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Elite Eight Bound: Paladins Fight Back to Beat Riverside Military Academy in Second Round GHSA Class A Private School Football Championships Contest

A pair of seniors really had a big impact on Friday night.

Cameron Gill had three fourth-quarter touchdowns and Cam Cochran created a pair of huge turnovers with an interception and a fumble recovery to help the Fellowship Christian School football team battle back to beat Riverside Military Academy, 35-28, in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private School Championships held at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 16. The Paladins scored twice in the final 3:48 and three times in the final 7:55 to advance to the Elite Eight for the second time since 2016.

The Paladins (10-1 overall) are now 7-3 all-time in the GHSA football playoffs (2-1 in 2007, 3-1 in 2016, 1-1 in 2017 and 1-0 in 2018). The team has reached the state playoffs three straight years.

FCS is the seventh seed among 24 teams that make up the private school playoff bracket, and the Eagles came into the game 23rd. The Paladins now face No. 2 Savannah Christian School on the road on Nov. 23 (time of game TBD), in the Elite Eight. The Raiders downed No. 8 Hebron Christian Academy at home on Nov. 16, 14-7.

Friday's game at Bob Lord Field had plenty of excitement.

"What a wild game," head coach Al Morrell said. "We lost Murphy Reeves [to a leg injury] on the second play of the game, but Lawson Haigler stepped up. Our seniors were outstanding, especially Cam Gill and Cam Cochran. Really the whole team played an outstanding football game. We are very excited, but we give all the glory to God."

Following a scoreless third quarter, the Paladins scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory and erase a 21-14 halftime deficit and a 28-21 fourth-quarter lead.

With the Eagles leading by a touchdown, FCS forced an Eagle punt on the first play of the fourth quarter. In 4:05 minutes, Gill capped a 60-yard drive with a 12-yard rushing score. Sophomore Will Peterson kicked the third of five straight extra points to tie the game at 21-21.

But the tie didn't last long as Riverside answered with a 54-yard pass play for a score at 4:51. They Eagles led 28-21, but Fellowship would score twice over the final 3:48 to pull out the win.

On a 3rd-and-18 play from the FCS 14-yard-line Gill caught a pass over the middle from sophomore Joey Archer and sped through several defenders down the field 86 yards for a score. That tied the game at 28-28 with 3:48 left.

Less than a minute later, Cochran scooped up a loose football and FCS took over again.

Five plays from scrimmage later, Archer connected with Gill on a 54-yard pass play to give FCS the lead for good on a 3rd-and-22 play.

Cochran's interception with 18.9 seconds left on a 4th-and-21 yard play from the RMA 25-yard-line sealed the victory.

"After a couple of bad games, Joey really had a great game," Morrell said. "There is a strong spirit of unity on this football team. We don't quit."

The sophomore completed 10-of-19 pass attempts for a career-high 297 yards. Gill grabbed five for 176 yards, while sophomore Jordan Brewer made four catches for 78 yards. Sophomore Brady Niblock hauled in one pass for 43 yards.

Haigler (25 carries for 177 yards) and Gill (11 attempts for 111) led the Paladin rushing attack. FCS outgained the Eagles, 532-341, including 297 to 181 in the air and 235-160 on the ground.

FCS scored on the game's first drive on Haigler's four-yard run to end a long drive. Riverside answered on a 69-yard TD pass play at 6:25 of the first quarter. That tied the game at 7-7.

On a 4th-and-13 play from the RMA 15-yard-line, the Paladins fumbled on a reverse play with 2:53 left in the opening quarter.

Following a RMA punt, the Paladins were stopped on fourth down again. This time Gill's half-back option pass to Brewer fell incomplete on 4th-and-5 from the RMA 14-yard-line with 10:42 left in the second quarter.

The Eagles took a 14-7 led on a seven-yard QB sneak with 4:46 left in the half.

The Paladins scored on the next possession. Haigler's second TD run came from six yards out with 1:28 left in the half to tie it again at 14-14.

Riverside answered quickly on a one-yard TD run with 20.4 seconds left in the half to take a 21-14 advantage.

But the Paladin defense held the Eagles to just one second-half touchdown to pull out the win.

Sophomore Caleb McClung led the FCS defense with 10 tackles (eight assists), while sophomore Nathan Nardone recorded eight total stops (three solo, five assists) and made one sack.

Senior William Kreikemeier recorded six tackles, including five assisted tackles.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Paladins to Host Riverside Military Academy in GHSA Class A Private School Football Championships Game

The Fellowship Christian School football team will host Riverside Military Academy in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private School Championships on Nov. 16.

Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Bob Lord Field.

The Paladins (7-1 in Region games and 9-1 overall) are the seventh seed, while the Eagles are the 23rd seed. FCS, which fell to Mount Zion High School of Carrollton, 20-7, in the 6-A Region Championship game played on Nov. 2, earned a first-round bye.

That road loss snapped the Paladins' nine-game win streak.

On Nov. 9, the 6-5 Eagles upset No. 10 George Walton Academy, 24-14, to earn the trip to Roswell from Gainesville for the second-round contest.

FCS, which entered the regular-season finale No. 5 in the power rankings, has notched a 1-3 all-time record in varsity football against RMA. Both schools are among the 24 teams selected for the private school playoffs.

"After watching film of their game [vs. George Walton], I know the best team won," head coach Al Morrell said. "They are peaking at the right time. Their record is deceiving. They lost to the No. 2 team in the state, Prince Avenue, twice this year. They are a very good football team. They have amazing athletes at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. They have three or four of the best skilled players we have faced."

The keys for Friday's game are pretty similar to the goals for almost every other recent game for the Paladins.

"We have a good game plan," Morrell said. "We need to control their weapons. Watch their speed guys and sustain our own drives. As we have done all year, we depend on ball control and execution on offense."

Eliminating mistakes will help FCS as well.

"We can't turn the football over like we did [at Mount Zion]," the coach said. "We can't have penalties, mistakes or turnovers. We see Friday as an opportunity to bounce back. We are excited about the playoffs."

The Paladins have out gained opponents, 4,467 yards to 2,993, this season. That includes a 3,370 to 1,175 advantage on the ground.

Sophomore Murphy Reeves tops Fellowship with 174 carries, 1,702 yards and 18 rushing scores. Senior Cameron Gill has picked up 531 yards and nine rushing TDs on 63 carries. Sophomore Lawson Haigler has earned 492 yards on 74 attempts.

Sophomore quarterback Joey Archer has passed for 334 yards (18-for-49). As a team, Paladin quarterbacks have thrown for 1,097 yards, 14 TDs and nine interceptions.

Sophomore Jordan Brewer leads the squad with 35 catches for 543 yards and six scores. Gill (11 catches for 266 yards) and senior Cam Cochran (12 catches for 251 yards) both have hauled in four touchdown passes.

Sophomores Caleb McClung and Nathan Nardone are the team's top tacklers in defense with 79 and 70 stops, respectively. McClung's 33 solo stops and three fumble recoveries are first on the team, and Nardone's 49 assisted tackles top the team.

Senior Reed Bott is third on FCS with 64 tackles (27 solo), and leads the way with 10 tackles for loss. Bott and senior William Kreikemeier both have five sacks to share the team lead. Cochran's eight interceptions lead the team, followed by Gill with five.

(Photo by Chip Cookston, from Mount Zion game)

Season Preview: Girls Basketball Team to Focus on Teamwork, Balanced Scoring in 2018-19

Graduation cost the Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team about 90 percent of its offense from last year and some pretty solid leaders too.

This year's Lady Paladin is not focusing on who is not there this year, but is working on fundamentals, teamwork and dedication to the game.

"You can't easily replace Cam Swartz, Sadie Schulz and Caroline Keim," head coach Troy Schulz said. "It will be a bit of a rebuilding year, but we are working hard. Practice is going well so far, and I am excited to get the season started. We will work hard and take one game at a time. We will have to work hard."

The Lady Paladin roster will feature five juniors, one sophomore and three freshmen.

Luckily for coach Schulz, he has three returning juniors who have been part of the program for three years and were key contributors from last year's squad that finished 12-9 overall and advanced to the Region Tournament.

"Three of our juniors [Baylor Aycock, Cary Guthrie and Emma Jones] played a lot of key minutes for us last year," Schulz said. "We will lean on that group. We are also excited that Rachel Rippen, who's 6-foot-2, can play this year after transferring last year."

Schulz expects his team to be fundamentally strong.

"Our strengths will be our smart play and our grasp of the fundamentals," he said. "We will play as a unit well and play better team basketball this season. We will not be lacking in size either. We will pressure teams."

Schultz' goal is to have nine girls score 4-5 points a night and compete every game. "We will work hard," he said.

Schulz is happy to be adding talented freshman Savannah Schulz (his daughter) and Cate Hardin. "These two are very talented," he added.

The team opens the season at home against Trinity Christian School in a scrimmage on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. The evening begins with a JV boys scrimmage between FCS and Trinity at 4:30 p.m. The varsity boys teams play at 7:30 p.m.

(File Photo from 2017-18 season by Margo Miller)

New-Look Paladins to Begin Varsity Basketball Season on Nov. 8

The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys basketball team lost quite a bit of scoring from last year's team, which could present a pretty big challenge.

"It's going to be challenging, especially early in the season," new head coach Marvin Williams said. "Our go-to scorers from last year -- Teddy [Keim], Jayce [Harrison] and Cody [Frazer] -- are not with us this year. So we are going to have to focus on stopping the other teams from scoring. I have always stressed the importance of defense to my teams. We are going to work hard, and compete every night."

Williams, an assistant the past two seasons at FCS, brings new ideas and philosophies to the program.

"I have brought in a new system to varsity," Williams said. "A lot of our kids played JV for me last year, so they are familiar, but the philosophy is different than we had at varsity last year. I stress teaching and defense. I want to help our kids grow and get better on the court."

Williams is working with JV coach Isaac Taylor and middle school coaches Brad Welty and Daryl Brown to develop the same system for all five boys basketball teams at FCS from sixth to 12th grades.

"We have incorporated the whole program into one this year," Williams said. "It's all one program. We are doing this in tiers. We are teaching good ball-handling skills and solid defensive philosophies through all of our teams."

The varsity Paladins will face a strong slate of Region games this year.

"We play teams that send 2-3 kids to NCAA Division I every year," Williams said. "We have a tough schedule and we play plenty of tough teams early. We will focus on defense, hard work and balanced scoring. We are going to be scrappy and battle every night."

Williams expects his team strengths to be teamwork and tenacity.

"We will play as a team," Williams said. "We have a bunch of tough kids. We will be very happy to add our football kids [junior Braden Webb and sophomores Brady Niblock and Joey Archer] to the mix. We won't be as talented as some of the teams we face, but we will be a blue-collar team that never quits and works hard."

Last year's team finished 12-13 in the regular season and 1-1 in Region tournament.

The Paladins begin the season Trinity Christian school in a scrimmage at Paladin Gym on Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. The JV team scrimmages Trinity at 4:30 p.m.

(File Photo from 2017-18 season by Margo Miller)

Paladins Suffer First Loss of Football Season in Region Championship Game

It was not a great second half for the Fellowship Christian School football team.

The Paladins (7-1 in Region games and 9-1 overall) were held without a first down and were outscored 13-0 in the second half as they fell 20-7 to Mount Zion High School of Carrollton in the 6-A Region Championship game played on Nov. 2.

The road loss snapped the Paladins' nine-game win streak.

FCS, which entered the game No. 5 in the power rankings, will be among the 24 teams selected for the 2018 GHSA Class A Private School Championships, which begin Nov. 9. The top eight schools receive a first-round bye. The Paladins earned a first-round bye with the No. 7 seed. FCS hosts the winner of the the first-round matchup between #10 George Walton Academy and #23 Riverside Military Academy on Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m.

It's the Paladins' third straight trip to the state playoffs.

On Nov. 2, Mount Zion led 7-0 with a touchdown and extra point at 4:54 of the second quarter. Fellowship tied the game with its own score and extra point with 14 second left in the half.

But FCS gained just 14 passing yards and was held to negative-15 yards rushing over the final 24 minutes. Sophomore Murphy Reeves picked up 93 yards in the first half.

Mount Zion scored the go-ahead TD at 8:48 of the third quarter to take a 14-7 lead. The Eagles added field goals with 1:47 left in the third and with 5:48 to go in the game.

This was the third time since 2015 that Fellowship faced Mount Zion in the annual crossover game. For the second time since 2016, the game decided the Region championship.

Fellowship, 3-2 all-time against Mount Zion, defeated the Eagles on the road, 28-14, on Nov. 4, 2016 to capture the Region championship. Mount Zion won the crossover match between the schools on Nov. 6, 2015 at Bob Lord Field to eliminate the Paladins from state playoff contention.

Sophomore Murphy Reeves, who scored FCS' lone TD on a two-yard run, led the team with 76 yards on 23 carries. Senior Cameron Gill gained 69 yards on 12 attempts.

Sophomore Caleb McClung led the Paladin defense with 13 tackles (nine assists). Senior Cam Cochran made his eighth interception of the season.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Lady Paladin Cross-Country Team Finishes in Top 10 at GHSA Class A Private School Championships

The varsity girls cross-country team finished among the top 10 teams in the team competition at the GHSA Class A Private School Championships that was held Nov. 2 at Carrollton High School in Carrollton.

The girls placed second at the Area meet.

Individually, the Lady Paladin team was once again led by the Rickheim sisters – sophomore Sami and senior Liv – at the state meet.

Sami wound up 16th and Liv was 32nd in the varsity girls race in Carrollton.

(Photo from PaladinsFCS Twitter)

Gemaine Earns Spot on U.S. National Senior Luge Team

Former Fellowship Christian School student Raychel Germaine has begun her 10th season competing in luge with some exciting news.

Germaine prevailed and overcame some struggles from the 2017-18 season to earn a position on the USA National Team following her performance in the two-day National Seeding races and National Championship held in Lake Placid, N.Y., Oct. 26-27.

"I'm so proud of all she has achieved in the sport these past nine years, but I'm even more proud of seeing her persevere through some very challenging life lessons," said her father, Bob Germaine. "Raychel had very strong training going into the race, and each day she seemed to gain more and more confidence. Raychel was enjoying herself again as well. She had a great National Championships."

In Lake Placid, Germaine posted the fastest time of all her runs (44.751) in her last heat on Oct. 27 – and also posted the second fastest speed of anyone over the two-day event (112.48 kph) – to wind up third overall and earn a spot on the senior national team. On Oct. 26, Germaine was third following the first two runs. She fell to fourth place after the first race on Oct. 27, but closed out strong to earn a spot on the team again.

Following the championships, Raychel and her teammates headed to Calgary, Alberta, Canada for a week of training before traveling to Oberhof and Koenigsee, Germany for more training. The season kicks off with the first World Cup race in Igls, Austria, from Nov. 18 to 19.

Prior to the Lake Placid event, Germaine completed the first weeks of training for the Team USA squad in Lillehammer, Norway, and Sigulda, Latvia, ready to put her disappointing 2017-18 season behind her.

"This luge off-season was one of the most challenging of Raychel's career," Bob Germaine said. "She started last year with such high aspirations, but her performance left her disappointed and discouraged. Although she was the Olympic alternate, she was never able to put a solid race together all season. For eight years she gained the reputation of putting it together on race day, but all last season she couldn't quite pull it together."

Her father shared that Raychel will focus on three things this season:

1.Be Christ Centered – If you do this, no matter the worldly outcome, you will be successful!

2.Be Positive – Let every word, every sentence, and every thought, focus on the positive perspective of life.

3.Have Fun – You are sledding! Your work is sledding!!! How fun is that? You love what you are doing, so focus on the aspects of what you love!

Week 10 Varsity Football Preview: Undefeated Paladins Face Mount Zion in Regular-Season Finale ... Again

For the third time since 2015, the Fellowship Christian School football team is facing Mount Zion High School of Carrollton in the annual crossover game.

For the second time since 2016, the game will also decide the Region championship. The sub Region champion schools play in Carrollton on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the crossover contest.

Fellowship, 3-1 all-time against Mount Zion, defeated the Eagles on the road, 28-14, on Nov. 4, 2016 to capture the Region championship. Mount Zion won the crossover match between the schools on Nov. 6, 2015 at Bob Lord Field to eliminate the Paladins from state playoff contention.

"They only lost once this year, and won their sub Region," head coach Al Morrell said. "They are a very athletic and talented football team. They have a lot of talent at running back. They have a Wing T set like us, and don't throw it much. They have a lot of skilled players."

The key for the Paladins at Mount Zion are very similar to the last week's 42-40 win at Whitefield Academy.

"We have to control the big plays, not take penalties and make them earn their yardage," said Morrell, now 43-22 at FCS. "We can's stop ourselves, or make mistakes. We have to play our game."

Running the ball has been one of this year's Paladins' strongest traits.

Through nine games, the Paladins have gained 3,218 yards on 427 attempts. Sophomore sensation Murphy Reeves leads the team with 1,626 yards, 151 carries and 17 touchdowns.

"Murphy has been outstanding," Morrell said. "He hardly played last year at JV due to injuries, and I don't think he even knew if he wanted to play football this year until fall practice. But he did, and what a year he has had."

Sophomore Lawson Haigler is next among 14 FCS ball carriers this year with 491 yards, and has three touchdowns. Senior Cameron Gill is next with 462 yards and has scored nine rushing touchdowns.

Paladin quarterbacks have combined for 1,065 passing yards. Sophomore Jordan Brewer leads the team with 32 receptions, 511 yards and six TDs. Gill (266 yards) and senior Cam Cochran (251 yards) both have four touchdown receptions.

Three FCS defenders have reached 60 or-more tackles.

Sophomore Caleb McClung tops the squad with 29 solo tackles and 65 total stops, while senior Reed Bott has made 62 stops (36 assists). Sophomore Nathan Nardone has recorded 60 tackles, including 45 assists. Bott and senior William Kreikemeier lead the Paladins with four sacks apiece. Bott's 10 tackles for loss lead Fellowship.

The Paladins have intercepted 17 passes this season, including seven by Cochran to lead the team. Gill has registered four INTs. McClung's three fumble recoveries top the squad.

What is the secret to the success of the 2018 Paladins?

"There isn't any one thing," Morrell said. "We have been consistent both offensively and defensively, and have had plenty of young players step up. Murphy Reeves barely played last year, but this year has been a star. Coach Rice has done a great job with our offensive line. Plus we have 11 seniors who are true leaders and important contributors."

FCS (9-0 overall) wrapped up the sub Region championship with a 42-40 Region road victory over Whitefield Academy in Mableton on Oct. 26. Friday's FCS-Whitefield contest featured six lead changes.

(Photo by Chip Cookston)

Lady Paladins Fall in Elite Eight Match at Calvary Day School

The Fellowship Christian School varsity volleyball team's stellar season came to an end on Oct. 27.

The Lady Paladins (37-12) dropped a best-of-five match at Calvary Day School in Savannah, 17-25, 23-25, 21-25 in the Elite Eight of the GHSA Class A-AA Private School Championships.

It was Fellowship's fifth trip to the Elite Eight of the state tournament in school history. This season's Lady Paladins set a school single-season record for victories in a season. Overall, Fellowship won eight out of its last nine matches of the season.

The Lady Paladins advanced to the Elite Eight of the GHSA tourney in 2016 and 2015, the GHSA Final Four in 2014 and the GISA Final Four in 2005.

The Fellowship volleyball squad has now won 30 or more matches four times in school history, including a school-record 35 wins in 2014, 33 in 2015 and 31 in 2017. FCS captured a Region championship in 2005 and 2014, and the Area Championship in 2018 and 2015.

Senior Lauren Breed finished her career with 1,200 assists, while junior Taylor Herrmann reached 1,000 career digs.

(Photo by Tina Herrmann)

Undefeated Paladins Fight Back to Beat Whitefield on the Road in Region Football Action

It wasn't easy, but the Fellowship Christian School football team is still undefeated.

FCS (7-0 in Region and 9-0 overall) wrapped up the sub Region championship (B) with a 42-40 Region road victory over Whitefield Academy in Mableton on Oct. 26. The WolfPack fell to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in Region games.

Fellowship plays at Mount Zion High School in the 6A Region Championship game on Nov. 2 in Carrollton at 7:30 p.m. Mount Zion is 8-1 overall and 5-1 in Region play. The Eagles are coming off a 44-14 victory over Gordon Lee at home on Oct. 19.

Friday's FCS-Whitefield contest featured six lead changes, and the Paladins taking the lead for good with 4:54 left in the third quarter.

"They came out [in the second half] and fought hard," head coach Al Morrell said. "I am very proud of the effort. We started off bad. We scored on the opening possession, and then they ran the kickoff all the way back [to the 5-yard-line]. We gave them an early score, and we also had 2-3 turnovers in the first half. We told the kids keep executing and doing what we are doing, and protect the football."

Fellowship trailed 20-14 at halftime, but scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to pull ahead 35-27 with 2:21 to play in the third on sophomore Murphy Reeves' second rushing TD.

The WolfPack cut the FCS lead to 35-33 with 8:29 to go. The Paladin defense stopped two-point conversion pass to hang onto the lead. Whitefield couldn't get any closer as Fellowship's Nathan Nardone stopped the WolfPack on a fourth-down play with 4:26 left.

Sophomore quarterback Joey Archer scored from one yard out on a keeper with 2:47 left. Sophomore Will Peterson kicked the final of six successful extra-point attempts to put FCS up 42-33.

Whitefield scored on a pass play and added the conversion kick with 1:23 to play to cut the lead to 42-40. But FCS ran a play before Archer took the knee twice to run out the clock.

Reeves and Archer scored on run plays in the first and second quarters, respectively, to give FCS 7-0 and 14-10 leads. Whitefield took a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter.

Following Archer's one-yard sneak with 5:31 left in the half, Whitefield added a touchdown and a field goal to go ahead 20-14.

Archer connected with Cameron Gill on a 54-yard TD pass play just 2:43 into the third quarter to put Fellowship in the lead again at 21-20.

Following a touchdown with 5:44 left in the third quarter, Whitefield led 27-21. But FCS went ahead again by a point (28-27) on Gill's 28-yard rushing TD just 50 seconds later.

It was the seventh time this season Fellowship has reached 40 or more points.

Reeves, who scored on runs of five and eight yards, led FCS with 284 yards on 31 attempts. Gill finished with 114 yards on 11 carries. Archer completed two passes for 65 yards.

Senior Reed Bott (five solo) and sophomore Nathan Nardone (nine assists) led the Paladins with 11 tackles apiece. Bott led the club with three tackles for loss, and three sacks, while freshman Josh Cole, junior Blake Scott and Gill all registered one interception.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)


Week 9 Preview: Undefeated Paladins Face Stiff Task at Whitefield Academy in Region Contest

The Fellowship Christian School football team is likely in for a tough challenge on the road on Friday.

The 8-0 Paladins face Whitefield Academy in Mableton on Oct. 26 in a battle that is likely to impact the sub Region championship.

FCS is 6-0 in Region play, while Whitefield and Mount Paran Christian School are both 5-1. If the Paladins beat the WolfPack, then they'll have the inside track on the sub Region crown for the second time since 2016.

"They're a very good football team," head coach Al Morrell said about the WolfPack. "They are the most athletic team we've faced so far this year. It is a very, very big game for both schools."

The keys for Fellowship will be to eliminate penalties and turnovers, and limit Whitefield's big plays.

"They are very fast," said Morrell, now 42-22 as head coach for the Paladins. "Their backs and receivers can easily turn runs and catches into long plays quickly with their team speed. We have to play well to have a chance to beat them. The boys have had a good week of practice, and they know the importance of this game."

The Paladins (80-80 all-time in varsity football) are 3-7 in 10 varsity football games against Whitefield, 6-2 overall this season. The WolfPack beat Fellowship at home in the last meeting between the schools on Oct. 6, 2017 in Mableton, 31-24.

Whitefield enters this game coming off a 20-13 victory at The Walker School on Oct. 19. The club fell to Mount Paran, 21-7, on Oct. 5 in a loss that ended a four-game win streak.

On Friday, FCS will have to use their own speed against the WolfPack. Fellowship has out gained its opponents, 2,772 to 970, on the ground and 3,772-2,496 overall this season.

Sophomore Murphy Reeves, who topped the Paladins in last Friday's 49-14 victory over Mount Pisgah Christian School with four rushing scores and 338 yards on 27 carries, leads the Paladins with 120 attempts, 1,342 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Sophomore Lawson Haigler has gained 484 yards on 70 carries with three rushing TDs this season, while senior Cameron Gill has picked up 348 yards on 40 attempts. He has run for eight TDs.

Sophomore Joey Archer has started the last two games for FCS at quarterback in place of injured senior Brooks Bryant, and has thrown for 237 yards (13-for-27) and four touchdowns this season. Overall, three Fellowship quarterbacks have combined for 1,000 yards, 13 TD passes and five interceptions. Paladin opponents have thrown for 1,526 yards this season against them.

Sophomore Jordan Brewer leads the squad with 31 catches, 500 reception yards and six TD grabs. Senior Cam Cochran is next with 12 catches, four TD receptions and 251 yards. Gill has hauled in 10 passes for 212 yards and three scores.

The Paladins defense is led by sophomore Caleb McClung, who tops the team with 27 solo tackles, 57 total stops and three fumble recoveries. He also has four tackles for loss and two sacks. Senior Reed Bott ranks second on the Fellowship defense with 51 tackles (22 solo stops, 29 assists), and tops the team with eight tackles for loss. He also has recorded three sacks.

Sophomore Nathan Nardone has registered 48 tackles, including a team-best 35 assisted stops, and four tackles for loss, while senior William Kreikemeier has recorded 45 tackles (11 solo stops, 34 assists). Kreikemeier's four sacks lead the team.

The Paladins have picked off 14 passes, including a team-high seven by Cochran, and have recovered four fumbles in 2018.

FCS closes out the regular season with a crossover game on Nov. 2. That game counts in the Region standings.

Region Runners Up: FCS Girls Squad Qualifies for State Meet

The Fellowship Christian School varsity and JV cross-country teams competed in the Region race at The Darlington School in Rome, Ga., on Oct. 25.

The varsity girls team finished second in the team competition to advance to the GHSA Class A Private School Championships being held at 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Carrollton High School in Carrollton.

Led by the Rickheim sisters – sophomore Sami and senior Liv, who placed fourth and seventh overall – the Lady Paladins brought home the second place trophy in the Class A, Region competition.

"All seven girls running varsity put in solid performances, which enabled the team to finish so well," head coach Tom Harrison said. "Six of the girls posted new seasonal or career personal records, statistics which made a measurable difference in the outcome of this race. In terms of placement, Abby Beard and Priscilla Lorenzo followed the Rickheim girls to finish in the top 15 overall. Sophia Mahlke finished 19th and Faith Cole placed in the top 25. The girls worked exceptionally well together as team, pushing each other through a challenging course, which served up great results."

Five of the top seven boys varsity runners posted new season or career personal records.

"Together, the boys made a solid showing, rolling across the finish line with grit and determination to finish the season well, as measured by their own personal achievement," Harrison said. "The combined efforts of the boys earned them a very respectable fifth place finish as a team, barely missing their own trip to the state meet. Of particular mention, Jackson McGill came across the finish line first for the Paladins, finishing 13th overall, with a new career record of 18.46. Followed closely behind, John Washburne finished 15th overall, closing out his final race with his fastest race of the season. Garrett Lengefeld finished third for the Paladins, also posting a great personal best time and season record which earned him a top-20 finish."

Rounding out the team for the Paladins were sophomore Michael Washburne and junior Michael Pinyero, who both finished with excellent personal best times.

"All in all, it was a great day of personal effort and mental 'attack' attitude that enabled our team to cover the Darlington course well, which in turn earned our athletes the personal satisfaction of knowing they brought their best effort and determination to bear on a great race day," Harrison said.

The Paladin JV boys cross-country team placed third in the Region meet. Sophomore Jonathan Morris led the way for the Paladins with a seventh-place finish. He was followed by sophomore Michael Schenken, who turned in a great personal performance, with a top-25 finish.

Sophomore Finn Wagner finished 30th, freshman Cooper Furman placed 42nd, and Ryan Johnson rounded out FCS' top five in 47th place.

"All of our JV runners ran with a 'best race, last race' attitude as demonstrated by the results in terms of the team's third-place finish and by personal best times," Harrison said. "The boys and girls who ran the JV race yesterday closed out their season by finishing strong."

(Photos courtesy of @PaladinsFCS)

Week 9 Preview: Undefeated Paladins Face Stiff Task at Whitefield Academy in Region Contest

The Fellowship Christian School football team is likely in for a tough challenge on the road on Friday.

The 8-0 Paladins face Whitefield Academy in Mableton on Oct. 26 in a battle that is likely to impact the sub Region championship.

FCS is 6-0 in Region play, while Whitefield and Mount Paran Christian School are both 5-1. If the Paladins beat the WolfPack, then they'll have the inside track on the sub Region crown for the second time since 2016.

"They're a very good football team," head coach Al Morrell said about the WolfPack. "They are the most athletic team we've faced so far this year. It is a very, very big game for both schools."

The keys for Fellowship will be to eliminate penalties and turnovers, and limit Whitefield's big plays.

"They are very fast," said Morrell, now 42-22 as head coach for the Paladins. "Their backs and receivers can easily turn runs and catches into long plays quickly with their team speed. We have to play well to have a chance to beat them. The boys have had a good week of practice, and they know the importance of this game."

The Paladins (80-80 all-time in varsity football) are 3-7 in 10 varsity football games against Whitefield, 6-2 overall this season. The WolfPack beat Fellowship at home in the last meeting between the schools on Oct. 6, 2017 in Mableton, 31-24.

Whitefield enters this game coming off a 20-13 victory at The Walker School on Oct. 19. The club fell to Mount Paran, 21-7, on Oct. 5 in a loss that ended a four-game win streak.

On Friday, FCS will have to use their own speed against the WolfPack. Fellowship has out gained its opponents, 2,772 to 970, on the ground and 3,772-2,496 overall this season.

Sophomore Murphy Reeves, who topped the Paladins in last Friday's 49-14 victory over Mount Pisgah Christian School with four rushing scores and 338 yards on 27 carries, leads the Paladins with 120 attempts, 1,342 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Sophomore Lawson Haigler has gained 484 yards on 70 carries with three rushing TDs this season, while senior Cameron Gill has picked up 348 yards on 40 attempts. He has run for eight TDs.

Sophomore Joey Archer has started the last two games for FCS at quarterback in place of injured senior Brooks Bryant, and has thrown for 237 yards (13-for-27) and four touchdowns this season. Overall, three Fellowship quarterbacks have combined for 1,000 yards, 13 TD passes and five interceptions. Paladin opponents have thrown for 1,526 yards this season against them.

Sophomore Jordan Brewer leads the squad with 31 catches, 500 reception yards and six TD grabs. Senior Cam Cochran is next with 12 catches, four TD receptions and 251 yards. Gill has hauled in 10 passes for 212 yards and three scores.

The Paladins defense is led by sophomore Caleb McClung, who tops the team with 27 solo tackles, 57 total stops and three fumble recoveries. He also has four tackles for loss and two sacks. Senior Reed Bott ranks second on the Fellowship defense with 51 tackles (22 solo stops, 29 assists), and tops the team with eight tackles for loss. He also has recorded three sacks.

Sophomore Nathan Nardone has registered 48 tackles, including a team-best 35 assisted stops, and four tackles for loss, while senior William Kreikemeier has recorded 45 tackles (11 solo stops, 34 assists). Kreikemeier's four sacks lead the team.

The Paladins have picked off 14 passes, including a team-high seven by Cochran, and have recovered four fumbles in 2018.

FCS closes out the regular season with a crossover game on Nov. 2. That game counts in the Region standings.

Elite Eight Bound ... AGAIN; Lady Paladins Advance with Victory over NCCS at Paladin Gym

The Fellowship Christian School varsity volleyball team is headed for the Elite Eight of the state tournament for the fifth time in school history.

The 37-11 Lady Paladins battled back for an amazing five-set victory over North Cobb Christian School in the second round of the GHSA Class AA-A Private School Championships at Paladin Gym on Oct. 23. FCS is the top seed from Area 5, and the Lady Eagles are the second seed from Area 6.

The Lady Paladins advanced to the Elite Eight of the GHSA tourney in 2016 and 2015, the GHSA Final Four in 2014 and the GISA Final Four in 2005.

On Oct. 23, FCS fell in the first two set of the best-of-five match, 23-25, 23-25. But the Lady Paladins came back to win the third set, 25-19, and hung on to post an exciting 30-28 victory in set four. The Lady Paladins advanced to the Elite Eight with a 15-7 win in the deciding fifth set.

Overall, Fellowship has now won eight matches in-a-row, and 25 out of its last 27 overall. The team has set a single-season record for most varsity volleyball wins.

The Fellowship volleyball squad has now won 30 or more matches four times in school history, including a school-record 35 wins in 2014, 33 in 2015 and 31 in 2017. FCS captured a Region championship in 2005 and 2014, and the Area Championship in 2018 and 2015.

Fellowship will play the winner of Calvary Day and Atlanta International School on Oct. 27. Match details are coming soon.

(Photos by Tina Herrmann)

Lady Paladin Volleyball Team Notches Milestone with Victory over Prince Avenue in Opening Round of GHSA Class A-AA Championships

The Fellowship Christian School varsity volleyball team had quite a match on Saturday.

The Lady Paladins not only advanced to the second round of the GHSA Class AA-A Private School Championships with a three-set sweep of Prince Avenue Christian School, but they set a school record for victories in a single season.

FCS, the top seed from Area 5, defeated Prince Avenue, the fourth seed from Area 8, in three sets, 25-12, 25-12, 25-9.

The Lady Paladins (36-11) host North Cobb Christian School, the No. 2 team from Area 6, at Paladin Gym on Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. in the second round. FCS has now won 24 out of its last 26 matches.

The Fellowship volleyball squad has now won 30 or more matches four times in school history, including 35 wins in 2014, 33 in 2015 and 31 in 2017.

FCS captured a Region championship in 2005 and 2014, and the Area Championship in 2018 and 2015.

(Photo by Tina Herrmann)

Paladins Overcome Turnovers for Second-Half Surge in Varsity Football Victory over Mount Pisgah

It was a tale of two halves on Friday.

The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School shut out Mount Pisgah in the second half (28-0) to break open a close game and post 49-14 Region victory at Bob Lord Field on Oct. 19.

FCS (6-0 in Region games and 8-0 overall) overcame two lost fumbles and two interceptions to score at least 40 points for the sixth time in the regular season.

On Friday, the Patriots capitalized on a couple of turnovers to score twice late in the first half to pull within 21-14.

"We settled down in the second half," head coach Al Morrell said. "Our defense did much better in the second half, and we really stopped them. We really hurt ourselves with penalties and mistakes in the first half. We had a ball that should not have been thrown for an interception, and we were not protecting the football on our runs. But in the second half we finished drives, made plays and executed better on offense."

A total of nine players ran the ball to help the Paladins gain a staggering 524 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. That total included a school-record 338 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries by sophomore Murphy Reeves, who entered the game with 999 yards for the season. Sophomore Lawson Haigler picked up 51 yards on 13 carries, while senior Cam Cochran added 45 yards on five attempts.

"Our offensive line was terrific, and we had another outstanding effort from Murphy Reeves," Morrell said. "It's nice to keep guys fresh and run so many guys. It also builds morale. We really went back to fundamentals in the second half and it paid off."

Fellowship scored on three of its first five possessions to take a 21-0 lead. Junior Braden Webb opened the scoring with a four-yard TD run at 7:23 of the first to cap a 74-yard drive following a Patriots' punt. Sophomore Will Peterson booted the first of seven straight extra points.

Just 16 seconds later Haigler's hit forced a fumble that sophomore Caleb McClung grabbed at the Mount Pisgah 19-yard-line. Three plays from scrimmage later Reeves scored on an 11-yard run.

At 7:42 of the second quarter, the Paladins scored for the third time. This time Reeves found the end zone on a 21-yard run to end a 56-yard drive.

McClung caused and covered a fumble seconds later, but an interception gave the Patriots the ball back. It was their second of the half.

With 2:11 to go until the half, Mount Pisgah added a 3-yard rushing touchdown and extra-point kick. The Patriots grabbed a Reeves fumble on FCS' next possession, and scored on a three-yard TD pass play with 47.7 seconds left in the first half.

But it was all Paladins in the second half.

The team scored twice in each of the third and fourth quarters.

Reeves and senior Cameron Gill scored on 52 and 14-yard rushes, respectively, in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Reeves scored on a 5-yard run, and Cochran scored on a 20-yard pass play with sophomore Joey Archer.

Archer completed five-of-12 pass attempts for 95 yards. Cochran had two receptions for 60 yards, and sophomore Jordan Brewer grabbed three passes for 35 yards.

Junior Blake Scott led Fellowship with six tackles (four solo stops), while Cochran (three assists), senior Reed Bott (four solo) and sophomore Nathan Nardone (three assists) all recorded five total tackles. Cochran and Gill each had an interception.

The Paladins travel to Mableton to face Whitefield Academy on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in a Region showdown. Fellowship faces an opponent to be determined in a crossover game on the road on Nov. 2.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)