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JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — The Faith Academy football team got an unexpected surprise over the weekend.

Since San Antonio St. Gerard forfeited its game against Shiner St. Paul on Oct. 17, the Royals forfeited their other contests.

So that means the Flames are 2-5 overall and 1-3 in District 3, Division III in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

While the outcome against Halletsville Sacred Heart on Oct. 17 may not have been what the Flames wanted going into a bye week, head coach Russ Roberts said he saw plenty of good things that helped the Flames.

Their 20-0 loss does not illustrate the effort of the Faith team, Roberts said. The Indians averaged 41 points points a game, and the Flames trailed 6-0 at halftime.

“I was feeling extremely proud of the way the players played,” he said. “Defensively, somebody said it was the best game of the year. It may have been the best defensive game of the past two years.”

What pleased the coach was how the Flames did not allow their height and weight differences compared to Sacred Heart to factor into their efforts – not even the fact that the Indians possessed the ball for all but a couple of Faith plays in the first quarter because they recovered a live ball on the ensuing kickoff after the touchdown or that the Flames played freshman Colten Hubbell at safety after he came out for the team Oct. 14. That allowed Gavin Henderson to move to defensive tackle.

“Sacred Heart is one of the most physical teams in private schools,” Roberts said. “They had two 200-pound backs. I don’t think there was a kid on the field I don’t think who didn’t do his best.”

The Indians’ only score in the first half was the result of a 16-play drive. Faith simply refused to allow anymore scoring until the second half. One of the reasons is because the Flames’ passing formations and ability to complete attempts made Sacred Heart respect the pass.

“We made first downs in the second quarter by throwing the ball,” Roberts said. “We created new routes at halftime to keep our passing game functioning.”

The Indians took advantage of obvious running situations, winning the majority of those battles, the coach said.

He commended the efforts of Jonathan Bryer, who had a game-leading 25 tackles, Tristan Wilson, Rich Coleman, Magnum Burcham, Tommy Pelham, Clay Cozby, Bryson Kennedy and Cobb Booth.

“I could almost give every name,” he said. “Bryson and Cobb are freshmen, and they learned some hard things at San Antonio (St. Gerard on Oct. 10). It showed up against Sacred Heart. I think the boys were proud of what they accomplished.”

The Flames will take a day off Oct. 23. Roberts said he called for shorter practices for the 17 players he had available.

“And we’ll try to get well,” he said. “We’re beat up.”

Faith will host Temple Central Texas Christian at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Pony Stadium, 1511 Pony Circle Drive in Marble Falls.

jfierro@thepicayune.com