Paladins Battle Hard in Loss to OLOM
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys basketball team dropped a non-Region decision to Our Lady of Mercy at Paladin Gym on Nov. 17, 82-62.
Senior Noah Dryden led the Paladins with 22 points.
FCS scored five points in the first quarter, added 21 in the second quarter, netted 20 in the third quarter and had 16 in the fourth. OLOM scored 29 points in the first, 14 in the second, 19 in the third and 20 in the fourth.
Senior Dawson Carey and junior Austin Marley scored 11 points apiece, while senior David Renfrow chipped in with 10 points.
“We won the scoring battle in two quarters [second and third], and had some really good play at times,” head coach Marvin Williams said. “But we were not consistent. Our young JV players who played did well.”
Lady Paladins Post Victory over OLOM
The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls basketball team evened its record with a home victory on Nov. 17.
FCS posted a 30-25 win over Our Lady of Mercy at Paladin Gym.
Junior Emma Jones led the team with 10 points. Freshmen Cate Hardin and Savannah Schulz both netted seven points.
“Cate and Savannah held their own against two senior guards,” head coach Troy Schulz said. “Baylor Aycock played very tough in a physical game. She took an elbow in the face, but stayed strong and made a couple of free throws. She is tough as nails.”
The Lady Paladins are now 1-1 this season.
“I am very proud of the total team effort,” the coach said.
Elite Eight Bound: Paladins Fight Back to Beat Riverside Military Academy in Second Round GHSA Class A Private School 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 Second-Round 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)
Paladins Drop Decision to Perimeter
The eighth grade boys basketball team dropped a heart breaker to Perimeter School, 53-50, at Paladin Gym on Nov. 15.
“We just did not give our best effort today as a team,” head coach Brad Welty said. “Perimeter played hard and they beat us.”
The Paladins led 28-21 at halftime, and trailed 38-34 going into the fourth quarter.
Perimeter outscored Fellowship 19-12 in the fourth, including nine points coming from the free-throw line. Perimeter out shot FCS 22-9 from the line.
“We know we have to go out and earn each win, and make sure we outperform and out hustle the other team,” Welty said. “But we will regroup and make sure this does not happen again this season."
The Paladins are 1-1 overall
Seventh grade boys Fall in opener
The seventh grade boys basketball team dropped a 31-15 non-league decision to Perimeter School at Paladin Gym on Nov. 15.
“It was a tough game for us,” head coach Brad Welty said. “We just gave up way to many offensive rebounds, and had too many unforced turnovers to have a chance to win the game. They have a good team, and you can’t give a good team that many extra possessions to score and expect to win. But our team will work hard to improve.”
The Paladins fought hard in the fourth quarter to get the lead down to nine points at one point, but could not get any closer.
(Photo by Milo Falcon)
Matches were rained out.