OL, Run Game and Defense Lead Paladins Past 2A McNair in Football Scrimmage at Bob Lord Field
The new faces on the Fellowship Christian School varsity football team's offensive line seemed to do their jobs pretty well on Friday night.
The unit opened the holes for the team to gain more than 300 yards on the ground and score six times on the ground and through the air in the first half of a 48-7 victory over 2A McNair High School of Dekalb County in Atlanta at Bob Lord Field on Aug. 16.
"I was happy with what I saw tonight for the whole team," head coach Al Morrell said. "The offensive line appeared to block well up front. We'll need to break down the film to evaluate their performance, but the new kids seemed to adjust to game action and play well."
The Paladins took a 41-0 halftime lead on touchdown runs by sophomore Josh Cole (two), freshman Jayven Hall and junior Murphy Reeves. Junior quarterback Eli Hildebrandt connected with senior Bryce Paul and junior Josh McLaughlin on a pair of touchdown pass plays.
Reeves had 115 yards on just five touches in the first half. He was among several players to see some quality carries, including Cole, Hall, Hildebrandt, Paul, freshmen Nick Persiano and Jack Rickheim, juniors Matt and Ben Rodgers, senior Trexton Lewis and more.
"Overall, we had good execution, solid chemistry and plenty of intensity on both sides of the ball," Morrell said. "We definitely played hard tonight. [The run game] executed well. Murphy Reeves scored on the first play. We missed a couple of short passes, but overall I am happy with the offense."
Hildebrandt, junior Joey Archer and freshman Caleb McMickle took turns at quarterback. Paul, McLaughlin and juniors Jordan Brewer and Brady Niblock were their top targets throwing the ball.
Morrell was pleased with the defensive unit.
"The defense played well," Morrell said. "We have a lot of veterans there."
The FCS defense held the Mustangs to just 30 total yards in the first half. McNair was scoreless until a nice pass play for a score with 2:59 to go.
The Paladins open the regular season at Bob Lord Field against 5A North Springs Charter High School on Aug 23 at 7:30 p.m. It's the first of consecutive home games to begin the regular season.
Morrell has guided Fellowship to a 44-24 record in six seasons at Fellowship, including a trip to the 2016 GHSA Class A Private School Championships. Morrell's teams have won at least 10 games twice and have notched three consecutive winning records and have made three straight trips to the GHSA Class Private School Championships.
Last year's team posted a 10-2 record and captured the Sub-Region Championship for the second time in three seasons. The 2016 club went 13-1, and claimed both the Sub-Region and Region Championships.
FCS opens the regular season against 5A North Springs Charter High School of Sandy Springs on Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Bob Lord Field. Fellowship faces Pinecrest Academy in the Region opener at Bob Lord Field on Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
"The Region is really strong," Morrell said. "Everyone is back at Saint Francis and Whitefield. They will be especially tough."
The Paladins enter the season with an 82-82 all-time varsity football record.
(Photos by Chip Cookston and Christine Eppinger)