ROSWELL, Ga. — Fellowship Christian kept its unbeaten record alive Friday night at home and downed Whitefield Academy for the Paladins’ second straight Region 6-A subregion B title. The matchup featured the top two teams in the subregion in a winner-take-all bout for the championship.
The game followed suit for Fellowship’s season. The Paladins won and did so in decisive fashion. Despite a 22-point win, Friday’s matchup was Fellowship’s closest score of the season.
“Our boys played very well,” head coach Al Morrell said. “I’m very pleased with the defense, we were more physical up front and able to control the running game. Offensively we sustained drives despite shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties. Overall, I’m proud of the kids and their effort.”
Fellowship stuck to its M.O. of pounding away on the ground. The Paladins attempted just six passes, none of which were completed. However, they had no trouble with the rushing attack, lighting up Whitefield’s defense for 438 yards rushing.
The offensive line had a strong performance despite the absence of right guard Nathan Nardone, who was out with an ankle injury.
“I’m super proud of those guys even in (Nardone’s) absence,” Morrell said. “Big Charlie Patterson had a good night, Brady Niblock, the whole line did really well.”
Junior Murphy Reeves led the rushing attack with 219 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns. Jayven Hall had 88 yards and a score, Josh Cole also found the end zone and added 56 yards on the ground. Quarterback Eli Hildebrandt had had 64 yards on six carries.
Fellowship scored on its opening two possessions of the game. Cole had a 30-yard touchdown just 51 seconds into the contest and Reeves score the first of his touchdowns midway through the period.
Whitefield responded with nine unanswered points, including a field goal set up by a Hildebrandt fumble and a 31-yard touchdown pass midway through the second. However, Fellowship’s defense held the Wolfpack off the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest.
“They have about five really excellent position players and big play guys,” Morrell said. “Our plan going in was to contain the big play, and we ended giving up one on the night.”
The Paladins’ had two interceptions in the second half from Michael Washburne and Garrett Hauenstein, and linebackers Lawson Haigler and Trexton Lewis led Fellowship with seven total tackles each.
Washburne’s interception set up Reeves’ second touchdown of the night, and Hall iced the game with a 7-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
With the win, Fellowship has a chance to capture its second Region 6-A title in four years Friday at home. The Paladins will welcome subregion A champs Darlington to Bob Lord Field in a battle of 9-0 teams both ranked in the top-5 of Class A-Private.
“They are very solid and well coached,” Morrell said. “They are dominant up front, and it’s going to be the best line we’ve seen all season. We will maybe have to account for speed and get on the perimeter in addition to running behind the tackles.”
The matchup will feature two high-scoring offenses and stingy defenses. Darlington is allowing opponents just eight points per game and has recorded three shutouts while Fellowship has given up an average of 12 points per game with two shutouts. Fellowship is averaging 46 points per game to Darlington’s 35.
The Paladins will look to avoid a repeat of last year in their tilt with Darlington. In 2018, Fellowship was 9-0 and captured the subregion B title but fell to Mount Zion Carroll in the region championship game.