The Fellowship Christian Paladins finished the 2011 campaign 5-5 with just a 1-5 record in Region 5N-A play. Fellowship Christian easily outclassed non-region foes but surrendered nearly 27 points per contest in region play. With reclassification bringing in several new foes on the schedule, the Paladins have a shot at making the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Head coach Hunter Chadwick made several changes on his coaching staff, but the biggest move was bringing in Ryan Zimmerman as defensive coordinator.
Zimmerman comes to the Paladins program with some high school coaching experience at West Hall and East Hall, but most recently, Zimmerman worked on the Georgia State University staff, coaching inside and outside linebackers as well as special teams.
"Ryan is an accomplished coach who is a great addition to the Fellowship program," Chadwick said. "He brings a wealth of valuable experience to us."
Chadwick, who also serves as AD at Fellowship Christian, was pleased that he was able to hire a coach with college experience as well as a proven high school track record. While in Hall County, Zimmerman helped more than 20 players go on to the next level, and four of his teams in three different classifications made the postseason.
"Ryan's strengths include his ability to teach the fundamentals and develop defensive strategy," said Chadwick. "We are expecting an aggressive defense that is strong on fundamentals this year with an ability to stop both the run and the pass. He is a great addition to our staff."
Zimmerman, along with new backs coach Dan Parsons, has jumped right into the position, as the Paladins look for a postseason berth.
"Ryan has been great with our kids," Chadwick said. "He brings a new tempo and a student of the game attitude, along with a knowledge of the game that he puts into a form that young kids understand. He has adjusted well to our system here."
Offensively, the team must replace Stephen Lantz, who rushed for 729 yards and 13 scores last season. Tyler Hart also received plenty of carries for the Paladins in 2011, racking up 689 yards on 121 carries. Hart is expected to carry the load in 2012. Under center, Blais Furse departs after passing for just 472 yards but running for 264 yards with seven combined touchdowns.