The start could not have gone any better for Al Morrell’s first game as Fellowship Christian School’s varsity head football coach.
The Paladins defense forced a fumble on Lakeview’s first play from scrimmage at the 3-yard-line that senior Travis Kinney scooped up in the end zone for a touchdown just 10 seconds into the contest played on Aug. 30 at Paladin Field. Jake Williamson kicked the first of his five extra-points to give FCS a 7-0 cushion in the season-opening victory.
FCS grabbed a 21-6 halftime lead en route to a 41-14 victory over the Lions. Kinney led FCS with three touchdowns, including scoring runs of four and eight yards in the fourth quarter.
“It was an exciting start,” said Morrell, who began his 32nd season as a football coach on Friday night. “We caught a big break early. It was a momentum builder. The win overall is a confidence builder for us. These kids had not won too much lately, so it’s great for them.”
The Paladins, 3-2 overall all-time against Lakeview, avenged the Lions’ 32-12 home victory on Aug. 31 last season. The Paladins went 2-8 last season.
“We had a very good effort tonight,” Morrell said. “Our goal is to get better each game, but we played well on both sides of the ball tonight.”
Fellowship scored on its second offensive possession as senior tailback Jack Wise scored on a sweep outside from 45 yards out to cap a three-play, 66-yard drive.
After forcing a Lakeview punt on the next series, the Paladins scored again.
Senior quarterback Hunter Bryant connected with senior wide receiver Alex Edmonds on a 78-yard pass play on the first play of the second quarter. Bryant finished with 162 passing unofficially.
The Paladins wound up with a balanced 151 yards unofficially in the first half, including 78 in the air and 73 rushing. “That is our goal,” Morrell said. “We want to be balanced.”
Unofficially, the Paladins gained 216 yards in the second half, including 132 on the ground. They finished with 367 yards, led by 205 rushing yards and 162 in the air.
Lakeview scored a late rushing touchdown with 20.5 second left in the first half to cut FCS’ lead to 21-7.
The Paladins defense held the Lions to just 109 unofficial yards in the first half, forcing two fumbles. Kinney and Wise recovered them. Senior James Wilson recovered another Lakeview fumble in the second half. The defensive effort was led by Taylor Cookston and Connor Nelson.
“Our defense played very well,” Morrell said. “Overall we played the option very well. It’s tough to defend. Both teams got a little tired by halftime, but we came out strong in the second half.”
Wilson scored the second of Fellowship’s four rushing touchdowns at 4:46 of the third quarter. His run was the second play of FCS’ second offensive series of the second half.
Following a fumble recovery at the Lions 18-yard line just minutes into the fourth quarter, the Paladins scored again. Kinney scored the second of his three touchdowns at 10:46.
Lakeview scored their second TD with a 25-yard scoring run with 8:52 to play.
Kinney scored again from eight yards out to cap a 13-play, 84-yard drive with 2:40 to play.
FCS travels to Towns County on Friday, Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m.
FCS: Travis Kinney fumble recovery in end zone (Jake Williamson kick) (11:57)
FCS: Jack Wise 45 run (Williamson kick) (4:14)
FCS: Alex Edmonds 78 pass from Hunter Bryant (Williamson kick) (1:58)
Lakeview: 2 run (Chance Calderhead kick) (:20.5)
FCS: James Wilson 42 run (Williamson kick) (4:46)
FCS: Kinney 4 run (bad snap on extra-point attempt) (10:46)
Lakeview: 25 run (Calderhead kick) (8:52)
FCS: Kinney 8 run (Williamson kick) (2:40)