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MARBLE FALLS — Faith Academy head football coach Russ Roberts was all smiles during the Flames’ two practices Aug. 5.

Players spent much of their first day in defensive drills after learning the offense during spring football practices, Roberts said.

To prepare his defensive schemes, Roberts spent a day at Celina High School, which has captured several state titles, and at East Bernard High School.

And Roberts had good reason for his smiles, even though he woke up at 4:30 a.m. for the first day.

First, 35 players showed up for the first day of fall training camp, which indicates this will be one of the larger varsity rosters for Faith.

“I want every kid to enjoy this,” he said. “We have a lot of kids who want to play.”

Second, the large number also means Faith will have enough players to form a junior varsity since Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools rules allow its members to play some of the same athletes in both varsity and junior varsity games in the same week.

Third, thanks to playing almost three months of 7-on-7 football, Roberts was happy with the way his skill-position players arrived for August practices.

“Our receivers and quarterbacks are in shape,” he said. “Their attitude is good. They seem to be enthusiastic.”

And finally, the Flames skipper said he predicts some great battles for starting spots during the next several weeks.

Quarterbacks Austin Ellis and Zach Haydon, both seniors, and junior Magnum Burcham are competing for playing time.

Junior Royale Brown has moved from receiver to tailback, and senior Michael Penner will be a running back.

And the addition of freshman Dalton Mayberry means having a physical running back.

“When you try to tackle him, you’re getting ready to pay for it,” Roberts said.

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Faith footballFaith Academy head football coach Russ Roberts gathers his players in a huddle to outline what they’ll be doing for the first day of two-a-day practices Aug. 5. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

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Faith footballFaith Academy head coach Russ Roberts demonstrates how he wants his tackles to explode out of their stances once the ball is snapped. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

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Faith footballSenior lineman Mitch Earwood (middle) is the first one out of his stance and runs toward former teammate Brendan Cockroft while senior Jake Fereday is second and junior Hanner Shipley follows. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

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Faith footballSenior defensive backs Austin Ellis (left) and Nathan Peacock learn how to fight through a block from assistant coach Todd Still. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

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