After breezing through the first nine games of the season, Darlington stumbled Friday night on the road as the Tigers suffered their only regular season loss in the Region 6-A championship game.
The No. 4-ranked Tigers were shut down by No. 5 Fellowship Christian 44-7 in the first ever meeting between the two teams in Roswell.
Coming into Friday’s contest, the Tigers (9-1) were the top team in the Class A Private Power Ratings, while the Paladins were sitting at No. 7.
The Paladins owned a 28-7 lead at halftime and kept the Tigers scoreless for the second half, while putting up 14 more points and rolling up 458 total offensive yards.
Fellowship Christian (10-0) was led on the ground by Murphy Reeves who rushed for 198 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, giving the junior running back nearly 1,400 yards on the year.
Josh Cole added 116 yards and three touchdowns on only eight carries for an average of 14.5 yards per carry.
The Tigers’ only score of the game came in the second quarter when Kolin Rogers scored on a 25-yard touchdown run to cut the Fellowship Christian lead to 14-7, which was as close as the Tigers would get to the Paladins. Rogers finished with 172 yards rushing on 23 carries, which puts him at 1,284 yards and 22 touchdowns on the year.
Darlington quarterback Griffin Brewster was 13-of-32 for 172 yards passing, giving him 1,555 yards on the season. Patrick Shelley had six catches for 93 yards, and Trystin Wright had four catches for 61 yards as the Tigers finished with 362 yards of total offense.
Darlington will play in the Class A Private state playoffs, but it is yet to be seen exactly who or when the Tigers will play.
If they stay in the top eight of the Class A Private Power Ratings, the Tigers will get a bye through the opening round of the playoffs and will host a second-round contest in two weeks.
If not, they will likely host a first-round game next Friday at Chris Hunter Stadium.