The Fellowship Academy Mustangs will enter 2017 looking to turn around a football program that has never won more than four games in a season. First year head coach Kevin Hatcher takes over for Justin Tate, who will remain with the school and coach the offense as coordinator and QB/RB coach. Hatcher spent the last several seasons as an assistant at Frisco Legacy Christian and will also serve as athletic director for Fellowship.
Hatcher is not the only new face around the football program. The Mustangs will have a pair of transfers from Cedar Hill Trinity Christian that will make an instant impact. Caleb Powers and Derrick McCown, both seniors, are now at Fellowship. Powers was the starting QB at TCCH last year and was pretty impressive, passing for over 2000 yards and 24 touchdowns. McCown comes in as a running back. After seeing limited time in 2016 at Trinity Christian, McCown should see a lot more carries this season.
Fortunately for the Mustangs, McCown will join Hayden Ikey, a returning RB who will provide critical senior leadership, which will be one of the strengths for the squad. Another skill position senior will be senior Gunnar Martin, who returns after starting last season and gives the Mustangs a speedy option at wide out. Also expected to get quality reps at receiver is newcomer Matthew Jenson, a sophomore.
Up front offensively, Jo Lehew returns to lead a unseasoned offensive line. In the line rotation should be senior Michael Lyon, senior Theo Riedel, and several underclassmen including sophomore Josh Powers.
Defensively, the Mustangs return their best linebacker in senior Brendon Perry. Joining Perry in the middle will be Riedel and newcomer, junior Hayden Heinz. In the secondary, the Mustangs will be instant help with the addition McCown and his fellow running back Ikey. Jenson will also help in the secondary and we could see BJ Tubbs and Gavery Martin back there as well.
Fellowship Academy has a real shot at setting a school record for wins in 2017. The additions of some offensive firepower will help tremendously. The one glaring concern will be the defense. While the defensive unit should be much better in 2017, the Mustangs play in the same district as state finalist Colleyville Covenant, playoff regular Temple Christian, and Pantego, a school that moved down from Division II just a year ago. The Mustangs lost their district games by an average score of 46-3 and were shutout in two of the 5 district games in 2016.
Having Powers at QB and the senior tandem at running back should help all areas of the game for the Mustangs. Lack of depth is a concern for Coach Hatcher so it will be imperative for Fellowship to be able to run the ball and eat up clock to mitigate injuries and keep their defense off the field. The Mustangs were very fortunate a year ago to get 3 wins to open the season while not scoring over 20 points in each of those games. We should see more points in 2017 and coaches hope that translates into at least 5 wins to set a school record.
Fellowship Academy opens their season against Garland Christian, a team they defeated a year ago. The Mustangs then follow with games against FW Calvary and Texoma Christian before a game against a very good Willow Park Trinity Christian team. District play gets underway on October 13 against Colleyville Covenant and will serve as a measuring stick of how much progress Hatcher and staff have made with the Mustangs.
Record: 4-6 (0-5, 6th TAPPS III-2)
Head Coach: Kevin Hatcher (1st season)
Assistants: Marcus Simmons, Justin Tate, Robert Harper, Jonathon Delmar
2017 Roster: MaxPreps
9/2 Garland Christian
9/8 Calvary Christian
9/15 @ Texoma Christian
9/22 Willow Park Trinity Christian
10/6 Newman International
10/13 Colleyville Covenant
10/20 Grace Prep
10/27 @ Temple Christian
11/10 @ Coram Deo