We continue our look at a few of the regions and teams most impacted by the coronavirus. Today: Region 6-Private.
*Five schools in the region are located in counties where the number of overall COVID-19 cases and deaths are among the highest in the state – four in Fulton County and one in Hall County. Three Cobb County schools that were in the league last season – Walker (Region 2), Whitefield Academy (Region 2) and Mount Paran Christian (Region 7) – are gone. Lakeview Academy has come over from Region 8.
Fellowship Christian (Fulton County: Population – 1,099,181; Cases – 4,518; Deaths - 233; Cases per 100K residents – 411.1; Deaths per 100K residents – 21.2). The Paladins went 12-1 last season and advanced to the Private semi-final, where they were defeated by eventual runner-up Wesleyan. Fellowship should be just as good this season as senior quarterback Eli Hildebrand along with their three leading rushers (senior Murphy Reeves, sophomore Jayvan Hall, and junior Josh Cole), leading receiver (senior Jordan Brewer) and three leading tackers (Cole, Hall and senior Nathan Nardone) all return.
King's Ridge Christian (Fulton County). The Tigers hope that new head coach Terry Crowder will be able to come in and turn them into a contender. Crowder has a career record of 103-70, including two region titles (2011-2012) and a Class AAAAAA state championship (2012) at Chattahoochee. He comes to King's Ridge after two seasons at Class AAAAAAA Denmark in Forsyth County. King's Ridge has never had a winning record since the Tigers began competing in varsity football in 2010.
Lakeview Academy (Hall County: Population – 206,349; Cases – 2,467; Deaths - 47; Cases per 100K residents – 1,196; Deaths per 100K residents – 22.8). Like King's Ridge, the Lions also are bringing in one of the state's most accomplished coaches to get things turned around. After seven seasons at Class AA Rabun County, where he went 70-17 and won five consecutive region titles, Lee Shaw is now in charge at Lakeview Academy. The Lions, who began their football program in 2007, have never won more than three games while competing against a varsity schedule.
Mount Pisgah Christian (Fulton County). The Patriots have failed to make the playoffs the past two seasons, after a six-year run of appearances in the post season. Standout senior two-way lineman/linebacker Nick Jackson returns to lead the way.
St. Francis (Fulton County). In just his second season at the helm, Frank Barden led the Knights to their first state playoff win in the second post season appearance in program history. Barden (201-97-1) won his 200th game last season, making him just the 60th coach in state history to reach that mark.
*Pinecrest Academy also competes in Region 6, but is located in Forsyth County (Population – 252,507; Cases - 512; Deaths - 12; Cases per 100K residents – 202.8; Deaths per 100K residents – 4.8) where the COVID-19 cases and deaths to not rise to the levels of the others in the region. Since a three-year run (2014-2016) where the Paladins went 25-10 and made three consecutive appearances in the state playoffs, the program has struggled, going 7-23 since.
Up Next: Other teams impacted by COVID-19
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com