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Paladins to Host GHSA Class A Private Football Championships Semifinal at Bob Lord Field for First Time on Friday vs. Wesleyan

As the stakes continue to get higher, the competition is getting tougher.

The Fellowship Christian School varsity football team hosts Wesleyan School in the GHSA Class A Private Football Championships at Bob Lord Field on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. It's the first time the Paladins have hosted a state football semifinal game at Bob Lord Field.

"The team is very excited," head coach Al Morrell said. "They're very focused. We have had a great week of preparation."

The fourth-seeded Paladins posted a 35-28 quarterfinal victory over Hebron Christian Academy at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 29. On the same evening, the No. 9 Wolves (3-0 in the state playoffs this year) improved to 11-2 overall with a 42-16 home win over Savannah Christian School in Peachtree Corners.

"They are very similar to the team we just played," Morrell said about Wesleyan. "Their quarterback is a sophomore, but he runs and passes very well. He is probably a little more mobile than the Hebron QB. They are probably a little bigger up front. They are a similar type of team. And they are very, very good."

Fellowship's game plan will be very similar to the one it had against Hebron – eliminate mistakes, stop the big plays on defense and sustain drives and finish plays in the red zone on offense.

"It does make it easier facing a similar style team [for consecutive weeks]," Morrell said. "We have to do what we do best on both sides of the ball. They have seen what we do defensively against this type of offense, so it will be a challenge. Overall, we are going to have our hands full."

The Paladins have grown by leaps and bounds this year.

"When I addressed the parents before the start of the season, I said right now we aren't a great football team," Morrell said. "But I also knew we had the potential to be good. It took the boys working hard and improving, but they did. We have gotten better each and every game this year. We have competed hard against everyone."

This is FCS' second trip to the state semifinals. The team, which has earned three trips to the Elite Eight since 2016, has notched 12 wins in a season for only the second time in school history. The 2016 club finished a school-record 13-1 mark and reached the state finals.

The Paladins have notched a 9-4 all-time record in state playoff football games that includes a 5-0 mark at Bob Lord Field. The team has reached at least 10 wins four times in school history, including 11 or more victories three times.

This season, the Paladins have scored more than 30 points in 11 out of 12 games. The club has out gained its opponents 4,902 yards to 2,663. That includes a 4,094-1,221 advantage on the ground.

Junior Murphy Reeves leads the way with 1,554 yards, 168 carries and 17 touchdowns. Both freshman Jayven Hall (105 attempts for 763 yards) and sophomore fullback Josh Cole (77 for 708) have topped 700 yards this season. Junior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt ranks fourth on the team with 377 yards on 75 carries.

Cole ranks second on the team with 14 rushing scores, followed by Hall with 13 and Hildebrandt with 11. Hildebrandt leads the team's three quarterbacks with 650 yards and five TD passes (33-for-70).

The Paladin defense has notched three shutouts, and has held its opponents to 14 or less points eight times.

Cole tops the Fellowship defense with 51 assisted tackles and 83 total stops. Hall (19 solo stops, 48 assists) and junior Nathan Nardone (34 solo tackles, 33 assists) share second on the squad with 67 tackles. Freshman Kyle Elphick is next on the defense with 60 tackles (28 solo, 32 assists).

Hall, Nardone and junior Charlie Patterson have all registered seven tackles for a loss to share the team lead. Elphick tops the squad with four interceptions.

Corsetti Named as FCS' Director of Boys Lacrosse

Fellowship Christian School has named veteran coach Lou Corsetti as Director of Boys Lacrosse, Athletic Director David Lowery has announced.

A member of the Georgia Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2011), Corsetti enters his 45th year as a player or coach who has performed many roles as an ambassador for the sport of lacrosse at both the local and national level. Coach Corsetti has been part of U.S. Lacrosse since it was established as the "The National Governing Body" for lacrosse. He has served in various roles within the organization whose mission is to provide national leadership, structure, and resources to fuel the sport's growth and enrich the experience of participants.

"I am thrilled to join the Fellowship family," Corsetti said. "I love to coach and be around young people. I really enjoy mentoring and helping guide them in their daily journey with Christ and cannot wait to get started at FCS." During his career, Corsetti has coached in both New York and Georgia at the youth, club, and high school level.

Since coming to Georgia, he has helped develop and grow lacrosse programs at Pace Academy, Marist School and Riverwood High School. Coach Lou is honored to have coached 41 All-Americans, 18 Academic All-Americans, and more than 180 All-State players in New York and Georgia. He has also coached several All-Star teams, including the first one to participate in the Georgia Games.

"We were blessed to interview several candidates during our coaching search," Lowery said. "Without question, Coach Corsetti's lacrosse experience, his passion for the sport, and being an integral part of its growth in Georgia and across the country is incredible. As impressive as it is to have a coach with his background and knowledge, what is most inspiring is his character and the tremendous role it plays in how he runs his program. He truly wants to use this opportunity as head coach to impact and lead our young men while helping them grow their faith."

Originally from West Babylon, N.Y., Corsetti had a successful lacrosse career at Marist College, a NCAA Division 1 program in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. A four-time All-League attackman, Corsetti set many scoring records for the Red Foxes, finishing third in the nation in scoring in 1981 and fourth in 1982. A multi-sport athlete in college, Corsetti was a member of the Marist football team, where he was a three-time All-League selection.

Corsetti and his wife, Mary Jo, have been married for 33 years and have two children, a son Gordan James (31) and a daughter Caitlin Leigh (28). The couple attends Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church and St. Andrew Catholic Church.

On to the Semifinals: Paladins Improve to 12-0 with 35-28 Victory over Hebron Christian Academy in GHSA Class A Private Football Championships Quarterfinals

As the game went along, it seemed liked the Fellowship Christian School varsity football team would need the defense to come through.

It did!

"Our defense played their hearts out," head coach Al Morrell said following his team's 35-28 victory over Hebron Christian Academy at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 29 in the GHSA Class A Private Football Championships quarterfinal match-up. "The effort could not have been any better. We chased that quarterback all game. We tried to control him, but he got rid of the ball some and made some plays."

For the first time this season, the Paladins were outgained. The Lions edged FCS in total yards, 316-281 (176-1 through the air). But the Fellowship defense forced three punts, made two successful fourth-down stops and forced a fumble to end another drive.

But the biggest stop came with 2:41 left with the Paladins holding a 35-28 lead. As the Fellowship defense put on heavy pressure, the Lions quarterback threw an incomplete pass on a 4th-and-8 play from the Lion 48-yard-line. The Paladins took over and ran out the clock.

"That was a huge stop," Morrell said. "We knew our offense had to out score them, and we did. You have to give them credit. They are a great football team."

The fourth-seeded Paladins (12-0 overall) advance to host No. 9 Wesleyan School in the state semifinals at Bob Lord Field on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. The Wolves (3-0 in the state playoffs this year) improved to 11-2 overall with a 42-16 home win over Savannah Christian School in Peachtree Corners on Nov. 29.

"It's awesome," Morrell said about FCS' hosting a state football semifinal match for the first time in school history. "There will be a lot of excitement here."

Friday's game against Hebron had plenty of excitement and tense moments too.

The Paladins led 21-7 at halftime but the Lions pulled to within a touchdown three times in the second half, including 21-14 on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 4:01 left in the third quarter, 28-21 on a 30-yard TD pass with 9:18 left in the game and 35-28 on a 10-yard shuffle pass with 6:43 remaining in the team's next to last possession.

The Paladins and Lions traded touchdowns on their first possessions of the game. Junior Murphy Reeves scored on a 5-yard run at 6:57 to cap a 13-play, 68-yard drive. Junior Matt Rodgers booted the first of five consecutive extra points.

Hebron tied it on a 42-yard run with 2:59 left in the opening quarter.

Following two punts by FCS and one by the Lions, the Fellowship defense came up big. Sophomore Josh Cole batted down a pass on 4th-and-5 from the FCS 34-yard-line with 6:49 left in the second quarter.

The Paladins then marched down the field and ended a 10-play, 66-yard drive on freshman Jayven Hall's 6-yard TD run to snap the tie.

On Hebron's next series, freshman Kyle Elphick scooped up a Lions' fumble caused by junior Nathan Nardone's hard hit and returned it more than 50 yards to the 2-yard-line. Hall scored on the next play from scrimmage and FCS had a 21-7 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Cole popped outside on an off-tackle run and scored on 38-yard run at 11:24. That put FCS up 28-14.

The Paladins grabbed a 35-21 lead on Reeves' pretty 59-yard score at 7:55 that came on FCS' next play from scrimmage following the 30-yard Lions pass TD.

FCS finished with 280 rushing yards in the game. Reeves led the way with 127 yards on 16 attempts. Cole picked up 63 yards on nine attempts, and Hall collected 63 yards on 11 carries.

Junior Lawson Haigler and Nardone led the Paladins with three tackles each. Nardone registered a sack, while both Haigler and Nardone added one tackle for a loss apiece.

FCS will make its second trip to the state semifinals. The team, which has earned three trips to the Elite Eight since 2016, has notched 12 wins in a season for only the second time in school history. The 2016 club finished a school-record 13-1 mark and reached the state finals.

The Paladins have reached at least 10 wins four times in school history, including 11 or more victories three times.

FCS, 9-4 all-time in state playoff football games that includes a 5-0 mark at Bob Lord Field, has won three sub Region titles and two Region championships over the past four seasons.

Fellowship is now 94-82 all-time in varsity football, including a 56-24 record for Morrell. The Paladins' coach has won 104 career high school games as a head coach.

Hebron's season ends with an 8-5 record overall.

Click here to view the Class A private school playoff bracket.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Undefeated Paladins to Host Hebron Christian Academy in GHSA Class A Private Football Championships Quarterfinal Matchup

What a difference a week makes. The football team from Fellowship Christian School will face an entirely different style team this week than it did last week.

The fourth-seeded Paladins (11-0) defeated the triple-option North Cobb Christian School team, 14-0, at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 22 in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private Football Championships. The Eagles were the bracket's 12th seed.

Fellowship's opponent this week, No. 13 Hebron Christian Academy of Dacula is a pass-oriented team on Nov. 29. Kick off for the Elite Eight game at Bob Lord Field is at 7:30 p.m.

"It's going to be a challenge," head coach Al Morrell said. "We are in for a tough game. They're 8-4, but all of their loses came to undefeated teams [at the time of the game]. They pass the ball more than they run. They have a talented quarterback and three very fast receivers. Those four are all very athletic. They have a big line, and they are a spread team, which is very different than a triple-option team. A lot of their players play both ways, so they have a talented defense too."

The keys for the game are pretty simple for Fellowship.

"We can't allow their receivers to make big plays," Morrell said. "We also have to establish our own run game, and do what we do best. The line and our backs have to block, and we have to match their scores, finish drives and eliminate mistakes."

The Fellowship run game has shown plenty of depth this season, featuring three backs with at least 644 yards and a scrambling quarterback who's added 349 yards.

A total of 15 runners have touched the ball this season for FCS to combine for 3,809 rush yards, 60 rush touchdowns and just five fumbles this year. The club has averaged 346.27 yards per game on the ground.

"It's a good thing we have depth," Morrell said. "We have had some injuries this year, but we do have plenty of skilled players back there."

Junior Murphy Reeves, who was battled a 100-degree plus fever against NCCS, leads the Paladins with 1,425 yards, 151 carries and 15 touchdowns on the ground this season. Freshman Jayven Hall has collected 700 yards on 94 carries, while sophomore Josh Cole has gained 644 yards on 67 attempts. Junior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt has picked up 349 yards on 63 carries.

Fellowship quarterbacks have combined for 46 pass completions, 807 yards and six touchdowns this season. Hildebrandt has thrown for 649 yards and five scores. Junior Jordan Brewer leads the team with 16 catches, 274 yards and two TD catches. Cole is next with seven catches and 192 yards.

The Paladins defense posted its third shutout of the season last Friday against the Eagles. As a team, the Fellowship defense has allowed just 2,347 yards this season and 1,081 on the ground.

Cole leads the Paladins with 79 total tackles, 30 solo stops and 49 assisted tackles. Hall is next with 66 total stops (18 solo tackles, 48 assists), while junior Nathan Nardone ranks third on the team with 56 tackles and is second with 29 solo stops.

Freshman Kyle Elphick ranks fourth on the team with 53 tackles (26 solo stops, 27 assists), and tops the team with four interceptions. Senior Bryce Paul and junior Garrett Hauenstein both have made two interceptions. Hall and junior Charlie Patterson share the team lead with seven tackles for a loss. Patterson's four sacks top the team.

FCS has made its third trip to the Elite Eight since 2016, and is trying to make its second trip to the state semifinals in four years.

The Paladins have reached 11 wins for the third time in school history. FCS, 8-4 all-time in state playoff football games that includes a 3-0 mark at Bob Lord Field, has won three sub Region titles and two Region championships over the past four seasons. The team has also reached at least 10 wins three times since 2016.

Fellowship is now 93-82 all-time in varsity football, including a 55-24 record for Morrell. The Paladins' coach has won 103 career high school games as a head coach.

Hebron improved to 8-4 overall with an upset 35-6 victory over No. 5 Mount de Sales Academy of Macon on Nov. 22. The Lions are seeded 12th in the bracket. FCS and Hebron have never met on the field in a varsity football game.

Hebron lost to Clinch County (10-1 overall) and 11-0 Holy Innocents' Episcopal School early in the season, before falling to 11-0 Athens Academy twice in a two-week span (27-0 on Nov. 1 and 50-21 on Nov. 8). The Lions opened the state playoffs with a13-7 win over Mount Vernon Presbyterian School on Nov. 15.

Click here to view the Class A private school playoff bracket.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

FCS Seniors Aycock and Jones Named to All Region Softball Team

Seniors Baylor Aycock and Emma Jones of the Fellowship Christian School varsity softball squad have been selected for the All Region Softball Team.

Aycock was named to the first team.

"Baylor was an absolute beast this season for us and it was a pleasure getting to coach her," head coach Shawn Oliver said. "She was the MVP of our team and I'm happy the coaches in our sub-Region recognized her performance and what she meant to our team. I mean, anytime you hit .600 with a couple of bombs you had a pretty good year, but then you factor in the fact that she pitched almost 60 innings while striking out 71 and you really see how special of a year she had."

Jones was selected for the second team.

"I'm so excited for Emma to earn this honor," Jones said. "Catchers get beat up, and despite the heat she dealt with all year, she just pushed through it and caught almost every inning. The best thing was the umpire at our Northview game towards the end of the season, who had us last year, complemented Emma saying 'she's really improved as a catcher.' She hit well this season with some big hits with RISP."

Strong Second Half Carries Paladins Past NCCS to Advance in GHSA Class A Private Football Championships

Once again, running back depth was very important for the varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School. Some solid defense didn't hurt either.

After the team's No. 1 running back Murphy Reeves, who was battling a 100-degree plus fever, left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter, freshman Jayven Hall stepped in and scored the game's first touchdown on a 1st-and-goal play from the 9-yard line with 6:41 left.

Hall finished with a team-high 121 yards on 19 carries as the Paladins defeated North Cobb Christian School, 14-0, in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private School Football Championships at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 22.

"It's a good thing with have depth [at running back]," said head coach Al Morrell, who's led FCS to its third trip to the Elite Eight since 2016. "Had we not had that, we'd have been in trouble. You have to credit North Cobb Christian. They are a very, very good football team. But our boys played hard. Our defense played outstanding too."

The fourth-seeded Paladins (11-0) host No. 12 Hebron Christian Academy in the Elite Eight at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Click here to view the Class A private school playoff bracket. It's the school's third trip to the Elite Eight since 2016.

On Nov. 22, FCS' defense held the Eagles' triple-option offense to just 110 rushing yards and 157 total yards and posted its third shutout of the season.

Senior Bryce Paul made two interceptions in the game, including one to set up the Paladins first-scoring drive and the second one in the end zone with 4:37 left to prevent NCCS from ending a long drive with a touchdown.

"Those were two big interceptions," Morrell said. "It was a great job all night by our defense. I am really proud of the boys and our coaching staff."

Junior linebacker Caleb McClung returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with an ankle injury, and had an immediate impact.

"That was huge for us," Morrell said. "He was in on two tackles on the first series of the game. His return adds a lot of depth to our defense and linebackers."

McClung, among the team's top tacklers as a sophomore, finished with four total stops (two solo, two assists) against the Eagles. Cole led the team with 12 tackles (five solo, seven assists), while junior Lawson Haigler added 10 tackles (three solo, seven assists).

Juniors Nathan Nardone (two solo, four assists) and Brady Niblock (three solo, three assists) added six tackles each.

Junior Cole Chapman and senior Blake Scott each had a sack.

The Paladins picked up 265 yards, including 240 rushing. Junior quarterback Hildebrandt completed one pass – a 25-yard gain – to Hall. Reeves finished with 59 yards on 10 carries, while sophomore Josh Cole tacked on 34 yards on nine attempts.

Hildebrandt scored on a quarterback keeper just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter and Cole tacked on the two-point conversion run to give FCS a 14-0 lead.

The Paladins have reached 11 wins for the third time in school history. FCS, 8-4 all-time in state playoff football games, has won three sub Region titles and two Region championships over the past four seasons. The team has also reached at least 10 wins three times since 2016. Fellowship is now 93-82 all-time in varsity football, including a 55-24 record for Morrell. The Paladins' coach has won 103 career high school games as a head coach.

The Eagles, seeded 13th overall, finish the season 8-4 overall.

Hebron improved to 8-4 overall with an upset 35-6 victory over No. 5 Mount de Sales Academy of Macon on Nov. 22. The Lions are seeded 12th in the bracket. FCS and Hebron have never met on the field in a varsity football game.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

FCS to Face North Cobb Christian School in GHSA Playoff Match at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 22

The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School will face a triple option offense for the first time since May in its playoff game on Friday.

The Paladins (10-0 overall) host North Cobb Christian School in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private Football Championships on Nov. 22.

Kickoff for the game at Bob Lord Field is 7:30 p.m. The contest is the fourth state playoff game hosted by the Paladins at Bob Lord Field in school history.

"They run the triple option," head coach Al Morrell said. "We have not seen that type of offense since the spring game against Holy Innocents' Episcopal School. We'll have to play assignment football. They have great speed at quarterback and wing back. The challenge is to control their speed and limit big plays. We also have to eliminate penalties and mistakes."

The Eagles, seeded 13th overall, defeated No. 20 George Walton Academy, 16-14, on Nov. 15 in Acworth. NCCS, 0-2 all-time versus FCS in varsity football, is now 8-3 overall.

The Paladins are seeded fourth among the 24 teams in the private school bracket. They are among eight teams that received first-round byes. Click here to view the playoff bracket.

FCS, 7-4 all-time in state playoff football games, has won three sub Region titles and two Region championships over the past four seasons. The team has reached at least 10 wins three times since 2016. Fellowship is now 92-82 all-time in varsity football, including a 54-24 record for Morrell.

Fellowship has out gained its opponents 4,351 yards to 2,190 yards through 10 games. That includes a 3,569 to 971 advantage on the ground. FCS quarterbacks have thrown for 782 yards, while the defense has allowed 1,219 passing yards.

"We have to execute well offensively," Morrell said. "We have to block well like we have been doing, and run well. The kids have been playing hard all year."

Junior Murphy Reeves led FCS' stellar run game with 141 carries, 1,366 yards and 15 touchdown runs. Sophomore Josh Cole is next with 58 carries, 610 yards and 13 rush TDs. Freshman Jayven Hall has collected 579 yards on 74 rushes. Hall and junior quarterback Eli Hildenbrandt have both scored 10 rushing touchdowns.

Hildebrandt has gone 31-for-65 for 624 yards and five TDs. Junior Jordan Brewer leads the team with 16 receptions, 274 receiving yards and two TD catches.

NCCS and FCS have had three common opponents this season – The Darlington School, Saint Francis and The Walker School. The Eagles fell 21-7 to Darlington at home on Nov. 1, and the Paladins downed Darlington 42-7 at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 8 to win the Region crown. Both schools defeated the Knights and the Wolverines.

The Paladins had the first-round bye.

"It was good to have a week off," Morrell said. "We are healthy, and Caleb [McClung] is back this week. We are excited for him. The week off helped get almost everyone healthy. All week we have talked about the fact we want to go 1-0. Our focus is on North Cobb Christian. We take them one game at a time."

Cole leads the Paladin defense with 68 total tackles (25 solo, 43 assists), while junior Nathan Nardone's 26 solo tackles and Hall's 45 assisted stops lead the team. Hall ranks second on the squad with 63 tackles, while Nardone is third with 50.

The Paladins have made four straight trips to the state playoffs. What's the secret to the program's success?

"We have had consistency with the coaches," Morrell said. "We have had the same staff, the same offense and the same defense. And our kids have bought into the weight room. Plus we have great chemistry and a bunch of very hard working kids."

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Next up: FCS to Face North Cobb Christian in Second Round State Football Playoff Game

The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School will face North Cobb Christian School in the second round of the GHSA Class A Private Football Championships this Friday night.

Kickoff for the game at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 22 is 7:30 p.m. The contest is the fourth state playoff game hosted by the Paladins at Bob Lord Field in school history.

The Eagles, seeded 13th overall, defeated No. 20 George Walton Academy, 16-14, on Nov. 15 in Acworth. NCCS, 0-2 all-time versus FCS in varsity football, is now 8-3 overall.

The Paladins (10-0 overall) are seeded fourth among the 24 teams in the private school bracket. They are among eight teams that received first-round byes. Click here to view the private school playoff bracket.

FCS, 7-4 all-time in state playoff football games, has won three sub Region titles and two Region championships over the past four seasons. The team has reached at least 10 wins three times since 2016.

Fellowship is now 92-82 all-time in varsity football, including a 54-24 record for head coach Al Morrell.

NCCS and FCS have had three common opponents this season – The Darlington School, Saint Francis and The Walker School. The Eagles fell 21-7 to Darlington at home on Nov. 1, and the Paladins downed Darlington 42-7 at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 8 to win the Region crown. Both schools defeated the Knights and the Wolverines.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

FCS Defense Shines in Football Victory over No. 1 Ranked Darlington on Senior Night

To beat the team ranked No. 1 in the state's power rankings, the Paladins knew that they would have to play a good defensive game.

Check that off the list.

The undefeated Paladins (8-0 in Region and 10-0 overall) held The Darlington School to just one touchdown, forced five punts, two interceptions and two turnovers on downs and recovered one fumble in a 42-7 victory at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 8. It was the first loss of the season for the Tigers (6-1 in Region games and 9-1 overall). The Senior Night victory in the Region 6-A Championship Game gave FCS its third Region title since 2016.

"Our defense was outstanding," head coach Al Morrell said. "We did what we needed to do. We eliminated their big plays and were great in the red zone. The turnovers were huge for our football team."

Sophomore Josh Cole led the FCS defense with eight assisted tackles and 12 total stops. He also made one fumble recovery. Freshman Kyle Elphick recorded 10 tackles, including five solo stops. Junior Garrett Hauenstein finished with an interception and led Fellowship with six solo tackles. Junior Lawson Haigler also made an interception.

With the win, the Paladins attained their third 10-win season since 2016, and the fourth in the history of the program. Fellowship improved to 92-82 overall in varsity football.

Morrell's team is headed for its fourth straight trip to the GHSA Class A Private School Football Championships. The Paladins will likely receive a first-round bye as they entered the game No. 7 in the power rankings and beat the top-seeded club.

"The credit [for FCS' success] goes to all the assistant coaches and our players," said Morrell, 54-24 all-time at FCS and the winner of 103 varsity football games as a head coach. "This team has a great love for each other and great team chemistry. We have overcome injuries this year, and many young guys have stepped up all season."

On Friday night, the Paladins scored five out of its six touchdowns on the ground, and junior Joey Archer completed a halfback-option pass for another score. Cole scored three touchdowns, while juniors Eli Hildebrandt and Murphy Reeves added one rushing TD each.

The Paladins out gained the Tigers, 430-355 overall, including a 372-191 advantage on the ground. Reeves topped the Paladins with 176 yards on 23 carries, while Cole added 108 on seven attempts and Hildebrandt added 53 yards on nine rushes.

Hildebrandt scored on a quarterback keeper from 12 yards out on FCS' opening drive. Junior Matt Rodgers booted the first of six straight extra-point kicks to give Fellowship a 7-0 lead at 9:26.

Archer's pass to a wide-open Bryce Paul went for 43 yards. The senior grabbed the ball and sprinted to the end zone at 8:16 of the second.

Following a 25-yard TD run by the Tigers at 7:44, the Paladins exploded for two scores over the final 1:56 of the half to take a 28-7 lead into the locker room.

Reeves scored from 2 yards out with 1:56 left in a drive set up by a very short punt from deep in Darlington territory. Following junior Lawson Haigler's interception, Cole scored his first TD from 3 yards out with 20.5 seconds left in the first half.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Cole added two more scores in the fourth quarter. He scored on a dazzling 83-yard run as he bolted around tackle, took off to the center of the field and then hit the far sidelines as he out raced five Tigers to the end zone just 41 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Hauenstein picked off a Darlington pass at the goal line with 8:21 to go to end the Tigers' long drive and set up a 76-yard drive to close out the scoring. The drive featured a pair of long runs by Reeves and Hildebrandt's 10-yard gainer on 3rd-and-6 from the 21-yard-line. Cole scored from 2 yards out just two plays later to give FCS its ninth game of at least 40 points in 2019.

"Our offense kept pounding the ball, and we established the perimeter game," Morrell said. "We have four guys who can really run the ball. We can spread out, run well and follow the blocks. Our offensive line played very well again."

Reeves led that ground attack on Friday. He entered the game with 1,190 yards, one of 67 running backs to reach the 1,000-yard plateau in the state of Georgia this season. Reeves set career highs with 176 attempts, 1,710 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns as a sophomore.

Prior to the game, the FCS athletic department honored its student football trainers and six senior football players: Paul, Brett Eppinger, Andrew Jordan, Trexton Lewis, Ben Rogers and Blake Scott. At halftime, the senior members of the football film crew and cheerleading squad, and the cross-country, softball and volleyball teams were honored.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)

Region Championship Game: FCS Hosts Darlington in Historic Game for the Championship

For the first time in Fellowship Christian School history, the varsity Paladin football is hosting a game for the Region Championship. It's also Senior Night. So needless to say Friday's game (Nov. 8) against The Darlington School is a pretty big deal.

"I was telling someone the other day that this season is like 2016," head coach Al Morrell said. "I am having so much fun that I don't want the season to end. The players and coaches are having fun."

The undefeated Tigers travel to Roswell with a 6-0 Region mark, a sub Region title, a 9-0 overall record and a No.1 rank in the Power Rankings.

This battle of unbeaten teams will have an impact on the GHSA Class A Private School Championship state playoff brackets, although Morrell admits he has not studied the state playoff projections too much.

"All I know is if we win, we'll get a first-round bye," Morrell said. "At this point we are focused on Darlington. Obviously they are the best team we have faced. They are No. 1 in the Power Rankings. They have a lineman going to UGA, their quarterback is headed to Colorado State and they have another [Division I] walk-on. They are a very solid and well-rounded football team."

The schools have never met on the varsity football playing field.

So how do you prepare for a team that you have never faced?

"Like we always do, we exchange videos with our opponents," Morrell said. "We breakdown the video, and prepare with the best schemes on defense, and map out a plan of attack on offense and do what we do best there. They play great defense, so we'll have attack their defense. Our defense will have to stop them, and be prepared for their balanced attack. They actually throw and the run the ball equally."

The Paladins improved to 9-0 with a 31-9 victory over Whitefield Academy at home on Nov. 1 to capture it's third sub Region title since 2016. The club is playing the Tigers for a chance to capture its third Region football title overall (2016 and 2007). The 2016 club came one game away from winning the state championship among Class A Private schools.

"It's amazing to see what this team has accomplished this year," said Morrell, who has posted a 53-24 all-time record at Fellowship. "We have six seniors who have really given their all to this program. The coaches and I are super excited to be where we are. We began the season saying we needed to take it one game at a time and be prepared week to week. The players and coaches have done that."

The Tigers posted a 21-6 road win at North Cobb Christian School on Nov. 1 to wrap up a sub Region crown.

As Morrell mentioned, the Paladins will have to establish a strong run game on Friday night.

This season, Fellowship has gained 3,921 yards compared to 1,835 for its nine opponents combined. The club has gained 3,197 yards on the ground, and 724 passing in 2019.

Junior Murphy Reeves tops the Paladins in rushing yards (1,190), carries (118) and touchdowns (14).

Junior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt leads Paladin quarterbacks with 609 yards passing (29-for-61) with five touchdowns. Junior Jordan Brewer tops the squad with receiving wise with 274 yards, 16 catches and two TD grabs.

Freshman Jayven Hall leads the team with 56 total tackles.

On Nov. 1, the Paladins scored 31 points but their streak of 40-or-more points to start the season ended at eight straight games. FCS (55-14 winner at Mount Pisgah) and Eagle's Landing Christian School (63-0 winner over Strong Rock) on Oct. 25 became only the third and fourth schools in high school football history in Georgia to begin a season with eight straight 40-plus point games, according to Georgia High School Football Daily.

The Chargers posted a 56-3 road win at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School on Nov. 1 to become just the fourth team in state history (Thomson in 2011, Greater Atlanta Christian in 2013 and Pelham in 2018) to score 40 or more points in nine straight games to start a season and earn a share of the Georgia record.

(Photo courtesy of Cari Hildebrandt's Facebook page)

Lady Paladins Claim 11th Place at State Cross-Country Meet

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

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, in a field of 110 runners.

"Today's race culminated a terrific season for the girls, in terms of personal effort and team work, including qualifying for today's State meet by taking home the Region first place trophy last week," head coach To Harrison said. "Likewise, for two of our girls, Charlotte Berg and Priscilla Lorenzo, today's meet brought an end to a successful four-year high school cross-country career. These two girls have proven that an athlete's perseverance and dedication enable successful outcomes to personal efforts. For all the girls, attendance at the state meet today also exemplifies those attributes, through a job well done."

(Photo from @PaladinsFCS)

Homecoming Victory: FCS Downs Whitefield Academy to Claim Sub Region Title

While one streak may have ended, the one that really matters for the Fellowship Christian School football team continues.

The undefeated Paladins wrapped up their third sub Region championship since 2016 with a 31-9 Homecoming Night victory over Whitefield Academy before a packed house at Bob Lord Field on Nov. 1. Fellowship improved to 9-0 overall and 7-0 in Region contests.

Plenty of patterns continued on a cold Friday night in Roswell as FCS played solid defense, had another potent run game led by the offensive line's stellar blocking, and more players stepped up to fill the void caused by injuries.

"I could not be prouder," said head coach Al Morrell, now 53-24 at Fellowship. "These young men with huge hearts continue to step up. Whitefield is a very good football team, but we executed well. We played better up front and kept them under control [offensively]. Our line played well in the absence of Nate [Nardone]. Cole Chapman played great to fill in for Nate. Our kids continue to step up and gut it out. It's an amazing group of kids."

Fellowship hosts The Darlington School on Nov. 8 on Senior Night in the Region Championship game. The Paladins seek their third Region title against the undefeated Tigers, who beat North Cobb Christian School, 21-6, in Acworth on Nov. 1.

Darlington (6-0 in Region and 9-0 overall) has never played FCS in varsity football.

On Friday night at Bob Lord Field, the Paladins scored 31 points but their streak of 40-or-more points to start the season ended at eight straight games. On Oct. 25, FCS (55-14 winner at Mount Pisgah) and Eagle's Landing Christian School (63-0 winner over Strong Rock) became only the third and fourth schools in high school football history in Georgia to begin a season with eight straight 40-plus point games, according to Georgia High School Football Daily. The Chargers posted a 56-3 road win at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School to become just the fourth team in state history (Thomson in 2011, Greater Atlanta Christian in 2013 and Pelham in 2018) to score 40 or more points in nine straight games to start a season and earn a share of the Georgia record.

Against Whitefield, junior Murphy Reeves collected 219 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead FCS to the win. Overall, the Paladins finished with 441 yards on the ground.

FCS built a 14-3 lead after the first quarter on a pair of TD runs by Josh Cole (30 yards just 51 seconds into the game), and Reeves from 18 yards to cap the Paladins' second drive with 6:06 left in the opening quarter. Junior Matt Rodgers booted the first two of his four extra-point kicks in the first quarter.

Following Whitefield's second punt, FCS quarterback Eli Hildebrandt lost a fumble that led to a WolfPack field goal from 29 yards out with 54 second left in the quarter.

The WolfPack (6-1 in Region games and 7-2 overall) scored on a 31-yard TD pass play to cut FCS' lead to 14-9 with 4:16 left in the half. FCS blocked the extra-point kick attempt.

On FCS' fifth possession of the first half, Rodgers' 43-yard field goal as time expired gave the Paladins a 17-9 lead. Fellowship's 53-yard drive was kept going with a couple of big scrambles by Hildebrandt early in the drive, including 19 yards on a 3rd-and-6 play from the FCS 25-yard-line and then a 25-yard gainer on the next first-down play.

"Penalties and turnovers hurt us in the first half," Morrell said. "But the kids responded well, we got our run game going well and we played a great second half."

Reeves (3 yards) and freshman Jayven Hall (7 yards) scored the only touchdowns of the second half.

Whitefield received the opening kickoff of the second half, but junior Michael Washburne picked off a Whitefield pass at 8:25 of the third quarter to set up Reeves' TD.

With 41.6 seconds left in the third quarter, Reeves' run capped an 80-yard drive that featured a pair of long runs by Reeves, another long ground gainer by freshman Jayven Hall and a 15-yard facemask penalty (the only penalty of the game against the WolfPack). Fellowship was flagged 11 times for 93 yards in the contest.

Following another Whitefield punt, Hall's 7-yard run with 8:32 left made the score 31-9.

Hall collected 84 yards on 11 carries, while Hildebrandt picked up 64 on six scrambles. Cole finished the game with 57 yards on eight attempts. Fellowship did not complete a pass.

Junior Garrett Hauenstein's interception deep in Paladin territory with 6:39 to go kept the WolfPack from getting any closer.

Junior Lawson Haigler led the FCS defense in tackles.

(Photos by Martha Heid and Jennifer Jordan)

Lady Paladins Prepared for State Meet; Team ranked eighth among Class A Private Schools

The Fellowship Christian School girls' cross-country team will compete in the GHSA Class A Private Cross Country Championships this Saturday (Nov. 2) at Carrollton High School in Carrollton.

Junior Sami Rickheim is ranked ninth overall in the state among Class A Private school female runners. She and six other Lady Paladins will represent FCS at the meet. Freshman Elizabeth Bishop, sophomore Elsa Loechl, junior Sophia Mahlke and seniors Abby Beard, Charlotte Berg and Priscilla Lorenzo will join Rickheim and compete against a field of more than 100 runners from up to 17 or 18 private schools.

The Lady Paladins recently captured the Area championship. The squad enters the state race ranked eighth overall among Class A Private schools.

"Fellowship Christian School will have the opportunity to race against teams from all over Georgia, including the three other qualifying teams from our own area," head coach Tom Harrison said. "While the race will provide some tough competition for our girls, the team is equal to the task. They have bonded so well, and have come together as a team quite cohesively this season. The team has shown a mutual support of one another combined with individual discipline and desire to put in the best effort that enables them to run their race competitively. Each of these girls respects the sport in that they understand the work and tenacity required to compete at the state level."

(Photo by Leigh-Ann Thompson)

Undefeated: FCS to Face Whitefield Academy on Homecoming in Battle for Sub Region Crown

It's a true homecoming game for the varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School on Friday night (Nov. 1).

The undefeated Paladins play at Bob Lord Field for the first time since a 48-17 victory over Mount Paran Christian School on Sept. 27 on Nov. 1 against Whitefield Academy on Homecoming Night at 7:30 p.m. The contest will determine the sub Region championship.

Fellowship captured three games in October to extend its win and 40-plus point streaks to eight games. FCS owns a 6-0 Region record and an 8-0 overall mark.

"It will be a big test Friday for sure," FCS head coach All Morrell said. "It will be for the sub Region championship. They're a very solid football team. It will be quite a challenge. They have plenty of team speed, and very good skilled position players. They have a quarterback and three receivers who can really run. They are the most talented team we've faced."

The WolfPack enter the game with a 6-0 Region mark and are 7-1 overall. Whitefield has won six straight contests, including a 42-7 win over The Walker School on Oct. 25.

Fellowship, 4-7 all-time against the WolfPack in varsity football games, won last year's matchup in Mableton, 42-40, on Oct. 26.

"Controlling the big play will be the biggest key against them Friday," Morrell said. "They also have plenty of team speed on defense as well. So it comes down to execution. The offensive line has to do its job, the backs need to block for each other and we have to do what we have been doing on offense and defense. We have been playing unselfish football all year. We will also have to throw the ball."

With a 55-14 road win at Mount Pisgah on Oct. 25, the Paladins reached 40-or-more points for the eighth straight game. FCS and Eagle's Landing Christian School (63-0 winner over Strong Rock on Oct. 25) are only the third and fourth schools in high school football history in Georgia to begin a season with eight straight 40-plus point games, according to Georgia High School Football Daily.

Three teams in state history (Thomson in 2011, GAC in 2013 and Pelham in 2018) have scored 40 or more points in nine straight games to start a season that shares the state record. Both Monroe Area (2013) and Pickens (2018) reached that point level for eight contests to begin the season prior to this season.

The Paladins, 90-82 all-time in varsity football, out scored its last three opponents 152-35 in October. But Whitefield is expected to present the club's biggest challenge to maintain its' undefeated record.

"We are reminding [the FCS players] that the sub Region and Region championships are on the line," Morrell said. "That's been our team goals all season. Our kids want to play big games like this. There's no lack of motivation. It's going to be very exciting to be home again."

Through eight games, the Paladins have flexed plenty offensive muscle on the way to gaining 3,480 total yards and score 382 points. The defense has held its opponents to 1,642 yards, or just 938 on the ground. Both Whitefield and FCS have allowed 99 points. The WolfPack has scored 270 points.

FCS' run game has collected 2,756 yards, and is led by junior Murphy Reeves with 971 yards and 12 touchdowns on 97 carries. Freshman Jayven Hall has collected 483 yards on 57 attempts, while sophomore Josh Cole has earned 446 yards on 42 rushes and senior Bryce Paul has added 229 yards on 17 carries. Hall, Cole and junior Eli Hildebrandt have all scored nine rushing TDs.

Hildebrandt, who has 205 yards on 40 rushes, has thrown for 609 yards. He's completed 56 percent of his passes (29-for-56) and has five TD passes. As a team, the Paladins have 724 passing yards.

Junior Jordan Brewer leads the team's receivers with 16 catches, 274 yards and two touchdown grabs.

Hall tops the Paladins with 51 tackles and 37 assisted stops, and shares the lead with six tackles for a loss. Cole's 50 tackles rank second on the squad, and he is second on the Fellowship defense with 19 solo tackles. Freshman Kyle Elphick's four interceptions lead FCS.

(Photo by Chip Cookston)

Still Unbeaten: Paladins Post Road Victory at Mount Pisgah to go 8-0

Another Friday night, and one more offensive outburst on the field for the undefeated and very consistent varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School.

The Paladins (6-0 in Region games and 8-0 overall) posted a 55-14 victory over Mount Pisgah Christian School on Oct. 25. It was the third-highest single-game point total in FCS history. Fellowship downed The Walker School, 57-20, on the road on Sept. 7, 2018, and posted a 56-6 win at Southwest Atlanta Christian on Nov. 9, 2012.

Fellowship improved to 8-7 all-time versus the Patriots, and are now 90-82 all-time in varsity football.

At Mount Pisgah, it was the eighth straight game that Fellowship has scored at least 40 points. The Paladins and Eagle's Landing Christian School (63-0 winner over Strong Rock on Oct. 25) became only the third and fourth schools in high school football history in Georgia to begin a season with eight straight 40-plus point games, according to Georgia High School Football Daily.

Three teams in state history (Thomson in 2011, GAC in 2013 and Pelham in 2018) have scored 40 or more points in nine straight games to start a season. , Monroe Area (2013) and Pickens (2018) both reached that point level for eight contests to begin the season prior to this season.

On Oct. 25, the Paladins posted a season-high 548 yards in the road win. Fellowship opened up leads of 28-7 at halftime and 49-7 through three quarters.

The team finished with seven rushing touchdowns, including two apiece from sophomore Josh Cole and senior Bryce Paul, and one each from juniors Matt Rodgers and Murphy Reeves and senior Trexton Lewis.

Junior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt connected with junior Jordan Brewer on a 12-yard TD pass in the game.

Matt Rodgers kicked the first six extra points, while sophomore Jack O'Connor added the last extra-point kick.

Reeves led 12 FCS different runners with 150 yards on 14 carries, followed by Paul with 96 on three attempts and Cole added 66 on five carries. Hall finished with 51 yards five attempts, and freshman Nick Persiano added 20 yards on two rushes.

Three FCS players combined for 108 passing yards, including Hildebrandt's 75 yards with a 4-for-7 effort. Junior Joey Archer completed both his pass attempts for 21 yards, and Brewer had one completion for 12. Cole led the team with 57 receiving yards on one catch.

Junior Brady Niblock led FCS with three tackles. Archer, Niblock and junior Brad Rodgers recorded a sack apiece. Brad Rodgers' two tackles for a loss topped the squad.

The Paladins led 14-0 after the first quarter on Paul's 44-yard TD run on a 4th-and-2 play just 2:01 into the game. Hildebrandt's TD pass to Brewer came from 12 yards out with 32 seconds left. Reeves scored on a 71-yard run at 10:44 of the second, followed by Lewis' 10-yard run at 7:55 that was set up by Hall's 43-yard gainer.

Mount Pisgah scored a late touchdown to cut the lead to 28-7.

Fellowship had a pair of Cole touchdown runs (1 and 55 yards) to open the third-quarter scoring. Paul's 50-yard TD off a recovery on a high snap on a Patriot punt came with 57 seconds left in the third. Following the Patriots' fourth-quarter TD, the Paladins closed out the scoring on Matt Rodgers' 6-yard touchdown run.

(Photos by Chip Cookston)