Faith Academy football clinches playoff spot, plays non-district match Oct. 24

Faith Academy head coach Russ Roberts talks to his players after their win against Texas School for the Deaf that clinched a playoff spot for the Flames. Photo by Paloma Ortiz

[box]GAMETIME
Faith Academy Flames at San Antonio Hawkins Wolfpack
KICKOFF: 6 p.m. Oct. 24
WHERE: Wheatley Heights Sports Complex, 1023 Upland Road in San Antonio.
TUNE IN: Listen on KBEY 103.9 FM or at KBEYFM.com[/box]

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — The Faith Academy football team is going through a disruption of its normal routine this week.

First, the Flames (7-0, 2-0 in Division III, District 3) return to non-district play when they face San Antonio Hawkins.

Next, that contest on a Thursday with a 6 p.m. kickoff Oct. 24. Coaches wanted an earlier kickoff because it’s a school night.

Hawkins is led by quarterback Cendell Pope, running back Gerson Mena and receiver Keenan Terricks.

Flames head coach Russ Roberts said the best approach to preparing for the game is to keep things simple during a short week.

“We can’t change much,” he said. “After this one, we got a district game left and then an open week that might change things. But this ain’t it.”

And that means Faith is continuing to do what it does best: an offensive scheme revolving around the run and a defensive scheme putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback.

But perhaps the disruption in routine started Oct. 18 during a 50-6 win against Texas School for the Deaf when the Flames clinched a playoff berth.

And they did it with more of a passing game, which accounted for 252 yards, than with their rushing attack, which totaled 177 yards.

After Faith took a 20-0 lead on running touchdowns from junior running back Royale Brown, sophomore running back Jacob Metcalf and senior quarterback Austin Ellis, Roberts decided the game was a good one to practice the passing attack. And he was pleased with the results.

Ellis hit Metcalf for a 42-yard touchdown, while senior Zach Haydon found Brown on a 36-yard score.

The coach had two reasons for working on the passing attack.

“We needed the practice,” Roberts said. “And they were dropping their safeties way back. We were real simple. The passing game always looks more planned and more organized than the running game does. We ran very few routes. We ran them over and over.”

He was happy to see the passing game work so well, which puts more pressure on opponents to prepare for it as well as the Flames’ rushing attack.

“They’re not going to have the same feeling about us,” he said. “They can’t be loading the box.”

Roberts credited the defense for its performance and noted the Rangers scored when Faith reserves had taken over.

Ellis completed 10 of 11 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown, while Haydon completed all three of his pass attempts for 66 yards and a touchdown. Metcalf caught three passes for 105 yards and a touchdown and rushed six times for 73 yards and a touchdown.

Faith will make its fourth consecutive playoff appearance under Robert’s direction in a few weeks. The Flames don’t know who they’ll face yet, he said.

Fans can tune in to KBEY 103.9 FM or KBEYFM.com on Oct. 24 to listen play-by-play coverage of the Flames game.

jfierro@thepicayune.com