Week 1 Preview: FCS faces 5A North Springs Charter School to Open Regular Season
Fellowship Christian School faces 5A North Springs Charter School in varsity football for just the second time in school history this Friday.
The Paladins won the first meeting between the schools in Sandy Springs on Aug. 17, 2018, by a 49-29 score.
"It was a dog fight that came down to the fourth quarter," head coach Al Morrell said. "They are a big team up front and are very athletic once again. It will be another tough football game [on Aug. 23]."
FCS, which finished 10-2 last season, opens the 2019 regular season at Bob Lord Field against the Spartans on Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Fellowship posted a 48-7 scrimmage victory at home against 2A McNair High School on Aug. 17. FCS gained 509 total yards, including 404 on the ground, and scored five rushing touchdowns against McNair.
Junior Murphy Reeves carried the ball five times for 115 yards and one score, all coming in the first half. Freshman Jayven Hall had seven rushes for 83 yards, while senior Trexton Lewis picked up 71 yards on six carries.
Junior Eli Hildebrandt threw two touchdown passes and completed 4-of-8 attempts for 65 yards against the Mustangs.
Against North Springs, the keys for the Paladins will be to sustain and finish drives, protect the football, and keep the Spartans from making big plays, according to Morrell.
"We need to play like we did Friday," he said. "We have a good game plan defensively. We have to eliminate their big plays, and keep the ball in front of us. I feel good about our defense [this year]. We need to stay strong in coverage and not give up long balls."
The Paladins begin the season high in the rankings, including eighth among Class A private schools in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution list, eighth on the Georgia High School Sports Forum rankings and 10th on the CalPreps public and private schools Class A.
The Maxwell Ratings, compiled by mathematician and Georgia High School Football Historians Association founder Loren Maxwell, predicts Fellowship to finish second in the sub-region and fourth in the region, and be ranked No. 20 overall.
Morrell has guided Fellowship to a 44-24 record over six seasons as head coach 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.
(Photo by Chip Cookston)