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2013 Football Preview: Fellowship Christian Paladins
by Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
August 27, 2013 01:39 PM | 1618 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Erin Gray<br>Senior Hunter Bryant (20) returns for his second year as starting quarterback for the Paladins.
Staff / Erin Gray
Senior Hunter Bryant (20) returns for his second year as starting quarterback for the Paladins.
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Last season was supposed to be the final football campaign for Al Morrell. He had been a high school coach in Georgia for more than 30 years and spent the last eight seasons as the head coach at Creekview High School in Canton, leading the Grizzlies to a record of 48-25, including a 9-2 mark last season. For his efforts, Morrell was named the Cherokee County Head Coach of the Year and inducted into the Cherokee County Gridiron Hall of Fame. Morrell officially retired but received a life-altering call from Tim McFarlin, the head coach at Blessed Trinity, which changed plans.

“Tim called me and said that there was a job opening that I may be interested in and it would be a good fit for me,” said Morrell. “I spoke with the administration at Fellowship Christian the next day and I was hired.”

Morrell takes over a program at Fellowship Christian finished last season with a record of 2-8 but have had successful years in the past, including a school-record 11 wins in 2007 and an appearance in the GHSA playoff quarterfinals.

The offense will be led by senior quarterback Hunter Bryant who enters his second year as the Paladins’ starter and rushed for 555 yards last season, the second-most on the team. “Hunter has done a good job this summer,” said Morrell. “He has a strong arm, good ability and grasping the new offense, which will be a pro-style formation.”

The Paladins must replace graduated running back Tyler Hart who led the team in rushing last season with 754 yards. Senior Clay Hostetter will anchor the offensive line at center and the main offensive threat will be senior running back Taylor Cookston. The Paladins will have a rebuilt defense with senior linebackers Jack Wise and James Wilson providing support.

In regards to his transition from a Class AAAAAA school in Cherokee County to a Class A program in Roswell, Morrell acknowledges the differences immediately. “The biggest challenge is lining up a scout team and getting a look for what’s going to happen on Friday night,” said Morrell. “We can’t do anything live but will go full speed without tackling.”

Despite the differences, Morrell is still excited about this new career opportunity. “I’ve always been interested in working within a smaller school environment that wasn’t so demanding with more than 100 players in your program like my last stop,” said Morrell. “We’re going to have around 30 players on the roster and I’m excited to go get to know the kids better in a smaller-knit community.”
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