ROSWELL, Ga. — Fellowship Christian took the driver’s seat of the Region 6-A subregion B standings and remained undefeated (5-0, 3-0) Friday night with an impressive, 48-17 win over Mount Paran. Fellowship racked up 565 total offensive yards and held the Eagles’ talented offense to a touchdown in each half.
“We have a special football team here,” Fellowship head coach Al Morrell said. “We played a senior-loaded Mt. Paran team with some great players, an outstanding quarterback, and our kids just played their hearts out. Offensively we executed and drove the ball all four quarters, and defensively we came up with some big stops after [the Eagles] opening drive. I couldn’t be more proud of this bunch.”
The matchup has monumental impacts on the subregion B championship. The winner of the last three meetings between the teams has captured the subregion B title.
Despite the lopsided score in favor of Fellowship, the matchup got off to an inauspicious start for the Paladins. After Fellowship went three-and-out to open the game, Mt. Paran quarterback Niko Vangarelli ran the ball 78 yards on six straight plays, capped off by a 3-yard touchdown. Fellowship put together an impressive drive on their ensuing possession, but a Paladin fumble inside Mt. Paran’s 10-yard line was recovered by the Eagles.
After the disappointing start, Fellowship bounced back and held the Eagles’ talented offense in check while their offense lit up the scoreboard.
Senior Murphy Reeves and Jayven Hall led Fellowship’s rushing attack, with Reeves compiling 162 yards with a touchdown and Hall running for 161 yards with two scores.
Josh Cole put Fellowship on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter with a 3-yard run, and Hall gave the Paladins the lead by busting off a 67-yard score early in the second.
Fellowship’s defense stopped Mt. Paran inside the red zone on their ensuing possession and the field goal was missed, but the Eagles converted a 22-yard field goal later in the period to cut the margin to 13-10.
The Paladins responded immediately with Reeves taking a 75-yard run to the house late in the second quarter.
Mt. Paran was set up with a short field to start the second half after Fellowship attempted an onside kick and were penalized for kick catch interference. Mt. Paran used a third and fourth-down conversion to drive to the 3-yard line, but Fellowship put up a goal line stance and forced a turnover on downs.
The Paladins’ offense continued to roll on their next drive with quarterback Eli Hildebrandt connecting with Jordan Brewer for a 69-yard touchdown.
Mt. Paran cut the lead to 27-17 midway through the third quarter on a wild play when Vangarelli hit an open receiver in the end zone with a pass as he was falling near the sidelines while scrambling.
Vangarelli spent most of the second half on the run.
Though Fellowship did not blitz consistently in the contest, the secondary’s tight coverage forced the quarterback out of the pocket throughout the night. Mt. Paran’s speedy receiver Sebastian Moss was held to a single reception.
“We had our work cut out for us, and the kids stepped up to the challenge,” Morrell said.
After Mt. Paran’s score, Fellowship’s offense could not be stopped while their defense shut down the Eagles. Cole had a 54-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, and Hall and Hildebrandt each had short rushing scores in the fourth.
Fellowship’s 565 total yards was their most in a game this season. The Paladins have scored 40 or more points in all five of their games this season.
While Fellowship sits alone atop the subregion B standings, Morrell knows even a win over Mt. Paran has not earned the Paladins a title.
“I think this shows the kids have a lot of confidence in each other and the plan, and they are a good football team,” he said. “We still have a lot of good football to play ahead, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.”
The Paladins have a bye before continuing region play against St. Francis Oct. 11.