Morrell has been a high school coach in Georgia for more than 30 years and had 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 last year’s campaign, he was named the Cherokee County Head Coach of the Year and inducted into the Cherokee County Gridiron Hall of Fame. Morrell retired after last season but received a life-altering call from a coaching colleague that changed his plans.
Tim McFarlin, the head coach at Blessed Trinity, 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’s distinguished career began after receiving a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Alabama in 1982. He proceeded to be an assistant coach at Wills High School in Cobb County and later the offensive backs coach at Marietta along with stints at Etowah and Sequoyah, helping to lead the Chiefs to the playoffs as an offensive coordinator and was named Cherokee County Offensive Coach of the Year in 2004. Fellowship Christian presents a unique structure for Morrell to work under.
“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.”
The Paladins are in Class A, the smallest classification in the Georgia High School Association, which usually translate to a smaller roster than the larger schools with bigger enrollments. This affects the entire structure of the football program, from practices to the amount of assistant coaches.
“We’re definitely going to practice differently here than at my other schools,” stated Morrell. “At Creekview, we had separate offensive and defensive coaching staffs and basically had two practices going on at the same time. Here, I’ll have fewer assistants, each player will have a role on both sides of the ball and you’re going to see more ironman football.”
The Paladins finished last season with a record of 2-8 but have had successful campaigns in the past, including a school-record 11 wins in 2007 and an appearance in the GHSA playoff quarterfinals. Coach Morrell has started the preparations for the fall by organizing the off-campus workouts at the Paladin Center in Roswell.
“My goal this summer is to complete my coaching staff, get the information out to the kids and get more structure in our workouts,” said Morrell. “I want the kids here together to work out as a team, start bonding and begin introducing our schemes.”
Fellowship Christian will open the season Aug. 30 at home against Lakeview Academy.