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Faith Academy match vs. St. Anthony’s has playoff implications

Faith Academy sophomore Jonathan Bryer looks for a running lane while offensive lineman Nathan Klick blocks. Photo by Paloma Ortiz

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS —After having two short weeks to prepare for its past two opponents, the Faith Academy football team gains an extra two days.

The Flames (1-2) face San Antonio St. Anthony’s (0-3) at noon Sept. 20 at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium on the University of the Incarnate Word campus, 4301 Broadway in San Antonio.

Faith head coach Russ Roberts said this game is important for several reasons.

Besides it being the final tune-up before the start of Division III District 3 play, the Flames received news that has playoff implications.

Members of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools have changed how they use wildcard playoff berths. Before two wildcards were available to the two best teams in the class that did not earn a playoff spot based off a points system.

But this year, districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are exempt from the wildcard. That means those districts are guaranteed four playoff berths regardless of points.

Roberts said the Flames’ district and a district in the Houston area are impacted by the wildcards because of two South Texas private schools in the valley that did not want to compete in a district due to travel.

“It’s possible for us to finish fourth in our district and not make the playoffs,” Roberts said. “If the schools in the Valley acquire enough wildcard points, they get to take our place.”

Roberts said he checked on the possibility of TAPPS using the wildcards right after realignment was announced. At that time, he was told the wildcard was out. And because the Flames play in a seven-team district, usually TAPPS awards four playoff berths.

So even though Faith defeated the Austin Hyde Park junior varsity 19-0 on Sept. 11, the Flames do not get points for that victory.

And that also means the game against St. Anthony’s, which is a member of TAPPS Division I (the equivalent to the University Interscholastic League’s Class 6A), now takes on a deeper meaning. A win means the maximum number of points allowed from TAPPS.

The Yellow Jackets mirror Iola, the team that beat Faith 64-14 on Sept. 5.

“They’re huge, almost as big as Iola,” Roberts said. “They’re not as fast, but they have better athletes.”

St. Anthony’s lost to the Hyde Park varsity 28-14 on Sept. 12. But Hyde Park led 28-0 in the first half. The Yellow Jackets created turnovers to climb back in the game.

“If we could beat them, our wildcard situation becomes really solid,” Roberts said. “And we want to play well to get ready for the Texas School for the Deaf.”

The Flames face TSD in the district opener Sept. 26.

jfierro@thepicayune.com