven yards. The Paladins earned 19 first downs to eight for the Tigers.

Reeves collected 165 yards on 13 attempts, while Haigler picked up 43 yards on three rushes and Cole gained 43 yards on six carries.

Hildebrandt completed 7-of-8 pass attempts for 135 yards, while McMickle threw for 14 yards. Sophomore Clay Shepler led the with 60 reception yards on two catches, while senior Josh McLaughlin made two grabs for 19 yards and Haigler had two catches for 14 yards (including one TD catch). Niblock's lone catch went for 38 yards and a score.

As a defense, the Paladins made a combined seven tackles for a loss. Sophomore Jayven Hall (four solo, three assists) led the FCS defense with seven tackles.

Senior Nathan Nardone (two solo, four assists) and Haigler (four solo, two assists) made six total tackles apiece. Niblock recorded a fumble recovery, and Brewer had an interception.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

FCS Varsity Football Team Returns to Region Play with Contest at King's Ridge on Friday Night

As the regular season winds down, the varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School enters a stretch of consecutive Region games.

The Paladins (2-0 in Region games and 7-0 overall) travel to Alpharetta to take on King's Ridge Christian School on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. The Tigers enter the contest with a 0-1 Region record and a 2-2 overall mark, including losses in their last two contests (14-6 at Lakeview Academy on Oct. 23 and 27-0 at The Darlington School on Oct. 9).

"They are a much improved football team," head coach Al Morrell said. "They have a new coach [Terry Crowder], and they run the same offense we do. We are excited to play them and have another game on Friday night."

The keys for the Fellowship squad will be to play smart defensively and execute on offense, according to Morrell (now 63-25 at FCS).

"With the Wing T, you need to read the keys and be disciplined," Morrell said. "We run it, so we know how to defend it. On offense, we'll have to guess how they'll line up [on defense] and block well."

So far this season, the Paladins have out gained opponents 2,647 to 1,119 (including a 2,041 to 371 advantage on the ground with 27 touchdowns).

FCS' all-time leading rusher is senior Murphy Reeves, who tops the team with 68 carries, 989 yards and 12 TDs this year.

Junior Josh Cole ranks second on the team with 357 yards on 37 rushing attempts with six scores. Senior Lawson Haigler is third on the Paladin squad with 24 rushes and 237 yards. He's scored four rushing TDs.

Senior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt has completed 27-of-45 pass attempts for 477 yards and seven touchdowns. Haigler tops the team with 182 reception yards and shares first with eight catches. Sophomore Clay Shepler has also grabbed eight passes and has 160 reception yards, while Cole has hauled in six passes for 160 yards. Senior Josh McLaughlin leads the team with three touchdowns catches.

The Paladin defense has allowed just seven points over the past four games on the field, including three shutouts.

Senior Caleb McClung has registered 20 assisted tackles and 29 total stops that lead the team. Cole is next with 27 tackles, including a team-high 12 solo stops. Both senior Nathan Nardone (six solo tackles, 19 assists) and sophomore Jayven Hall (11 solo tackles, 14 assists) have recorded 25 tackles.

"We're a senior-led team," Morrell said. "They have experience and give us really good team chemistry. We have a great coaching staff, including two terrific coordinators. Right now we are clicking."

The Paladins are slated to host Mount Pisgah Christian School on senior night on Nov. 6 at Bob Lord Field.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Historic Victory: Paladin Football Team Sets School Records in Homecoming Win over 7A Dunwoody High School

Offense has grabbed a good share of the headlines for the varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School this season, but the defense has been rock solid.

Over the past four games, the Paladin defense has allowed just seven points and has posted three shutouts. The latest shutout came during a school-record 63-0 Homecoming victory over 7A Dunwoody High School at Bob Lord Field on Oct. 23.

The victory marks the first time a Fellowship team has played and beaten a 7A school in varsity football, and is the most points scored in a varsity football game in school history. On Oct. 9, the Paladins set the previous record with a 58-7 win at Saint Francis.

Last week, FCS (7-0 overall) notched a 13-0 forfeit win over Region foe Lakeview Academy. So the team was eager to get on the field for the annual Homecoming Night contest.

Against the Wildcats, the Paladin defense allowed just 114 yards, blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown and returned another interception for a score.

"It was a great win," head coach Al Morrell said. "It was a team effort. Our defense was outstanding, and the offense was terrific. The kids know it's a blessing to play football on Friday nights. The coaches and I have been proud of their focus all season long. They prepare well for their opponent, no matter the school or its size. It's quite an accomplishment to beat a bigger school."

The Paladins (2-0 in Region games) face two Region opponents in their next two games, including a road game at King's Ridge Christian School on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Fellowship hosts Mount Pisgah Christian School on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in a Senior Night contest. The squad wraps up the regular season with a home game against 6A Alcovy High School of Covington on Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

On Friday night, FCS jumped out to a 35-0 lead over the Wildcats in the first quarter.

Senior Murphy Reeves, who gained 190 yards on six carries, scored on runs of 58 and 66 yards on drives to start and end the quarter. He helped the Paladins gain a season-high 420 yards on the ground. The team picked up 475 total yards – it's second-highest single-game total of 2020.

In between Reeves' career rushing touchdowns 48 and 49, senior Lawson Haigler scored on four-yard TD run at 7:10 of the first quarter, senior Nathan Nardone returned an interception 20 yards for a score at 6:36 and junior Garrett Wagner scored from three yards out on a run with 1:30 left.

Junior Josh Cole scored the lone touchdown of the second quarter from 15 yards out. Senior kicked Matt Rodgers booted six straight extra points in the first half as FCS opened up a 42-0 lead.

Cole's second score came on a seven-yard run with 6:40 left in the third quarter. Rodgers tacked on another extra point.

Just a few minutes later, Haigler scored his second TD of the game. This time he blocked a field-goal attempt, scooped up the ball and sprinted 65 yards to the end zone. Rodgers finished the day seven-for-seven in extra-point kicks to give FCS a 56-0 advantage.

Haigler led FCS with five assisted tackles and eight total stops against Dunwoody. Sophomore Jayven Hall (three solo tackles, two assists) and senior Joey Archer (two solo tackles, three assists) each record five total stops. Senior Brad Rodgers and sophomore William Jaroszewski each recovered a fumble.

Sophomore Nick Persiano closed out the scoring on a 9-yard TD run with 8:19 to play. Freshman Nathan Chapman converted his first varsity extra-point kick.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fellowship entered the game against Dunwoody allowing the second fewest points a game (11.2) than any other team than Athens Academy (8.3). Athens dropped a 41-0 decision at Prince Avenue Christian on Oct. 23.

With the win, Morrell improved his record as Fellowship head coach to 63-25.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Champions: Paladins Capture Metro 10 League Championship for Second Time; Fifth Title Overall

The fifth and sixth grade football team from Fellowship Christian School has captured the Metro 10 League Championship for the second time.

FCS defeated Whitefield Academy, 32-16, on the road on Oct. 22.

It was the fifth title for the fifth and sixth grade football team from Fellowship, including the 2016 Metro 10 League Championship, the Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Football League Championship in 2014, and AMFL titles in 2009 and 2010.

The Paladins improved to 6-2 overall this season with the win. The club won three straight games to finish the season, and five out of its last six contests overall.

"I could not be more proud of the entire team that has worked tirelessly to achieve their goals," head coach Scott McMickle said. "I expect this team to win many more championships."

The WolfPack entered the game undefeated.

Davis Ferguson threw for approximately 300 yards and four touchdowns, on a 50-yard TD pass to Walker Waggoner with 5:25 to play. Fellowship tacked on the two-point conversion following that score to take a 32-16 lead.

Jackson Thrasher led a host of receivers with almost 200 yards and two touchdowns.

(Photos from @PaladinsFCS)

First Victory: Fellowship Squad Posts Road Win at Whitefield

The JV football club from Fellowship Christian School won for the first time this season.

The Paladins posted a 29-14 victory at Whitefield Academy on Oct. 22.

Fellowship has posted a 1-2-1 overall record this season.

Region Champions: Boys and Girls Win Capture Region Team Events

It was a championship evening for the Fellowship Christian School boys and girls JV and varsity cross country team.

At Allatoona Creek Park, the boys and girls squads from Fellowship claimed for first place at the 1A Region 6 championship competition. These wins qualify both for the State meet slated for Carrollton, on Nov. 7.

Three of the boys FCS runners finished in the top 10 of the varsity boys' race led by junior Garrett Lengefeld in sixth place. Sophomore Aubrey Moraitakis finished seventh and junior Jake Cartrett placed ninth.

"These three ran a tight race, running closely together throughout much of the 5K course," head coach Tom Harrison said. "Finishing so closely together in the top 10 was an essential ingredient to the team's overall success. It was a great cross country day for Fellowship."

The fourth and fifth runners on the squad, junior Benny Lorenzo and freshman Tyler Greenwell, finished 14th and 15th overall.

"Finishing closely as they did also protected our overall score," Harrison said. "We beat second-place Mount Pisgah by just one point, so the teamwork demonstrated by the FCS varsity boys in this championship race ensured their victory."

Senior Sami Rickheim, junior Cate Hardin and senior Sophia Mahlke finished first, fifth and eighth, respectively, in the girls varsity race. Closing out the top five girls on the FCS varsity squad, sophomore Elizabeth Bishop and freshman Avery Gilliland finished 14th and 15th.

"Their performances rounded out a solid first place win for the Lady Paladins," Harrison said.

In the JV boys race, the Paladins finished third. Three of our runners, freshman Nicholas Geshay, junior Ryan Jordan and freshman Charlie Gandy placed in the top ten.

"They were followed closely by Brock Stoller and Colin Omunhundro, who finished in the top 20," Harrison said. "Just missing second place by one point, the JV boys team as a whole ran a consistently strong race."

(Photo submitted by Tom Harrison)

FCS Varsity football Team to Host 7A Dunwoody HS on Homecoming Night

Following a forfeit victory, the varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School will be back home for a second attempt a Homecoming Night contest.

This time it will be against 7A Dunwoody High School on Oct. 23 at Bob Lord Field. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Paladins improved to 6-0 with a 13-0 forfeit win over Lakeview Academy on in what was supposed to be Homecoming on Oct. 16. It also happens to count as the school's 100th career varsity football win.

"It is a little strange [having to reschedule homecoming], but we are focused on football," FCS head coach Al Morrell said. "Homecoming does not affect us on the field."

Friday's game is Fellowship's first game ever against a 7A school in varsity football. Dunwoody enters the game 0-3, including a 40-3 loss at Norcross on Oct. 2, a 49-0 loss at Archer on Oct. 9, and a 21-10 loss to Chamblee at home on Oct. 16.

"We approach them the same way as any team even though they are 7A," Morrell said. 'We have never played a game against a school of that size. Big schools typically have more depth. They are a spread team that probably throws the ball about 60 percent of the time. They have a 4-3 defense with size up front, but I think we match up well against them. It's hard to judge them as their games have been against very good teams."

Fellowship (1-0 in Region games and 2-0 at Bob Lord Field) is coming off three straight road victories. Overall, the Paladins are 17-1 in their last 18 games dating back to the start of the 2019 season.

The Paladins set a school record for points in a game with a 58-7 victory at Saint Francis on Oct. 9 on a rainy night.

"Every game is a blessing at this point," Morrell said. "We are excited to practice every day, which is a testament to our seniors and their leadership. They work very hard and lead our team every day. They help us always stay focused on football."

Through five games on the field, the Paladin offense has gained 2,172 yards, while the defense has held opponents to just 292 rushing yards and 1,000 yards overall. The FCS defense has allowed just seven points over the past three contests on the field.

Fellowship has gained 1,621 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns with four backs topping at least 100 yards.

FCS' all-time leading rusher Murphy Reeves leads the team with 62 carries, 799 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, followed by junior Josh Cole with 306 yards on 30 carries with four scores.

Senior Eli Hildebrandt has completed 23-of-36 pass attempts for 420 yards and seven TDs. Sophomore backup quarterback Caleb McMickle has completed seven passes for 131 yards and one score.

Senior Lawson Haigler and sophomore Clay Shepler share the team lead with seven catches. Haigler's 165 reception yards tops the squad, while Shepler ranks second with 125 yards.

Cole is FCS' leading tackler on defense with 12 solo tackles and 25 total stops. Senior Nathan Nardone has registered 24 tackles, including a team-best 19 assisted stops. Senior Caleb McClung also has 25 tackles for Fellowship, which includes 15 assisted tackles to rank second on the team. Cole and sophomore Jayven Hall are tied for third with 13 assisted tackles. Hall has notched 22 tackles overall.

(Photos by Milo Falcon)

Big Victory! FCS Squad beats Mount Paran to Advance to League Title Game

The fifth and sixth grade football team has made it to the Metro 10 League championship game.

On Oct. 19, the Paladins blanked Mount Paran Christian School in the semifinals of the Metro 10 League playoffs, 6-0, in Kennesaw.

With the victory, Fellowship earns a trip to the league championship contest against Whitefield Academy on the road on Oct. 22.

The Paladins improved to 5-2 with the win. It's the club's second straight victory.

(Photo by Ron Haigler)

Oct. 15 UPDATE

FORFEIT WIN: Friday's game has been cancelled. Fellowship has been awarded a 13-0 forfeit win. The Paladins are now 6-0.


FCS Varsity Football Team to Host Lakeview Academy on Homecoming Night

Don't let the record of the Lakeview Academy football team fool you, according to Al Morrell, head coach of the varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School.

The 5-0 Paladins take on 2-2 Lakeview at Bob Lord Field in a Homecoming Game on Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The game is Fellowship's second straight Region contest, and the first Region game of the season for the Lions (0-2 on the road).

"They are a well coached team," Morrell said. "Their head coach [Lee Shaw] and I go way back. He coached Flowery Branch when I was the head coach at Creekview High School. He is in his first year at Lakeview, but he's already done a great job there. He established great programs at Flowery Branch and Rabun County before retiring in 2018. I expect a good game on Friday."

The Lions, who fell 23-15 at AA Coosa High School on Oct. 9, run a spread offense that is led by a strong dual threat quarterback.

Following a 32-7 loss The Darlington School on Sept. 11, the Lions won a pair of home games – 34-0 over The Walker School on Sept. 25 and 31-12 over Towns County on Oct. 2.

The Paladins will have to pressure the quarterback, slow down their passing game and execute well on offense, according to Morrell. "They throw about half the time," he said.

Fellowship (1-0 in Region games and 2-0 at Bob Lord Field) is coming off three straight road victories. Overall, the Paladins are 17-1 in their last 18 games dating back to the start of the 2019 season. The school is ranked fourth among Private A schools in the combined rankings released by Georgia High School Football Daily.

The Paladins set a school record for points in a game with a 58-7 victory at Saint Francis on Oct. 9 on a rainy night.

"We got off to a bit of a slow start, but other than that the kids played well," Morrell said. "We played a lot of kids. They all had a great time playing on a wet grass field."

The Paladin offense has gained 2,172 yards through five games, while the defense has held opponents to just 292 rushing yards and 1,000 yards overall. The FCS defense has allowed just seven points over the past three contests.

Fellowship has gained 1,621 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns with four backs topping at least 100 yards.

FCS' all-time leading rusher Murphy Reeves leads the team with 62 carries, 799 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, followed by junior Josh Cole with 306 yards on 30 carries with four scores.

Senior Eli Hildebrandt has completed 23-of-36 pass attempts for 420 yards and seven TDs. Sophomore backup quarterback Caleb McMickle has completed seven passes for 131 yards and one score.

Senior Lawson Haigler and sophomore Clay Shepler share the team lead with seven catches. Haigler's 165 reception yards tops the squad, while Shepler ranks second with 125 yards.

Cole is FCS' leading tackler on defense with 12 solo tackles and 25 total stops. Senior Nathan Nardone has registered 24 tackles, including a team-best 19 assisted stops. Senior Caleb McClung also has 25 tackles for Fellowship, which includes 15 assisted tackles to rank second on the team. Cole and sophomore Jayven Hall are tied for third with 13 assisted tackles. Hall has notched 22 tackles overall.

(Photo by Chip Cookston)

First-Round Victory: Lady Paladin Volleyball Team Beats Lakeview Academy to open Region Tourney

The Fellowship Christian School varsity volleyball team pulled out the victory to open the Region 6A Private Volleyball Tournament.

On Oct. 13, the Lady Paladins defeated Lakeview Academy in three sets of the best-of-five match hosted by Saint Francis in Alpharetta.

Fellowship won the first set, 25-13. The team captured the second set, 25-20. The Lady Paladins put the match away with a 25-13 win in the third set.

FCS improves to 11-13 overall with the victory.

In the regular season, the Lady Paladins posted a 4-3 record in Region matches.

Fellowship will face Saint Francis on Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. in the next round at a site to be finalized.

Mr. Consistent: Murphy Reeves is FCS' All-Time Leading Rusher with over 4,000 Yards

Senior Murphy Reeves has been a key contributor for the varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School dating back to his sophomore season.

The senior running back scored three touchdowns and gained 140 yards on nine rushes in a 58-7 win at Saint Francis on Oct. 9. That performance gives him 4,179 yards on 433 carries during his FCS varsity career that dates back to his freshman season in 2017. He is the school's all-time leading rusher.

Through five games in 202, Reeves tops the team with 62 carries, 799 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"Murphy consistently gives us explosive nights running the ball," head coach Al Morrell said. "He's always had tremendous speed and acceleration, but he's also gotten a lot bigger with his work in the weight room. He has size and speed to go with some great talent. He can also catch the football well to make him a true dual threat."

During Reeves' varsity career, the Paladins have posted a 34-8 record.

As a sophomore, Reeves set career records with 176 carries and 1,710 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 176 times last season to match that record and picked up 1,581 yards and 17 touchdowns.

In 2017, Reeves gained 89 yards on 19 attempts with two touchdowns as a freshman.

Reeves also leads Fellowship with 47 career rushing touchdowns and is second with 48 overall TDs. FCS graduate Jack Hardin is tops on the all-time list with 52 total touchdowns, including 32 passing TDs.

(Photo by Chip Cookston)

School-Record Performance: FCS Beats Saint Francis to Set Single-Game Varsity Football Point Record

The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School set a single-season record for points in a game to wrap up a three-game road trip.

The Paladins (5-0 overall) opened its Region schedule with a 58-7 victory at Saint Francis on Oct. 9 on a very rainy night in Alpharetta. It was the most points a Fellowship varsity football team has scored in a game in school history. The previous record was set in a 57-20 win The Walker School on Sept. 7, 2018.

The Paladins set the home record for most points in a game earlier this season with a 54-28 win over First Baptist Academy of Naples, Fla., at Bob Lord Field on Sept.11.

On Friday night at Saint Francis, the Paladins broke open a close game with five second-quarter touchdowns to take a 41-7 halftime lead. It was the 99th varsity football victory in school history for the FCS team.

"We played very well on both sides of the ball," head coach Al Morrell said. "Despite the weather conditions, we remained focused and played well. It was a great way to begin our Region schedule. Our defense has been playing well, and once again our run game was terrific. And we were able to play some of the younger kids and give them Region game experience. Overall we were proud of the boys."

The Paladins led the Knights in yardage, 473-138 in the game. FCS out gained Saint Francis 314-126 on the ground and 159-12 in the air.

A total of 21 players recorded at least one tackle at Saint Francis. Sophomore Jayven Hall led the way with five assisted stops and seven total tackles. Senior Caleb McClung shared the lead with three solo tackles and finished with five total stops. Junior Josh Cole also recorded three solo tackles.

On offense, senior Murphy Reeves led the way with three rushing touchdowns and 140 yards on nine carries.

Senior Lawson Haigler caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter and recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the second quarter. Senior Eli Hildebrandt (38 yards), Cole (27 yards) and sophomore Nick Persiano (22 yards) all added rushing touchdowns for FCS, which led 51-0 through three quarters.

Reeves scored the first TD on a 62-yard sprint to the end zone to open the second half.

Senior Matt Rodgers, who had five extra-point kicks, booted a 34-yard field goal with 3:35 left in third quarter to make it 51-0.

Following Cole's very long kickoff return, Persiano scored on a run from 22 yards out with 9:20 to play. Freshman Nathan Chapman booted the extra point that made the score 58-7.

The Knights scored on a 27-yard TD run with 10:10 to play.

In the first half, Haigler connected with Hildebrandt on a 71-yard TD pass in the first quarter, followed in the second by a pair of TD runs for Reeves (five and 10 yards), Haigler's seven-yard fumble recovery in the end zone, Hildebrandt's 38 QB keeper and Cole's touchdown sprint.

Hildebrandt connected on 3-of-7 pass attempts for 71 yards. Cole led the club with two catches and 88 reception yards. Cole also gained 74 yards on seven carries, while Hildebrandt added 39 on a pair of rushes.

The Paladins enter next week's homecoming game against Lakeview Academy with a 99-83 all-time varsity football record. The school is 61-25 under Morrell's direction.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Fellowship Travels to Saint Francis Friday Night for Region Opener to Wrap up 3-Game Road Stretch

The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School begins a stretch of four consecutive Region games on Friday night (Oct. 9) at Saint Francis. Kick off for the game in Alpharetta is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Paladins enter the contest on a four-game win streak, and have won 16 out of their last 17 contests.

On Oct. 2, FCS blanked North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw, 27-0, and the Knights posted a 35-7 victory over Lumpkin County at home.

Overall, Saint Francis is 1-3 this season. The Paladins own a 6-0 all-time record in varsity football over the Knights, who are 1-1 at home in 2020.

"They graduated a lot of seniors from last year's team, so they're young but are well coached," head coach Al Morrell said. "This is an important time for us to play well during this stretch [of Region games]. We work week-to-week to get better. To reach our goals we have to keep on improving each game. We are coming off a very big game, so there's always a chance [for a letdown] playing a younger team, but the boys will be ready. They are excited to play Friday. When we prepare each week, we focus on ourselves and our team goals."

Through four games, the Paladins have out gained their opponents, 1,699 yards to 862. That includes a 1,307 to 166 yard advantage on the ground. Fellowship quarterbacks have tossed the ball for 392 yards through four games, while opponents have gained 696 passing yards through the air.

The Paladin defense has notched back-to-back shutouts, including a 42-0 victory at The B.E.S.T. Academy in Atlanta on Sept. 25.

For the third consecutive season Murphy Reeves, a senior running back, leads the Paladin run game. Through four games he tops the team with 53 carries, 659 yards and seven touchdowns rushing the ball.

Junior Josh Cole has collected 232 yards on 23 carries with three TDs on the ground, while senior Lawson Haigler has earned 229 rushing yards on 20 attempts with three scores.

Senior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt has completed 20-of-29 pass attempts for 261 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore Caleb McMickle has thrown for 131 yards (7-for-12) and one touchdown.

Sophomore Clay Shepler tops Fellowship with seven catches and 125 reception yards. Haigler is next with five grabs for 94 yards.

Senior Josh McLaughlin has three receptions for 54 yards and leads the team with three TD catches, while Cole has recorded four catches for 32 yards and senior Jordan Brewer has three catches for 36 yards. Cole has grabbed two TD passes, while both Brewer and Reeves have each registered one.

On the defensive side, Cole tops the team with nine solo tackles and 22 total stops. Seniors Nathan Nardone (team-high 15 assists) and Caleb McClung (six solo tackles, 13 assists) both have registered 19 tackles.

Junior Joey Archer has recorded a team-high seven tackles for a loss, while sophomore Sean Sargent has notched six tackles for a loss. Sophomore Kyle Elphick has picked off a team-best two passes, while Cole and Brewer have one apiece.

(Photos by Milo Falcon)

Fellowship Posts Varsity Football Win Over Previously Unbeaten NCCS on the Road

Once again, depth at running back and tough defense propelled Fellowship Christian School to a victory.

It was pretty important the Fellowship varsity football squad accomplished both as it faced its toughest opponent of the season. The Paladins improved to 4-0 overall with a 27-0 win over previously undefeated North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw on Oct. 2.

"It was a great win," head coach Al Morrell said. "We needed an outstanding game to beat them, and our team delivered. We had a great game on both sides of the ball, and we beat a very good football team. Our defense really defended the triple option well and forced them to throw the ball some. But we contained them. We are heading into the Region schedule with confidence."

Seniors Murphy Reeves and Lawson Haigler and juniors Josh Cole and Garrett Wagner all scored rushing touchdowns as FCS built up leads of 13-0 after the first quarter and 21-0 through three quarters.

The Paladins rushed for a season-high 403 yards as a team, led by Reeves' 155 yards on 15 attempts. Cole added 92 yards on nine carries, while Haigler added 78 on eight rushes.

"We ran the ball very well again," Morrell said. "It's a team effort. The backs run well, but they also block well for each other. And the coaches and I are very happy with how our line has progressed this season. They have done a great job."

The last time that FCS and NCCS met was in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private School Championships at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 22, 2019. The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Paladins posted a 14-0 victory.

With Friday's win, Fellowship has improved to 4-0 all-time against the Eagles in varsity football action. The Paladins entered the game ranked fifth in the combined state rankings released this week by the Georgia High School Football daily, one spot ahead of the Eagles, now 4-1.

On Friday night, Cole's touchdown and senior Matt Rodgers' extra-point kick gave the Paladins a 7-0 lead at 9:30 of the first quarter. Wagner's five-yard run with nine seconds left in the opening quarter put FCS ahead 13-0.

Following a scoreless second quarter, the Paladins got back on the scoreboard again with Reeves' 18-yard scoring run and Cole's two-point conversion run with 4:40 left in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Haigler bounced outside and ran into the right corner of the end zone for a 22-yard score to cap an 83-yard drive. The kick was no good, but FCS led 27-0 with 8:30 to play.

The Paladins (2-0 on the road this season) out gained NCCS in the game, 449-176. That included a 403-51 advantage in the ground game.

Sophomore Jayven Hall led the Paladin defense with four solo stops and eight total tackles. Sophomore Sean Sargent, junior Joey Archer and Cole all recorded three solo tackle apiece. Cole added four assisted stops to give him seven total tackles for the game.

Senior Caleb McClung recovered a fumble for FCS, which also blocked a punt.

Fellowship begins a stretch of four straight Region games at Saint Francis on Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. That contest ends a three-game road trip for Fellowship.

(Photos by Milo Falcon)

Varsity Fellowship Football Team Facing Tough Test at NCCS

Friday's crossover matchup between the varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School and North Cobb Christian School will likely have a post-season feel.

The last time that FCS and NCCS met was in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private School Championships at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 22, 2019. The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Paladins posted a 14-0 victory to improve to 3-0 all-time against the Eagles in varsity football action.

Kickoff for the game in Kennesaw on Oct. 2 is slated for 7:30 p.m.

"We play another top 10 team in the state rankings, and it's another opportunity for us to show everyone what we can do," head coach Al Morrell said. "They are a very good football team. They'll be the best opponent of the season for us so far. They're very similar to last year's team, but they might even be a little better. We're in for a fight."

The Eagles (4-0 overall) are ranked sixth in the combined state rankings released this week by the Georgia High School Football daily, one spot behind the 3-0 Paladins.

"They run the triple option," Morrell said. "They have speed and most of their players back from last year. They are also very big and physical up front. It's a different offense to defend. We have to play assignment football and cover the dive back, quarterback and pitch man."

The Paladins, who gained a season-high 245 yards and four touchdowns through the air in last Friday's 42-0 victory at The B.E.S.T. Academy, have out gained their opponents 1,250 yards to 686 this season. That includes a remarkable 904-115 advantage on the ground.

"We have to be balanced on Friday," Morrell said. "As we go through the schedule we can't just run the ball. They saw us pass in the film of Friday's game, so they know we can throw. That will keep them guessing. Last week gave us confidence in our passing game."

Senior Eli Hildebrandt and sophomore Caleb McMickle have combined for 346 yards and seven touchdowns through the air this season. Sophomore Clay Shepler tops the Paladins with seven catches and 125 reception yards. Senior Lawson Haigler has grabbed three passes for 60 yards, while senior Josh McLaughlin leads the team with three TD catches and junior Josh Cole has grabbed two passes for scores.

Senior Murphy Reeves tops FCS runners with 504 yards, 38 carries and six rushing TDs. Haigler is next with 151 yards on 12 attempts, while Cole has 140 yards on 14 rushes.

A group of four Paladins share the team lead with 15 tackles – junior Garrett Wagner, Cole and seniors Caleb McClung and Nathan Nardone.

Nardone's 12 assisted tackles top the team, while Cole has recorded six solo stops to lead the squad. Wagner has registered 11 assisted stops, while McClung has five solo tackles and 10 assists.

Sophomore Kyle Elphick has intercepted two passes for scores to lead Fellowship. Senor Jordan Brewer and Cole have each recorded one interception.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Lady Paladin JV Volleyball Team Splits Pair; Improves to 10-9

The Fellowship Christian School JV volleyball club split a pair of matches on Sept. 28.

The Lady Paladins faced both 6A Cambridge High School and 5A Northview High School at Cambridge.

FCS defeated Northview in two sets, but fell to Cambridge in three sets, 1-2.

Overall, Fellowship has posted a 10-9 record. The team has three matches remaining on its schedule.

FCS QBs Throw 4 TD Passes in Shutout Victory; School is Now 3-0 in Varsity Football in 2020

The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School stepped up its passing game a notch in its road opener.

Through the first two games, the Paladins gained 84 yards through the air, but in a 42-0 victory over The B.E.S.T. Academy of Atlanta at Grady Stadium on Sept. 25 FCS quarterbacks threw for a season-high 245 yards and four touchdowns.

With the victory, the Paladins improved to 3-0 this season and 97-83 all-time in varsity football.

"We knew we had the opportunity to throw the ball more tonight," Al Morrell said following his 59th win as Paladins' head coach. "We thought we'd open it up. Eli [Hildebrandt] threw the ball great in the first half, and Caleb [McMickle] did a great job in the second half."

Hildebrandt, a senior, completed 11-of-14 pass attempts for 148 yards and threw three touchdown passes to seniors Jordan Brewer, Josh McLaughlin and Murphy Reeves as the Paladins built up a 35-0 halftime lead.

The Paladins finished with a season-high 507 yards, including 245 on the ground. Reeves led Fellowship rushing with 104 yards on eight carries. He had a pair of TD runs as well, both in the first half.

"Murphy had another explosive night," Morrell said. "He had big night running and catching the ball. He's always had tremendous speed and acceleration, but he's also gotten a lot bigger with his work in the weight room. He has size and speed to go with some great talent."

McLaughlin caught a TD pass from McMickle, a sophomore, in the third quarter to close out the game's scoring. McMickle completed 4-of-5 pass attempts for 114 yards and one score. Sophomore Clay Shepler caught a team-high six passes for 114 reception yards that also topped the squad.

FCS has now 15 out of its last 16 contests dating back to the start of the 2019 season.

On Friday at Grady, Murphy scored from 39 yards out on the first play scrimmage for his first rushing TD of the game. Senior Matt Rodgers booted the first of seven straight extra-point kicks for the Paladins.

Following the Eagles' third punt of the first quarter, Hildebrandt and Brewer connected on a 15-yard TD pass at 4:11.

After another punt, Reeves showed his speed as he bounced outside to score from 27 yards out to give FCS a 21-0 lead later in the first quarter.

Just 56 seconds into the second quarter, Hildebrandt completed a 25-yard TD pass to Reeves.

Fellowship's fifth touchdown came on a 10-yard completion from Hildebrandt to McLaughlin with 2:57 to go in the first half.

It was the first shutout of the season for the Paladin defense, which allowed a season-low 56 yards and forced nine punts. FCS held the Eagles to minus-30 rushing yards and just 86 in the air.

"Our defensive line played better than their offensive line," Morrell said. "We dominated up front. Their quarterback was very good, but we pushed him a bit. We really had a lot of good pressure. It was a great team effort on defense."

Seniors Caleb McClung (three tackles, three assists) and Nathan Nardone (two tackles, four assists) shared the team lead with six total tackles apiece.

While the Paladins played very well, the performance wasn't perfect as Reeves lost a fumble, Rodgers missed a 22-yard field goal attempt and senior Lawson Haigler's 92-yard catch and run for a touchdown in the third quarter was called back due to a penalty.

"Overall, we had a very good game," Morrell said. "It always feels good [to go 3-0]. We are taking them one game as a time. The big one is next week [at North Cobb Christian School]. They are a great team we beat in the state playoffs last year. It was 0-0 at halftime and we won 14-0. Once again this year they're a very good football team."

Kickoff in Acworth is 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 2.

(Photos by Chip Cookston and David Lowery)

Headed to Atlanta: Varsity Football Paladin Team Back in Action After Week Off

The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School returns to action this week after cancelling last week's home game.

FCS, who did not face Trinity Christian School at Bob Lord Field on Sept. 18, enters this week's game against The B.E.S.T. Academy of Atlanta with wins in 14 out of its last 15 contests dating back to the start of the 2019 season. Kick off for Friday's game at Grady Stadium in Atlanta at 5:30 p.m.

The Paladins improved to 2-0 with a record-breaking 54-28 victory over First Baptist Academy of Naples at Bob Lord Field on Sept. 11 to win its second straight contest to begin the 2020 campaign. It was the most points a Fellowship varsity football team has scored in a home game.

"The kids are excited about getting back on the field," said Al Morrell, who's posted a 58-25 all-time record as FCS' head coach. "We look forward to it. We've had a full squad at practice all week. The kids are excited to play at Grady Stadium."

In the consensus of five polls – Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Georgia High School Football Daily, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Score Atlanta, Maxwell Ratings and MaxPreps – Fellowship is ranked fifth among Class A Private schools around Georgia.

B.E.S.T. Academy, a Class A public school in Atlanta, enters the game with a 1-0 record.

"They are very big," Morrell said. "They have several 300-plus pound linemen. They also have speed with multiple offensive sets."

The Paladins will have to match the Eagles physical play up front, execute on offense and defense, run the ball well and mix in the pass, according to Morrell.

Through two games, Fellowship has outgained its opponents 716-630. Overall, FCS has gained 632 yards on the ground and has allowed just 145 rushing yards. But the Paladin defense has given up 485 yards through the air.

Senior Murphy Reeves leads the way for the Paladins on the ground with 400 yards and four touchdowns on just 30 carries, including 203 yards on seven rushes against First Baptist. Junior Josh Cole has gained 94 rushing yards (11 carries) and has caught a team-high three passes for 20 yards. Cole has two rushing touchdowns and two TD catches this season.

Senior Lawson Haigler is next on the FCS squad with 93 yards on the ground on seven carries, and has two scores.

"We saw big improvement in our offensive line [from game one to game two]," Morrell said. "We have talented backs. When the line blocks well, we have the chance to run well and gain a lot of yards."

Senior Josh McLaughlin leads the Paladins with 35 reception yards (all on one TD catch). Senior Eli Hildebrandt has completed 6-of-10 pass attempts for 67 yards.

"Our passing game is making progress," Morrell said. "We'll have to have more balance to beat teams as the season moves on."

In the 43-21 victory over Christian Heritage at home on Sept. 4, the Paladins rallied from a 14-2 halftime deficit. Against the Lions, the Paladins exploded to a 41-7 halftime lead against First Baptist.

Cole tops the Paladins with 13 total tackles and shares first on the team with five solo stops and eight assists.

Junior Garrett Wagner and senior Joey Archer share second on the squad with 10 tackles apiece.

Sophomore Kyle Elphick has returned two interceptions for scores. Cole has added an 80-yard INT return, and senior Jordan Brewer has also collected an interception.

(Photos by Milo Falcon)

FCS Varsity Volleyball Team takes Pair of Matches at King's Ridge

The Fellowship Christian School varsity volleyball team won two matches at King's Ridge Christian School.

On Sept. 22 in Alpharetta, FCS posted two Region victories.

In the second match of the evening, Fellowship posted a 25-8, 25-5 victory over King's Ridge.

With both wins, the Lady Paladins improved to 4-2 in Region matches. The team improved to 9-9 overall.

The Lady Paladins defeated Whitefield Academy to begin the night.

FCS defeated Whitefield in the first set, 25-17. The Lady Paladins captured the second set, 25-18.

"We struggled a bit with Whitefield, but we were able to pull out a W," head coach Samantha Thom said. "Against King's Ridge we played great and did not back down."

FCS Varsity and JV Volleyball Teams Compete in Play Date Events

The Fellowship Christian School varsity volleyball team placed second at the Lithia Springs play date tournament on Sept. 12.

FCS (4-9 overall) traveled to Douglas County for the tourney. Overall, the team went 2-2 at the play date.

The Fellowship Christian School JV volleyball club participated in the Providence Christian Academy Play Date on Sept. 12.

The Lady Paladins finished 2-2 at the play date event. Overall, Fellowship has notched an 8-8 record, including a 7-5 mark in play dates this season.

Week 2 Victory: Paladins Offense Shines in 54-28 Varsity Football Win over First Baptist Academy of Florida

The first half of the Fellowship Christian School varsity football game on Friday night was nothing like week one.

The Paladins opened up 41-7 halftime lead en route to a 54-28 victory over First Baptist Academy of Naples, Fla., at Bob Lord Field on Sept. 11. It was the fourth-highest single-game point total in FCS varsity football history and the most ever points in a home game. The Paladins posted a 57-20 win at The Walker School on Sept. 7, 2018, notched a 56-6 win at Southwest Atlanta Christian on Nov. 9, 2012 and earned a 55-14 win at Mount Pisgah Christian on Oct. 25, 2019.

In a week one victory over Christian Heritage, 43-14, Fellowship rallied from a 14-2 halftime deficit to out score the Lions, 41-7, in the second half. This time the team held a huge halftime lead.

"We started off very strong," head coach Al Morrell said. "The line blocked well. Murphy scored on the first play from scrimmage. We ran the ball well, and were also able to pass the ball effectively as well. It was a great win for our program. We showed offensive balance."

The Paladins' game plan was to slow down a talented First Baptist quarterback, pick up their defensive blitzes and play with confidence.

"We played very well on both sides of the ball," Morrell said. "To their credit, they never gave up and fought us to the end of the game. I thought our defense played well overall. It was nice as we were able to play a lot of guys tonight and give some of the younger kids solid game experience."

Reeves, who led the Paladin offense with 203 yards on the ground, took the pitch on the first play from scrimmage as Paladin offensive shifted and turned on the speed on the way to a 59-yard TD run. Senior Matt Rodgers kicked the first of six extra-point kicks to give the Paladins a 7-0 lead.

Fellowship went on to open up a 27-0 first quarter lead.

Senior Lawson Haigler scored on a 13-yard run at 9:43, senior Josh McLaughlin hauled in a 35-yard TD pass from senior Eli Hildebrandt at 4:56 and junior Josh Cole popped outside to find the end zone from 5 yards out at 1:04.

For the second straight game, sophomore Kyle Elphick scored on a Pick Six. This time it came from 60 yards out just 34 seconds into the second quarter.

Following a Lion TD pass, Reeves scored again on a spectacular 71-yard scoring sprint that featured several stellar blocks. The Paladins led 41-7 with 2:49 to go in the first half.

In the second half, Cole scored twice. After First Baptist scored at 9:11 of the third on a 4-yard run, Cole grabbed a pass from Hildebrandt and scored from 5 yards out.

He capped the Paladin scoring on an 80-yard interception return with 1:36 left in the third quarter. The quarter ended with Fellowship holding a 54-14 lead.

The Lions scored twice in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run at 10:32 and a 63-yard TD pass at 5:38.

Overall, Cole led Fellowship with three touchdowns, while Reeves had two.

Reeves gained 197 yards on the ground in the victory over Christian Heritage, while Haigler picked up 61 and Cole added 55 in week one. Unofficially, Reeves topped his week one rushing total against First Baptist.

Hildebrandt has picked up three touchdown passes in two games for Fellowship, which hosts Trinity Christian School on Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. FCS entered Friday's games ranked fifth and Trinity ninth among Class A private schools in the High School Football Daily rankings.

On Friday night, the Paladins were out gained by 407-385. FCS did out gain the Lions on the ground, 310-97. First Baptist threw for 310 yards, while Hildebrandt and sophomore Caleb McMickle combined for 75 yards in the air.

Reeves ran seven times for 203 yards. Cole gained 39 yards on four attempts and Haigler had 32 on three.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)



Season-Opener: FCS Battles Hard in Loss to Mount Vernon

The first game for the JV football club from Fellowship Christian School went right down to the wire.

The Paladins battled back from a 16-0 deficit before falling 16-12 to Mount Vernon Presbyterian School at Bob Lord Field on Sept. 10.

"We had a great second half on both offense and defense," coach Jimmy Stainback said. "We had a last-second [apparent] game-winning touchdown catch called back due to a player's step out of bounds. We had a great effort from Zak Thomas on both sides of the ball. He caught and ran the ball well, and made some key tackles."

Sophomore Jonathan Long scored on a 19-yard run at 3:18 of the third quarter for Fellowship.

Freshman Noah Falcon scored on a 4th-and-goal play from the 1-yard-line with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter to pull the Paladins within four points. The Paladins were stopped on the 2-point conversion play after both touchdowns.

Following a Mustang punt, Fellowship got the ball back for a finale time but couldn't pull ahead.

Following a scoreless first quarter, Mount Vernon scored twice in the second quarter on a 59- and 50-yard TD passes.

(Photo by Milo Falcon)

Week 2 Preview: Paladins Host First Baptist Academy of Naples, Fla.

The Fellowship Christian School varsity football team plays its second game of the 2020 season on Friday night (Sept. 11) against a team from Florida.

The Paladins, coming off a 43-21 comeback victory over Christian Heritage on Sept. 4, faces First Baptist Academy of Naples, Fla., at Bob Lord Field on Sept. 11. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. The Paladins enter the contest the fifth-ranked Class A private school team in Georgia High School Football Daily rankings.

"We have exchanged videos," head coach Al Morrell said. "Each of us has played a game. The video was enough to get started [on a game plan]. They have a great tradition there. They are coming off a 10-1 season. And they won their first game like we did."

The keys to the match up are pretty simple for Morrell's team.

"Once again, like last week, the guy we have to stop is the quarterback," he said. "He throws about half the time, but runs even better than he throws. He's a dual threat like the quarterback from Christian Heritage. His top two targets are 82 and 11."

Morrell said the FCS offense is preparing for a lot of blitzes. "We'll need to pick up the blitzes and block well," he said.

Battling back from 14-2 deficit to defeat the Lions on Friday for the first time in Fellowship Christian School was a confidence boost for a team coming off a 12-1 season and a trip to the GHSA Class A Private School Championships.

"Our kids love to play football," Morrell said. "They love the game and play with a lot of confidence. We had a really slow start on Friday, but it was a big comeback."

Fellowship showed the importance of pre-season conditioning against Christian Heritage. On a hot and humid night, the Paladins stayed strong as their opponent showed signs of getting tired in the second half on Friday.

"Conditioning is always important," Morrell said. "But with heat and humidity, it's even more important. Our team expended a lot of energy on Friday, but we showed our endurance."

The Paladins scored 41 second-half points on the way to a 43-21 victory over the Lions in a Region crossover contest. FCS out scored the Lions – who led 14-2 at halftime – 41-7 in the second half.

Senior running back Murphy Reeves scored two rushing touchdowns, junior running back Josh Cole caught a touchdown and ran for another score, while senior Lawson Haigler scored a rushing TD in that contest.

Sophomore Kyle Elphick returned an interception 90 yards for a score, and sophomore Jayven Hall made a tackle for a safety.

(Photos by Chip Cookston and Milo Falcon)

Second-Half Surge Leads Paladins to First-Ever Varsity Football Victory over Christian Heritage

The speech was pretty simple, but it led to outstanding results.

"We could see they were gassed at the end of the first half," head coach Al Morrell said following Fellowship Christian School's first-ever varsity football win over Christian Heritage. "So we told the boys to come out, relax and play our game. The coordinators made some great adjustments at halftime, and we got rolling in the second half."

And how.

The Paladins scored 41 second-half points on the way to a 43-21 victory over the Lions in a Region crossover contest to kick off the 2020 season on Sept. 4 at Bob Lord Field. FCS out scored the Lions – who led 14-2 at halftime – 41-7 in the second half.

Morrell said it was gratifying to post the school's first-ever varsity football win over Christian Heritage in the seventh all-time meeting between the schools.

"They are a talented football team," Morrell said. "We were able to spread the ball around [running] in the second half. We have depth at running back. They made amazing blocks for each other and had some great runs. Our line also played better in the second half as well. Our defense was strong too."

Fellowship trailed 14-2 at halftime. One of the team's first-half highlights in a tough first half was sophomore Jayven Hall's safety with 3:20 left in the half to cut the Lions' lead to 12 points (FCS downed a punt inside the 1-yard-line right before the safety). A blocked Christian Heritage field-goal attempt at 9:08 was another bright spot for Fellowship.

But the Paladins came out very strong in the second half, scoring on all three of its possessions and outgaining Christian Heritage, 163-35 unofficially, in the quarter.

Senior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt hit junior Josh Cole in the corner of the end zone for a 6-yard TD catch to open the second-half scoring. It capped a 14-play, 68-yard drive that took up nearly six minutes and featured several strong runs by senior Murphy Reeves and Cole. Senior Matt Rodgers kicked the first of his five extra points to make it 14-9.

The FCS defense forced a Lion punt three plays later, and Reeves dazzled the fans in the stands with an impressive 52-yard touchdown run seconds later that included several broken tackles downfield and a cutback into the end zone. That gave FCS its first lead of the contest, 16-14, at 3:12 of the third quarter.

Senior Cole Chapman forced a quarterback fumble and recovered the ball on Christian Heritage's third play from scrimmage after receiving the kickoff following Reeves' score.

On the next play from scrimmage, senior Lawson Haigler followed some timely blocks and bounced outside to the right to score on another highlight-reel TD run. That gave Fellowship a 23-14 lead.

Christian Heritage scored on its next possession. The Lions had a 31-yard TD pass play and extra-point kick to pull within 23-21 just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter.

But the Paladins were up to the task as Reeves scored on another run – this one from 57 yards out – four plays from scrimmage later. It capped a 69-yard drive. Rodgers' extra-point kick came from 5-yard yards further out after a Paladin motion penalty. The home team led 30-21.

Following that score the team's traded turnovers. Senior Jordan Brewer picked off a Lion pass at 9:17, but the Paladins fumbled the ball on the next play.

Fellowship's defense forced another punt following a sack by seniors Joey Archer and Nathan Nardone on a third-and 14 play from the Lion 24-yard-line with 7:09 to play.

It was Cole's turn for a strong touchdown run next. On the next drive's fifth play, Cole reached the outside quickly and found the left side of the end zone from 12 yards out with 5:39 to play. The score was 37-21.

Sophomore Kyle Elphick stepped in front on a Lion receiver picked off the ball and scored on a stellar 90-yard sprint to the end zone with 3:20 to play. That impressive play helped the Paladins pick up 193 total yards in the fourth quarter.

Christian Heritage's first half scores came in the first quarter on a pair of 1-yard runs to cap long drives at 7:58 and 3:42. Unofficially, the Paladins were out gained 156-59 in the first half.

In its next game, Fellowship faces First Baptist Academy of Naples, Fla., on Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Another game has been added to the schedule as 5A Clarkston High School cancelled football this season and the game between the schools on Oct. 23. The Paladins will face 7A Dunwoody High School at home on Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

(Photos by Chip Cookston and Milo Falcon)

FCS Seeks First Varsity Football Win over Christian Heritage

The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School has grown a lot during the tutelage of head coach Al Morrell.

Morrell, who has won more than 100 football games as a varsity head coach, seeks his first career victory over Christian Heritage. The Lions visit Bob Lord Field on Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Paladins' 2020 season.

Over the past 10 years, FCS is rank among the Class A football programs with the most victories, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

In fact, Fellowship is coming off a 12-1 season and a trip to the semifinals of the GHSA Class A Private School Championships. The Paladins lost to Wesleyan School in the state semifinals last fall, one game after the Wolves' ended Christian Heritage's season in the quarterfinals.

"We have a very talented football team," Morrell said. "We have a very special senior class this year for sure. They love football, they work hard and they do the right things. In fact, this class is comparable to 2016 when we graduate Jack Hardin and Andrew Johnson. That year we made it to the state finals. We hope to match that classes' intensity."

Fellowship's group of 17 seniors includes Jackson Albee (defensive end/offensive line), Joey Archer (defensive end/quarterback), Jordan Brewer (defensive back/wide receiver), Cole Chapman (defensive end/offensive line), Lawson Haigler (outside linebacker and running back), Eli Hildebrandt (defensive back/quarterback), Cade Kammerer (defensive tackle/offensive line), Caleb McClung (linebacker/offensive lineman), Josh McLaughlin (defensive back/wide receiver), Nathan Nardone (linebacker/offensive line), Brady Niblock (defensive end/tight end), Charlie Patterson (defensive tackle/offensive line), Murphy Reeves (defensive end/running back), Reid Robinson (defensive tackle/offensive line), Brad Rodgers (defensive end/running back), Matt Rodgers (kicker) and Michael Washburne (defensive back and wide receiver).

Morrell has high expectations again this year, but the veteran coach never strays too far from his "take it one game at a time" approach.

However, the first game is very important for the Paladins, who are 0-6 against Christian Heritage in varsity football. FCS seeks its first-ever win over the Lions, who have beaten Morrell's teams a couple of times in his early days as the Paladin head coach.

"We're focused on this team," Morrell said. "They are a very good football team that has everyone but three kids back from last year's team that made it to the state quarterfinals, where Wesleyan beat them. They continue to be a good program. They struggled for a couple of years, but they are very good again."

The keys to Friday's game for Fellowship will be to contain three players – the Lions quarterback, top wide receiver and No. 1 running back.

"No. 10 is a free safety and wide receiver for them," Morrell said. "They snap the ball directly to him in the Wildcat offense. He's a big kid and an all-state player. Their quarterback, No. 2, is a dual threat. He can throw and run. No. 6, their running back, who also plays linebacker, is a great runner too."

In addition to "slowing down" that trio on defense, the Paladin offense will have to execute well, sustain drives and protect the football.

"We have to play both ways well up front," Morrell said. "Their offensive and defensive lines are basically the same kids. They are all big and strong, and play well on both sides of the ball."

In addition to a great group of seniors, the Fellowship roster of 61 includes six juniors, 20 sophomores and 18 freshmen.

(File photos by Chip Cookston)

Football Attendance Protocol and FCS Athletic Update

Paladin Nation:

Wow! The first two weeks of school are in the books, and now we prepare to turn the page to September. With the exception of football, fall sports are in full swing, and our football teams begin competition this week. It has been a true blessing seeing athletics back in action at FCS!

As has been the case since summer workouts began on June 8th, our athletes, coaches, and families have done everything we have asked, implementing our safety protocols and procedures. With the exception of a few isolated cases, our teams have managed to be at full participation since the beginning of summer. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement. It is much appreciated.

In light of stadium capacity considerations, we have made the difficult decision to begin the season not allowing students or general admission at home games.

We are limiting our attendees for the first and possibly the second football game to only families of the athletes involved - players, trainers, cheerleaders, and film crew members. Admission will be limited to only their parents, siblings, and grandparents. We are also allowing the coaches' families to attend as well - spouse, children, and parents. Lastly, school administration and their families will be allowed to attend. All Paladin fans can watch on our Livestream.

Several schools are implementing capacities of 25-30%. Based on our roster sizes and what I expect in attendance from our athlete and coaching staff families, these attendees alone could account for 30% capacity of our stadium. When I add in the average size of the teams we play and the families of their players, cheerleaders, and trainers, we will most likely be pushing 50% capacity in our stadium. That, combined with the fact that the stadium only has bleachers on one side, 50% capacity will most likely have people sitting closer to one another than we would prefer.

We will be screening attendees with temperature checks, and practicing physical distancing when possible. We will require face coverings as you enter the stadium and make your way to your seats. Once in your seats, I hope to allow face coverings to be down, and only require them to be up when moving around the stadium if physical distancing is not possible. If we push 50% capacity given our opponent and how many people they have in attendance, we may have to reconsider this and require face coverings at all times.

As this is our first football game, we are trying to be as safe and cautious as possible. These are the same capacities and protocols we have implemented for volleyball and softball so far this season. For the most part, things have gone well. Additionally, the region is trying to create some consistency among the venues so that we are pretty much following the same logic. However, two schools have announced that they are not allowing any fans. We plan to meet the week after our first football games to discuss how things went and determine if any adjustments need to be made for football or any other sports since they have been playing since mid-August.

For away games, the opposing host team sets policies and protocols. Based on that, we will update our families each week on the attendance protocol.

These are interesting times, and we are trying to accommodate the families who are most connected to the competing athletes and coaches. We are monitoring trends and following the advice and recommendations of GHSA (High School Athletic Association for Georgia) for how best to host our athletic competitions. My prayer is that we will be able to expand our capacity at games as the season progresses. However, ultimately, the games are for the students, and my main goal is to do everything we can to allow them to participate by attending. So with that being our focus, I would welcome your prayers for safety and protection as move forward in September when all our teams will be competing, often with multiple games per day.

Thank you for your continued support of our athletic program. You can view a full Athletic Update, by clicking here.

Have a great week, Go FCS Paladins!

David Lowery

Director of Athletics


Solid Results: Lady Paladins Take Home Third at Cherokee Christian Tournament

The Fellowship Christian School JV volleyball club brought home the third-place trophy on Aug. 29.

The Lady Paladins won five matches and placed third at the Cherokee Christian School Volleyball Tournament.

"Anna Tweedy was player of the tournament for us," head coach Allison Storey said. "It was a good tournament for us. We won five matches."

(Photo submitted by Allison Storey)

FCS Volleyball Squad Downs Cherokee Christian in 3 Sets

The Fellowship Christian School varsity volleyball team came up victorious in its third match of the season.

At Paladin Gym on Aug. 18, the Lady Paladins defeated Cherokee Christian School in the best-of-five match.

Fellowship opened the evening with a 25-17 win in the first set. FCS cruised to a 25-13 win in the second.

The Lady Paladins also took the third set, 25-21.

Fellowship improved to 1-2 overall with the victory.

New Look Lady Paladins Open Season on Aug. 18 Against Christian Heritage

The Fellowship Christian School varsity softball team will have an influx of newcomers this season.

"Our team will be freshman and sophomore heavy," head coach Shawn Oliver said. "That's good for our future. This team will have 10 or 11 girls, and six are brand-new. They will learn from me, I'll learn from them and they'll learn the game. But our future is bright."

Due to so many new faces, Oliver changed the schedule a bit this season.

The team will have games on Tuesdays and Thursdays to allow for more practices. That will give the veteran baseball and softball coach more time for instruction and provide an opportunity for these new players to learn on the field.

"We are trying to replicate game situations in practice," Oliver said during an interview on Aug. 14. "So far we've had seven days of practice, and are making strides. I was careful with our schedule. We need more practices between our games."

How do you coach the newcomers differently than veteran players?

"They don't know what they don't know," Oliver said. "You assume they don't know it, so you have to start from square one. It helps that I do teach many of these girls as well. So they know me as a teacher and a coach."

The Lady Paladins won four games in 2018 and twice last season, and returns three senior leaders from those teams: Caroline Gryder, Olivia Paxton and Norah Wallace. The team's other senior is newcomer Avery Scherer.

"Caroline has been with the program for three years, and both Norah and Olivia have been here two years each," Oliver said. "We will be young, but we are athletic. They are all good athletes. They may not be experienced softball players but they have athletic ability."

The Regional alignments for 469 schools around the GHSA changed during the offseason.

Fellowship is now part of Class 6-A Private. All the team's games this season are against opponents from the 5-A Private and 7-A Private groups.

The Lady Paladins begin the season against Christian Heritage of Dalton at Paladin Park on Aug. 18 at 5 p.m.

This season, FCS faces The Galloway School, Holy Innocents' Episcopal, Mount Vernon Presbyterian from 5-A, and Christian Heritage, Mount Paran Christian School, North Cobb Christian School and The Walker School from 7-A.

Paladin Runners Prepare for 2020 Season, Girls Team Looks for Fourth Straight Trip to State Meet

The Fellowship Christian School boys and girls high school cross-country program has grown quite a bit this offseason and the expectations are high as the season begins this month.

"Right now we have 36 on the roster," head coach Tom Harrison said. "We could have up to 38 runners. Typically we have 28 or 30. We have a very talented freshman class coming up from middle school, and many sophomore, junior and senior returning runners. It's a good mix and a great group. We have high hopes for the season."

Despite several schedule challenges and changes this summer, Harrison expects the Paladin varsity and JV squads to run in about eight races this season. FCS is slated to open the season on Aug. 22 at the Bob Blastow Meet being held at the McIntosh State Preserve in Whitesburg, Ga.

"Our practices have been going pretty well," Harrison said. "We're dealing with an unsure schedule right now, but we start out with a good outlook. Our girls' team is strong again. We've had some great girls teams over the last few years. We also expect the boys' team to do well. Our goals are like every year, we want to finish in the top four in the Region and qualify for the state meet."

The Fellowship girls have qualified for the state meet the past three years. There's another impressive ongoing streak as FCS runners have qualified for every state meet since 2013 either as an entire team or with an individual runner or two.

Harrison, who was pleased with the team's time trials on Aug. 13, hopes that the postseason streak will continue this year.

"As expected we have a good pool of runners," he said. "We will have plenty of depth for both the varsity and JV teams. We really hope to reach the state meet again. We ran our 5k Time trial yesterday morning [Aug. 13]. This time trial sets the 'baseline' for our meets, and gives us an indication of where the athletes are positioned, early in the season. Because the course they run for the 5K time trial is a challenging course, it gives them a realistic sense of what they will be able to accomplish as they improve and move towards their personal goals, working to achieve peak conditioning later in the season, in time for the postseason races."

Freshmen Tyler Greenwell, and James Smith, sophomore Aubrey Moraitakis and juniors Jacob Cartrett and Garrett Lengefeld, emerged as the team's top five male runners to earn a position on the varsity squad as the season begins.

For the girls, freshman Avery Gilleland, juniors Cate Hardin and Elsa Loechl, and seniors Sami Rickheim and Sophia Mahlke finished in the top five among the girls to land on the varsity squad.

"The positions for the varsity squad are fluid however, and are never guaranteed," Harrison added. "All runners have a chance to work towards a time which would qualify them for a top seven position."

On Aug. 13, 11 of the FCS runners finished their 5K faster this year than the same 5K time trial last year.

"This is a good indicator that we are starting the season in a stronger position then we were last year as we began the season," Harrison said.

The FCS girls cross-country team took home 11th place at the GHSA Class A Private Cross Country Championships held Nov. 2, 2019 at Carrollton High School in Carrollton.

In that race, freshman Elizabeth Bishop, sophomore Elsa Loechl, juniors Sami Rickheim and Sophia Mahlke, and seniors Abby Beard, Charlotte Berg and Priscilla Lorenzo competed against a field of 110 runners from 18 private schools. The leaders for FCS were Rickheim and Beard, who finished 35th and 37th respectively.

The Fellowship girls won the Region title in 2019 as well. In 2018, the girl's team placed ninth at state and second in the Region.

Volleyball Home Opener Slated for Tonight (Aug. 13)

Good Afternoon Paladin Nation!

As you might have heard, fall sports started Tuesday night (Aug. 11) with our varsity and JV volleyball teams traveling to Cherokee. Both teams played well in what has been a quick turnaround with the teams practicing for just over a week. While the games might have looked a little different from the past, I was excited to see the Lady Paladins back in action as in our first athletic competition since March 12. Thank you all for your support in allowing this to happen for our athletes!

As we experienced our first away volleyball match on Tuesday night and approach our home opener Tonight (Aug. 13), I wanted to update everyone on what our region has decided regarding fans at "inside" venues. They are listed below. You will notice some limitations and some additional measures that our region felt best to implement, especially through Labor Day, when we plan to re-evaluate our plans and trends to determine if any changes need to be made. Volleyball had the earliest games scheduled, but the region AD's are also finalizing our suggested protocols for the other fall sports of football, softball, cheerleading, and cross country. More details to follow on those sports in a separate email but wanted to communicate our plans for volleyball first.

1. Spectators – Home and visitor team parents, siblings, and grandparents only; school administration, coaches' spouse, and GHSA pass holders allowed; no admission fee.

The region is trying to manage capacity concerns for inside sports, given the size of some of the gyms in the region; no students to start the season.

2. Entry – Pre-screen all players, coaches, officials, and spectators to include temperature checks before entering the gym. We will route people through the middle school corridor and into the gym, doors will open 45 minutes before the game time.

3. Seating – We have marked areas with a blue strip of tape for seating that allows for some level of physical distancing. Family units can sit closer together; these areas are more of a visual guideline for spectators to help with spacing.

4. Face Coverings – Face coverings are required for all spectators as they enter the building and make their way to the seats. Out of respect to visiting teams and fans, whenever possible, face coverings are recommended during events in indoor arenas.

As an FYI – we are following the suggested recommendations and considerations for the sport of volleyball with regards to the game per the National Federation of High School (NFHS) and the governing body for high school athletics in Georgia, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA). Additionally, Coach Welty and I are working together intending to have middle school athletics mirror what we are doing in high school athletics for consistency purposes.

In all, you will notice some specific measures for the sport of volleyball this year. As a region, we have committed to re-evaluating our protocols the Friday before Labor Day Weekend to determine if any changes are needed. I know that everyone is in a different place related to COVID-19, but my prayer and request is that we would all demonstrate grace in meeting people where they are as individuals and families. Let us all respect others, not knowing their particular personal or family situation. My desire is to take steps to help ensure safety while also allowing our athletes the opportunity to play volleyball.

Thanks in advance for your consideration, support, and prayers! It is greatly appreciated!!

Go FCS Paladins,

David Lowery

Director of Athletics

Paladins Prepare for 2020 Season, Look for Fifth Straight Trip to GHSA Playoffs

Fellowship Christian School head coach Al Morrell hasn't seen anything similar to this offseason during his successful high school football career. Come to think of it, neither has his veteran staff for that matter.

"We take it a day at a time, and a week at a time," said Morrell, who has won 104 games as a varsity head coach. "We still have a lot of question marks. But we'll be ready [when the team plays its first game]."

The Paladins began their official practice schedule on July 27 after several weeks of players getting ready on their own and participating in offseason workouts and training.

"It's going well," Morrell said this weekend about the FCS practices. "We've had great attendance all summer [during off-season workouts]. Practice itself is the same as it always is. The work on the field is the same, but we ask all the players to bring their own water, and we disinfect the footballs and helmets after each practice. We have also been social distancing in the weight room. But they're excited and happy to be back with their buddies on the field."

The team will have extra time to get ready for its season opener after recent changes to the schedule due to updated GHSA guidelines. The Paladins, part a new-look nine-team 6-A Private sub Region, face Christian Heritage of Dalton on Sept. 4 at Bob Lord Field to open the season. Kickoff for the crossover match-up is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Paladins are scheduled to play nine regular-season games in 2020. The Paladins travel to North Cobb Christian School on Oct. 2 in the school's other crossover match-up of 2020.

Fellowship faces Region foes Saint Francis on the road Oct. 9, Lakeview at home on Oct. 16, at King's Ridge Christian School on Oct. 30 and Mount Pisgah Christian School at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 6. In other games, FCS is scheduled to host Trinity Christian School of Sharpsburg Sept. 18, visit Atlanta's BEST Academy (class A public) on Sept. 25, and travel to 5A Clarkston High School on Oct. 23.

"Our non-Region schedule is very strong," Morrell said. "Our Region opponents are very good too. We play mostly the same schools, but we lost Mount Paran and Walker. Lakeview is new in the Region. Christian Heritage was a state quarterfinal team last year that lost just three seniors."

Morrell, who owns a 56-25 record over eight seasons at FCS, has been more than pleased with the turnout this season.

"Our numbers are up," he said. "We had over 60 kids come out. That's the most since I have been here. We are looking good so far. The kids are executing well. We have the potential to have a nice run."

After going 5-5, 4-6 and 5-5 in his first three years at Fellowship, Morrell's teams have caught fire over the past four seasons. During that span, the Paladins are 42-9 with four straight trips to the state playoffs. Since 2016, FCS has won two Region championships and a pair of sub-Region crowns. The team reached the state title game in 2016, the state semifinals in 2019 and the elite eight in 2018.

Last year's team went 8-0 in Region play and was 12-1 overall. Overall, Fellowship is 94-83 all-time in varsity football. The Paladins lost just six seniors to graduation, including starters Brett Eppinger and Andrew Jordan on the offensive line.

"Overall, we have about 20 seniors this year," said Morrell, who was selected as Coach of The Year for Region 6A South in 2019 in a vote by the league's coaches. "We have eight or nine starters on each side of the ball back."

A total of 21 FCS players earned All Region honors following the 2019 season, including Murphy Reeves. Coaches selected the junior running back as the Region 6A South Offensive Player of the Year in 2019. Reeves led the Paladins with 176 rushes, 1,581 yards and 17 rush TDs in a career-high 13 games. His rush attempts matched a career high set as a sophomore. As a sophomore, he collected career highs with 1,710 yards and 18 scores in 11 contests.

Eight other returners were chosen for first team honors in 2019, including: Jayven Hall (full back), Brady Niblock (tight end), Charlie Patterson and Reid Robinson (offensive line), Joey Archer (defensive line), Kyle Elphick and Nathan Nardone (linebacker) and Josh Cole (defensive back). Jordan Brewer (wide receiver) and junior Garrett Hauenstein (defensive back), who both return this season, were second-team selections.

As a freshman, Hall finished second on the Paladins with 113 carries, 867 yards and shared second with 15 touchdowns (Cole also had 15) in his first varsity season in 2019.

Volleyball Preview

Lady Paladins Kick Off 2020 Season on Aug. 11 at 7A Cherokee; Eye Third Straight Area Championship and Seventh Consecutive Trip to State Playoffs

The Fellowship Christian School volleyball team has had plenty of success over the past six seasons.

In that span, the Lady Paladins have won four Area or Region Championships and have advanced to the state tournament six consecutive years. The team looks to make it seven straight trips this fall under the direction of Samantha Thom, who enters her second year as the Lady Paladins' head coach.

"I am really excited," Thom said. I think we have a pretty solid team."

Fellowship, which kicks off the season on Aug. 11 at 7A Cherokee High School at 6:30 p.m., began its official practice schedule on Aug. 3. Despite having only a few days of regular practices the Lady Paladins are expected to be ready for another solid season.

"A lot of girls were active in our summer program," Thom said. "We pretty much had all them at our summer workouts and drills. We have a lot of experience coming back. Both our middles and Ally [Exley], our setter, are back. We also have returners on the outside too."

The Lady Paladins will have five seniors who are expected to lead the team this season, including Exley, Caroline Holman, Maggie Pizza, Elizabeth Powers and Mary Kate Shaw.

"Our seniors have all done a wonderful job leading our younger players," Thom said. "Maggie has come back to play after a couple of years off. She's stepped back in and is ready to play. Our quiet leader is Mary Kate."

Leadership will be key for the FCS squad this year to be successful that includes wins, focus in practice and hard work, according to the head coach. Two of the team's leaders from last year, Lizzie Thompson and Taylor Herrmann, graduated from Fellowship this spring and are headed to college to play beach volleyball and volleyball, respectively.

"The girls are stepping up," Thom said. "They know who's missing, and realize the places where we need to improve."

The Lady Paladins seek their third straight Area championship. Last year's team advanced to the second round of the GHSA Class A-AA Volleyball Championships. In 2018, the Lady Paladins won a school-record 37 matches and reached the elite eight of the GHSA Class A-AA Volleyball Championships. The club advanced to the second round of the 2017 GHSA Class A Championships after an elite eight appearance the year before.

In 2015, Fellowship won the Area Championships and took a trip to the GHSA Class A Volleyball Championships Elite Eight. That came a year after the Lady Paladins won the Region title and made it all the way to the GHSA Class A Championships Final Four.

How has the program been so successful over the past six seasons?

"The girls just work hard," Thom said. "I have not coached here all that time, but it's easy to see that they do well. These girls want to win. They have the desire to win. They work hard in practice. And they understand the areas that we need to improve in to be successful."

This fall, JV volleyball returns to Fellowship after not having a squad in 2019.

"We are able to field a JV team," Thom said. "We pulled up four eighth graders who wanted to play JV. That is great for the program. The girls who wouldn't get a lot of playing time on varsity this year will get to play JV. It will help them grow and improve."

The JV coach this year in Ali Storey, who also serves as varsity girls lacrosse coach at FCS.

Paladin Center to Host Spirit Wear Event Aug. 6-7 and 10

Fellowship Christian School's athletic department is holding a Spirit Wear event this week at the Paladin Center (735 W. Crossville Road) and has started a new Online Spirit Wear Store.

Come see us, create your online store account and place an order to receive a free gift (while supplies last)!

Masks are required and social distancing will be practiced, there will also be merchandise available for purchase. We look forward to seeing you there.

Paladin Spirit Wear Event (Days and Times)

Thursday, Aug. 6: 1- 8 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 7: 1-8 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 10: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

FCS Releases Practice/Tryout Information for Softball, Cross Country

Paladin Nation:

Per the Georgia High School Association (GHSA), Fellowship Christian School can now begin practices/tryouts for softball and cross country.

FCS will continue following the safety protocols/procedures implemented when summer workouts began on June 8. Athletes will have their temperatures taken each day, and they will complete a prescreen questionnaire before each session.

"With that said, I wanted to make sure every high school student is aware of the available sessions this week," FCS Athletic Director David Lowery said.

Softball

High school tryouts for softball are on Thursday, Aug. 6, and Friday, Aug. 7 from 3:30-5:30 pm on the softball field. All high school girls who are interested in playing softball should plan to attend. If you have any questions, please contact Head Softball Coach Shawn Oliver at shawn.oliver@fcspaladins.org.

Cross Country

The first official week of practice begins this week, from 4-5 p.m. on Bob Lord Field/Track. Practice time changes to 3:30 p.m. effective Monday, Aug. 10, as we prepare for practices after school next week. High school students interested in running cross country this fall are welcome to participate in these sessions. FCS typically fields a varsity team for boys and girls, and if the numbers support it, we also try to field JV teams. If you have any questions, please contact Head Cross Country Coach Tom Harrison at tom.harrison@fcspaladins.org.

"I'm looking forward to the start of school and our fall sports season," Lowery said. "Let's all work together to make the 2020-2021 school year special."

Fellowship Christian School Athletic Director Discusses Fall Sports

Paladin Nation:

As many of you might have heard this week, the GHSA (Georgia High School Association) allows member schools to proceed with fall sports as planned – the exception being for football, which is pushing back the start of games by two weeks from the original schedule. Our players and coaches are excited to get started, and we will continue following the safety protocols/procedures that were implemented when summer workouts began on June 8. Athletes will have their temperatures taken each day, and they will complete a prescreen questionnaire before each session.

With that said, I wanted to make sure every high school student is aware of the available sessions starting next week.

Volleyball

We are planning high school tryouts for volleyball next Monday (7/27) through Thursday (7/30) from 3:30-5:30 pm in G1. All high school girls who are interested in playing volleyball should plan to attend the scheduled tryouts. We are planning to field a varsity and a JV team this year.

If you have any questions, please contact Head Volleyball Coach Samantha Thom at samantha.thom@fcspaladins.org.

Football

Our first official week of football acclimatization and conditioning is Monday (7/27) through Friday (7/31) from 8-10 a.m. on Bob Lord Field. High school students interested in playing football this fall are welcome to participate in these sessions. The attire for these sessions is; shorts, T-shirts, and cleats – we also recommend bringing athletic shoes in the event the weather forces an indoor practice.

If you have any questions, please contact Head Football Coach Al Morrell at al.morrell@fcspaladins.org.

Cheerleading

High school girls interested in varsity or JV cheerleading should contact Head Cheerleading Coach Christine Bohler at christina.bohler@fcspaladins.org.

I'm looking forward to the start of school and our fall sports season! Let's all work together to make the 2020-2021 school year special!!

Go FCS Paladins,

David Lowery

Director of Athletics

FCS Graduate Tripp Murphy has Advanced to 2020 Georgia Open

Former Fellowship Christian School student and current Oglethorpe University golfer Tripp Murphy has qualified for the 2020 Georgia Open.

The Georgia Open, which will feature the state's top professional and amateur golfers, is being held Aug. 6-9, 2020, at Jennings Mill Country Club in Bogart, Ga.

On July 20, 2020, the Fellowship Christian School graduate carded a 3-under par 69 to claim second place at a Georgia Open qualifier held at Coosa Country Club in Rome, Ga.

Murphy finished just one stroke behind the qualifying event's winner, Luka Karaulic of Dacula, Ga.

Coosa Country Club's course is 6,924 yards with a 72.4 rating and a par of 72.

Murphy, who recently completed his sophomore year at Oglethorpe, had a huge improvement in this year's qualifier.

On July 15, 2019 at Coosa Country Club, Murphy shared 21st at the Georgia Open qualifier event with a 6-over par 78. This year he trimmed off six strokes to advance to the prestigious event.

FCS Graduate Camille Davenport Transfers to Alderson Broaddus University

Camille Davenport is continuing her college lacrosse career in West Virginia.

Last summer, Davenport decided to transfer knowing she needed surgery and planned to take a semester off to recover.

"I actually moved back to Lee [University in Cleveland, Tenn.], but found out the next day that I needed surgery," she said. "So I decided to come back home, and recover there. Ultimately I entered the NCAA transfer portal. A bunch of colleges reached out, and I went on a couple of visits."

The 2018 graduate of FCS decided on Alderson Broaddus University, a NCAA Division II school located in Philippi, W.Va.

"It was pretty good," Davenport said about her adjustment to the Alderson Broaddus program. "I was the only goalie. I played in goal in every practice and [every minute of] all four games."

The Lady Battlers finished 2-2 overall before the season was called off due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

"We played some really good teams," she said. "Some of them were nationally ranked."

In 2019, Davenport had the opportunity to play both goaltender and defense during her freshman lacrosse season at Lee University.

"It was a good first season," she said. "I was a goalie, but I also played a little bit at defense. Coach put me on the field because of my speed. I enjoyed that."

She helped the Lady Flames post a 4-12 record. Lee plays in NCAA Division II's Gulf South Conference.

Davenport adjusted quickly to her new school and team as she headed to West Virginia in January 2020.

"I got close to my new team really quickly," she said. "My roommate and I were both transfers. Since we were a small team, it was easy to get to know the girls. We really built each other up. We only had one sub, so we all played a lot, and grew together as a team."

At Alderson Broaddus, Davenport switched her major from nursing to a dual major. She's majoring in exercise science with concentration in OT and life sciences with a concentration in prosthetics.

She's headed back to Philippi in August to prepare for the season. "We have scrimmages in the fall," she said. "We call it fall ball."

She has some advice for the 2020 Fellowship graduates heading to college sports this fall, including former Lady Paladin teammate Suzanne Moore (who's heading to Young Harris College for lacrosse).

"Have an open mind right off the bat," she said. "Start trying to have fun with the team and get to know your teammates. They are your family, especially when you are a long way from home."

(Photo courtesy of Alderson Broaddus University)