Just one season after suffering through a 1-16 campaign the Paladins of Fellowship Christian School have flipped the script, racing out to an 8-3 start this spring and knocking off a slew of bigger, more established programs along the way.
“We had some potential with talented kids coming through our [feeder programs], we pulled a few of those kids up this spring to varsity and it really balanced our team out,” said Fellowship lacrosse coach Andy Petrovich, who is in his fourth year with the program and first in charge of the varsity squad.
“We’ve solidified a lot of areas on the field, starting with our ability to work as a team, and it has made a big difference in our results.”
Fellowship’s results are highlighted by a 6-2 mark in area play, an impressive feat considering the level of competition they have been grouped with.
With all schools normally classified as A through AAAAA lumped into the same region for lacrosse action, the Paladins are by far the smallest program in an 11 team area that includes AAAAA programs Forsyth Central, Northview, North Springs, Cambridge and AAAA Gainesville.
The Paladins beat Forsyth Central (17-3), North Springs (14-5) and Cambridge (16-6) in the season’s first two weeks, wins that provided a boost of confidence they have ridden all season long.
“We came out early and proved we could beat AAAAA schools, that changed our mindset and built some momentum,” said Petrovich of his team’s start to the season. “Once we got those victories under our belt we really started believing we were becoming a strong lacrosse program.”
The improvements on the field have also been present in what their coach called the base fundamentals of lacrosse, catching and throwing the ball.
“The ball moves faster than the feet and we had some kids put in the effort necessary to get better in those areas in the off season.
“Taylor Cookston if one of those that really improved his skill level and has been strong as a middie for us all year. We have also gotten strong play and leadership from Cameron Petrovich, Connor McAdams and others.”
Taking this week off for spring break, Fellowship is currently sitting in fourth place in 3A-AAAAA. The Paladins will return to the field next week for their final five regular season games — including area matches against Wesleyan (April 10) and Northview (April 17).
A win in either match would lock up a top four finish in the region and the first state playoff bid in program history.
“We as coaches planted that playoff seed in their minds before we left for spring break and we will be shooting for it when we get back,” said the Fellowship coach.
“We have a lot of work to do in those last few weeks, but it is an attainable goal and I think we are prepared to get there.”