Valentine's Day Baseball: Paladins Down 5A Fayette County, 18-1; Sweep Doubleheader

The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team pounded out 22 hits in a doubleheader sweep of a 5A opponent. It was the team's first two games of the regular season.

"We absolutely hammered the baseball today," head coach Shawn Oliver said. "We challenged our guys after the scrimmage to attack the middle of the field and they did exactly that. Pitchers filled up the zone and our defense played strong through some tough conditions. I love every second I get with these guys and thankful for my coaches for helping our boys grow."

The Paladins (2-0 overall) claimed the second game over Fayette County High School, 18-1, in a four-inning contest played in Fayetteville on Feb. 14.

Fellowship collected 11 hits as a team, including four players with multiple-high games. Junior David Bishop led the way with three hits. Freshman Cooper Davidson, junior Luke Schmidt and senior Preston Joye each collected two hits.

Junior Garrett Hauenstein, Bishop and Joye drove home three runs apiece.

Freshman Jack Rickheim, Schmidt, Cooper Davidson and junior Andrew Davidson earned one RBI each.

Sophomore Thomas Bourne started the game on the mound. He allowed one hit and one run, struck out one and picked up the win. Junior Noah Goss threw one inning in relief.

The Paladins scored 11 runs in the first inning, added three in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth.

On Feb. 14, the Paladins pounded out 11 hits in a 15-0 game one victory called after three innings.

A total of nine players notched at least one hit for Fellowship, which scored one run in the first inning and played 14 runs in the third.

Joye led FCS with three RBIs, collected two hits and also tossed the complete-game win on the mound. Joye allowed just one hit and struck out five in three innings.

Andrew Davidson collected two hits, and had one RBI. Cooper Davidson and junior Matson Grose both drove in two runs. Rickheim, juniors Jonthan Morris and Luke Schmidt, and senior Brandon Reeves all earned one RBI.

(File photo of head coach Shawn Oliver)

Paladins Blank Landmark for First Victory of 2020

The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys soccer team posted a shutout victory on the road on Feb. 11.

The Paladins (1-1 overall) notched a 3-0 victory over Landmark Christian School at Peachtree City MOBA's turf soccer stadium. The game was moved to Peachtree City due to wet weather conditions at Landmark's home field.

On a rainy night, two freshmen players netted their first varsity goals in the victory.

FCS' goal scorers in the game were junior Brad Rodgers and freshmen Ethan Durham and Bradley Hungerbuhler. Both Rodgers and Durham picked up an assist in the match.

Freshman Trey Weatherby played in goal for Fellowship and earned the clean sheet.

The game was scoreless in the second half. FCS led 3-0 at halftime.

(Photos by John Heid and Scott Sawyer)

Fellowship Tennis Teams Set to Kick Off Season against Providence Feb. 20; Feb. 11 Matches Rained Out

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls and boys tennis teams kick off the season on Feb. 20.

Due to the recent rains, the Fellowship boys and girls match against The Weber School on Feb. 11 at Paladin Park has been cancelled. The season opener will now be on Feb. 20 against Providence Christian Academy at Paladin Park, beginning at 4 p.m.

Jason Kennedy enters his fifth season as the team's coach, and Pat Guerry is the community coach.

"We feel the girls are the strength of the team," Kennedy said. "We have a strong nucleus with our senior girls. Our goals are for them to make the Region tournament again."

Fellowship's seniors include Layne Burke, Alissa Gaddis and Virginia Guerry.

The girls went 5-7 in 2018, and are coming off a 3-9 campaign in 2017.

The boys team has not done as well in recent seasons, but Kennedy is excited about the talent level in middle school.

"We know we have talent on the boys side in middle school," he said. "I watched them play in the fall, and we know there were some very good eighth graders on that team. We are excited for them to join the high school program."

The boys and girls teams have both been preparing for the season well.

"Our practices have been great," Kennedy said. "The spring can be difficult because of the weather, but we are excited about the new players who have joined our program and what they are showing in practice. We seem always need more guys, but we do have a lot of returners. We anticipate being very competitive this season."

Several of the squad's key players are competing all year in tennis.

"That has helped their growth," Kennedy said. "We tend to have good team camaraderie, which has helped our program grow. It's too early to know what to expect in Region play, but we are prepared."

High Expectations for Lady Paladin Squad that Reached GHSA Final Four, Set School Record for Wins in 2019

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls lacrosse team has made a lot of strides since becoming a varsity sport in 2017.

In its third varsity season, the FCS squad advanced to the Final Four of the 2019 GHSA Class A-AAAAA Girls Lacrosse Championships, and finished with a school-record 17-2 mark. In 2018, the Lady Paladins qualified for the state tournament in its second varsity campaign.

Weather permitting, the Lady Paladins open the season at Bob Lord Field on Feb. 11 against 5A Union Grove High School at 6 p.m. The team takes on 7A Wheeler High School at home on Feb. 12 at 5:45 p.m.

What's the outlook for Fellowship's fourth varsity season?

"It looks bright," said Tracy Morgan, the school's director of varsity girls lacrosse. "Our sophomore returners have been most impressive in that they've stepped onto the field this season and have displayed a lot of growth and maturity. The juniors are our smallest class in numbers, but are an experienced group of players who prepared all summer. Our preparation for 2020 really shows."

The Lady Paladins are now 36-20 all-time in varsity girls lacrosse. Several of the seniors have played on the team since they were freshmen.

"The seniors have proven to be strong and compassionate leaders and the freshman have really made their mark by showing up like a toy that's been wound up and ready to play," Morgan said. "We have a stronger schedule this year and this team has impressed us with their readiness and ability to get on the field and play hard."

This year's squad will have plenty of speed, and should have a tough defense.

"Speed and defense is probably our one-two punch this year," Morgan said. "In addition to having Abby Beard for her final season, junior Sophia Mahlke and the addition of transfer Avery Scherer and freshmen Ella Nokes, Ella Hargett and Ava Menna gives us speed up and down the field. Add to that our maturity on defense with senior goalie Cary Guthrie and senior defender Suzanne Moore, along with sophomore Addison Taylor and juniors Rachel Scheutze and Sophia Mahlke, we've got a brink wall on the defensive end."

The team's offense should be very strong once again.

"We've already got an arsenal of strong and tricky shooters in returners Brooke Beard and Lexi Menna, along with a solid ball handler up top, Charlotte Berg."

Morgan said last year's 17-2 is something this team is proud off, and helps them set the bar high for 2020. The team's only two losses last season were to the state Class A-5A finalists.

Despite all this team's strengths, Morgan pointed to some areas for growth opportunity.

"Complexity of the defense and offense is where we want to go with this team," she said. "Sarah Nudelman is the newest addition to our coaching staff, and her athletic history of playing and coaching gives us a lot of strength in the goalie position and on defense. Couple that with the history we are now creating with this team, and we have challenged their lax IQ and plan to add some really fun elements on attack and defense."

Morgan and coach Allison Senft have been part of the program from the beginning.

"We are so grateful for this community and how they've embraced us," Morgan said. "We changed things up pretty drastically when we got here, with things like run tests, book reading requirements and personal development challenges. The athletes and the families embraced us so quickly. They had faith in all that surrounded us and jumped on board and off we went. I'd have to say that the support of [former assistant coach] Jeff Buchweitz and Athletic Director David Lowery in addition to the players and their families were what really launched this team."

Varsity Paladin Boys Squad Looks to Build on Historic 2019 Season in 2020; Season Begins Feb. 18

The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys lacrosse team set the bar pretty high in 2019.

The Paladins finished with a school-record 16-4 record and reached the Elite Eight of the GHSA Class A-5A Championships in its first trip to the state tournament. Oh, and by the way, the squad also captured the 1A Region Championships.

Veteran coach Lou Corsetti now serves as FCS' Director of Boys Lacrosse.

"I am not a big wins and losses coach, but we expect to win the Region again and play on the last possible day of the season [in the state finals]," Corsetti said. "We have the opportunity to go very far this season, win the Region and get the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. I am very excited to be a part of this program."

This year's Paladins captains are seniors Drew Fiscus and Michael Pineyro, and junior Josh McLaughlin.

"We have good leaders on this team," said Corsetti, who is a member of the Georgia Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2011).

"It's been fine," Corsetti said of his transition to his new team. "Getting to know the kids has been great. We're starting to jell in practices. We have a couple of very good players back. We're pretty solid at the talent level, but we will be a younger team. But I feel talent wise our top 12-13 kids allow us to play with anybody in the state."

The Paladins kick off the season on Feb. 18 against 6A Northview High School at Bob Lord Field. The JV match begins at 5 p.m. followed by varsity at 6:55 p.m.

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."

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.

Corsetti's teams have a distinctive style of practices.

"We play fast in practice," he said. "We coach quick passes and plays that lead to transition lacrosse. We are always looking for 2-on-1s. We work on scenarios and have some set plays, but I really like our team to free flow. We have the talent and the speed to do that."

Opening Night: FCS Teams Begin the Season Against HIES at Bob Lord Field

Last season, both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams narrowly missed the state playoffs.

The top two schools from each Area qualify for the GHSA Soccer Championships for both boys and girls. The boys and girls teams from FCS finished third in the Area. The Lady Paladins finished 8-5 overall, and the boys were 7-6.

Both squads begin the season at Bob Lord Field against Holy Innocents' Episcopal School on Feb. 4 with their sights set on the state playoffs. The girls dropped a 10-0 decision, and the boys fell 4-1.

"I believe both teams are ready to play," said Andy Trevers, the head coach for both teams. "They want to play. That's normal for kids. They have begun preparation well for the season and it has been a good preseason albeit short, we are eight practices in and we walked onto the field tonight excited. They all love to play the game."

The girls' roster is not complete yet as veterans Emma Jones (senior) and Cate Hardin (sophomore) are still with the varsity girls' basketball team. The Lady Paladin basketball team is still waiting to find out if it qualifies for the state tournament.

"Since we only had one senior last year, we return most of our team from last year," Trevers said. "We have a great senior class, and we are excited about the additions to this roster and looking forward to seeing them all honor Christ as we play."

The Lady Paladin seniors include Alisha Benbow, Noelle Durham, Ellie Jackson, Emma Jones, Lillie Ward, RJ Winchester, Alley Yeager and Emma Yeager.

Leadership from that group of talented seniors will be key for the Lady Paladins.

"We will have a lot of senior leadership on the field," Trevers said. "We have high energy players, who work very hard."

The boys' team will rely heavily on a much smaller group of experienced seniors.

"Our group of upper classmen is small," Trevers said. "We have a young team with just three seniors and three juniors, but are very talented. We're excited about what they can do this season. We need them to step up and be strong leaders on and off the field."

The Paladin seniors include Christian Heid, Dean Parker and Jack Sawyer. Both Heid and Sawyer enter their fourth year of varsity soccer for Fellowship.

"We have a young team, but we are athletic and energetic," Trevers said. "We have added a lot of new players that introduces a lot of youth, with lots of talent and athleticism."

Paladin Varsity Baseball Teams Hope to Build on Historic Successes of 2019; Opens Season Feb. 3 at South Forsyth HS

The Fellowship Christian School varsity baseball team set the bar very high last season.

The 24-10 Paladin squad qualified for the state playoffs for the fourth time in school history – and the second year in-a-row under the leadership of head coach Shawn Oliver – and also reached the Elite Eight for the first time ever this spring.

The team begins its 2020 season at South Forsyth High School in Cumming tonight (Feb. 3) at 6 p.m. Oliver's expectations are guarded despite the success of the 2019 club.

"It's a brand new year and we can't automatically expect this year's team to meet or exceed last year's performance," Oliver said. "Last year was a special year for our program, we earned a trip to Region championship, earned our way into the Elite Eight and two young men [Isaac Bouton and Cameron Gill] are continuing their baseball careers at the next level. If we automatically assume that's the level for our boys, then we put a ton of pressure on them and that's unfair to our team this season. That being said, we've got some young men who are in their third or fourth year as a full-time starter."

Last year's experiences helped some of the younger Paladins grow their skills on the diamond.

"We have several guys who were in those tough games last year when we lost one-run games and they've grown and learned what it took to even make it that far," Oliver added. "Once you get down to the final eight teams in the state, everyone is good and we've got to work hard to get back to being in that spot."

This year's Paladin squad returns six starters – senior Preston Joye, juniors David Bishop, Andrew Davidson, Matson Grose, Garrett Hauenstein and Luke Schmidt. There are another eight players who helped the team reach the Elite Eight – seniors George Moraitakis and Brett Eppinger, juniors Jonathan Morris and Landen Mittrucker, and sophomores Thomas Bourne, Grant Hudson, Wilson Long and Hayes Price.

A few new faces who Oliver thinks can really help the club includes junior Noah Goss and a group of freshman – Cooper Davidson, Will Phipps, Daniel Powell, and Jack Rickheim).

"We are looking strong at the dish again this year as we return 70% of our ABs from last year," Oliver said. "And our guys got bigger and stronger in the offseason. We've got to stick to our offensive approach – driving the baseball through the middle of the field, gap to gap, and forcing pressure on the bases – and if we can avoid getting too big in the box our guys can be successful. Defense is always going to be our strong suit, we put a ton of energy into making sure our guys are fundamentally sound and with the hiring of Coach Mackenzie to sure up our outfield, I'm more confident than ever. Our pitching staff is going to be able to throw strikes, force weak contact, and I know those guys behind them are going to make the plays."

Joye was among the FCS hitting and pitching leaders last season.

"Preston is stepping into a more vocal role this season, with our big vocal guy graduating last year," Oliver said. "I'm looking to Preston to be my voice in the dugout to help rally the troops and uphold our standards. I'm interested to see who else rises to the top, I'm not a huge believer in the fact that older guys are automatically leaders that is always ideal though, so I'm curious to see who's going to poke their heads out of our juniors, sophomores and freshmen."

Oliver and his coaching staff look to guide the boys this season to help the program continue to grow.

"Our success as a program starts and ends with the boys," Oliver said. "I've been blessed to have some very talented guys who have been coachable and turned our culture from a team that was ok with just competing every now and then to a team that expects to compete for Region championships and play deep into the post season. These guys are a talented bunch and as long as they can love each other and love the game, we'll continue to have success."

(File photo from 2019 season)

Waiting Game: Lady Paladins Fall in Region Playoffs But Still Hopes for State Playoff Bid

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team had a disappointing ending to the Region Tournament.

On Feb. 1, the Lady Paladins suffered a 52-40 loss at Trion High School in Trion in the opening round of the Region Tournament. They are ranked No. 25 in the power rankings and the top 24 clubs qualify for the state tournament that begins Feb.14.

"We never lost focus or intensity, and stayed the course all game long," head coach Troy Schulz said. "These ladies played a nearly impeccable first half and out scored Trion 30-22. I know that the final score was not what we wanted, but I can't tell you how happy I am with the way the girls played. Fouls got the best of us in the second half and we couldn't recover."

Sophomore Cate Hardin led Fellowship with 13 points, while senior Cary Guthrie netted 10 and sophomore Savannah Schulz scored eight.

There is a possibility the Lady Paladins (10-9 overall) could move up in the top 24 before the state playoff brackets are announced.

"It is now a wait and see situation as we sit 25th in the power rankings," Schulz said. "If this is the end of the season I told the seniors amidst tears after the game that this season was the most fun I've had since being the coach at Fellowship Christian. These five girls have dedicated a ton of time to this program and I can't express my gratitude to them. Cary, Eliza and Emma have been here since freshman year, and Baylor and Rachel since their sophomore year. I will miss them and what they have brought to the program more than I can ever express. I am hoping we get at least one more game, but if not then thank you seniors."

(Photo from Troy Schulz Twitter)

Lady Paladin Girls Basketball Team Downs The Walker School to Increase Win Streak to Five Games

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team has extended its current win streak to five contests.

Fellowship (10-7 overall) won a Region contest, 40-37, over The Walker School. The team is now 5-6 in Region contests.

Sophomore Kaya Beard scored 14 points, made 10 blocks and grabbed seven rebounds.

"It was a breakout game against her former team," head coach Troy Schulz said. "She nearly had a triple double."

Sophomore Cate Hardin and senior Cary Guthrie scored nine points apiece for Fellowship.

"The girls played with intensity, and were very inspired," Schulz said. "We talked about the importance of this game beforehand and how it could put us in place for the [Region] tournament and the [GHSA Class A Private School] playoffs possibly. They came out and executed the game plan and persevered to the end. Keeping with the motto of 1-0, they were able to accomplish that goal against Walker. We have one more opportunity in the regular season to go 1-0, and that is Tuesday night [Sept. 28] at Mount Pisgah."

(Photo by Kevin Jones)

Lady Paladin Girls Basketball Team Beats Athens Christian Academy to Extend Win Streak

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team defeated Athens Christian Academy to extend its win streak to four games.

Sophomore Cate Hardin led all scorers with 20 points as Fellowship won the non-Region contest, 43-26.

"Keeping in tune with the motto 1-0 the rest of the season, the girls played tough all night," head coach Troy Schulz said. "We moved the ball extremely well and we knocked down seven 3's. As a result it opened up the middle allowing our posts to get into the action. All nine girls saw great minutes and we were able to work on some things for our game tomorrow night against Walker."

Senior Cary Guthrie added six points and senior Emma Jones added five points.

"It's a big game tomorrow night as the Lady Paladins look to improve their spot in the Region standings and their spot in the Region tournament," Schulz said.

The Lady Paladins are now 9-7 overall.

Battle of the Lady Paladins: Fellowship Beats Pinecrest on Senior Night

The Fellowship Christian School girls basketball team extended its win streak to three games on Senior Night.

Fellowship downed Pinecrest Academy, 32-27, in a Region game played at Paladin Gym.

"It was great to celebrate these five senior girls tonight -- Baylor Aycock, Cary Guthrie, Eliza Guthrie, Emma Jones and Rachel Rippen," head coach Troy Schulz said. "These five girls have played in the program a combined 18 years and they all mean the world to me. As always I started the five seniors and they played extremely well in the first quarter outscoring Pinecrest 8-4."

As a group FCS outscored them 9-3 in the second quarter to take a 17-9 lead into halftime.

"We talk about winning quarters," Schulz said. "We have said all year the more quarters you win the better your chances are to win games. After halftime our offense was a little stagnant and we were outscored 6-5 in the third quarter. Pinecrest flat out played us in the fourth quarter [14-10] to make it an extremely close game, but the girls persevered and we were able to get the win."

Sophomore Kaya Beard led all scorers with 12 points, while Cary Guthrie and Jones both had six points.

Fellowship has three games left in the regular season.

"Our motto is go 1-0 is the motto, and the girls were able to do that tonight," the head coach said.

Lady Paladins Down Atlanta Classical on Road in Basketball Action; Improve to 7-7 Overall

The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team reached the .500 mark with its second road victory in as many nights.

On Jan. 18 at Atlanta Jewish Academy in Atlanta, the Lady Paladins posted a 43-21 win over Atlanta Classical Academy in a non-Region game.

Fellowship (7-7 overall) won the scoring battle in all four quarters on Jan. 18 as eight of nine players scored at least one point.

Sophomore Cate Hardin led Fellowship with 17 points. Senior Eliza Guthrie netted seven points and sophomore Savannah Schulz added five.

"We started a bit sluggish the first two quarters, but still led at half, 18-9," head coach Troy Schulz said, who joked that his halftime speech may have helped his team. "The girls got a bit more fire under them after halftime and came out strong defensively that created layups off of turnovers."

FCS out scored Atlanta Classical 14-6 in the third quarter.

"In the fourth we kept our defensive intensity up and slowed down our offense moving the ball more to get layups or short jumpers," Schulz said. "The girls finished the game nicely and we won the quarter 11-6. It was a great job overall by the Lady Paladins."

Fellowship hosts senior night on Jan. 21 as the team hosts Pinecrest Academy at 6 p.m. The team's five seniors – Baylor Aycock, Eliza Guthrie, Cary Guthrie, Emma Jones and Rachel Rippen – will be honored.

FCS Boys Basketball Team Beats Atlanta Classical Academy on Road

The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys basketball squad has posted its fourth victory of the season.

The Paladins ended a four-game losing streak with a non-Region victory over Atlanta Classical Academy, 59-36, on Jan. 18. The contest was played at Atlanta Jewish Academy in Atlanta.

Freshman Zak Thomas and senior Braden Webb each netted 18 points to lead FCS to the victory. The team nailed four 3-point baskets, including three from Webb. Junior London Griggers netted the other one. He finished with 16 points.

Six different Paladins scored at least one point in the contest.

Fellowship held Atlanta Classical scoreless in the first quarter, and took a 13-0 advantage. Atlanta Classical cut the FCS lead to 12 points at halftime – 28-16 – with a 16-15 advantage in the second quarter.

But FCS went on an 18-5 third-quarter spurt to lead 46-21 after three. Atlanta Classical held a slight scoring advantage in the fourth quarter, 15-13.

Overall, the Fellowship squad is 4-15 this season with four regular-season games remaining before the Region tournament being held Feb. 1-8.

Appen Media Honors Six Paladin Football Players

A total of six members of the 2019 Fellowship Christian School football team were honored by Appen Media.

The newspaper selected freshman Jayven Hall (fullback), sophomore Josh Cole (defensive back), juniors Joey Archer (defensive line), Nathan Nardone (linebacker), Charlie Patterson (offensive line) and Murphy Reeves (running back) for the 2019 All North Fulton Football Team. Several GHSA classes were represented.

Click here to see the entire team.

The Paladins finished the season with a 12-1 record and earned a trip to the GHSA Class A Private Football Championships semifinals.

Earlier this postseason, a total of 21 players from FCS and head coach Al Morrell received all Region honors. Patterson was later selected for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's All-State Class A Private Football Team, and Reeves earned honorable mention status for that team.

Offense and Defense Leads Lady Paladin Basketball Squad to Win at Whitefield

A total of nine players scored and the Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team played tough defense in a road victory on Jan. 17.

The Lady Paladins notched a 57-13 win at Whitefield Academy in a Region contest to snap a two-game losing streak.

Sophomore Cate Hardin led the way with 15 points, while senior Emma Jones netted 11 points. Senior Rachel Rippen added nine points and sophomore Kaya Beard chipped in with eight.

"These young ladies moved the ball well and executed our offensive sets extremely well," head coach Troy Schulz said. "We had them down early and it was a great chance to play with humility and grace. That makes me very proud of these young ladies. Our motto for the next week and a half is 1-0."

Overall, Fellowship improved to 6-7 on the season. The team, 3-6 in Region games, has five regular-season games left.