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JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — After a bye week that involved workouts and rest, the Faith Academy football team hopes the extra time results in a win against Temple Central Texas Christian.

The two play at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Pony Stadium, 1511 Pony Circle Drive, for Faith’s homecoming.

“It’s a traditional rival,” Faith head coach Russ Roberts said. “We’ve played them ever since we joined (the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.)”

The two have faced off since their six-man playing days. So it’s no surprise that when the Flames (2-5, 1-3) decided to move into the 11-man ranks at the end of the 2011 season, the Lions (3-4, 1-3) did as well.

Roberts is 2-0 against CTC. But he believes this Lions will pose a serious threat to that record.

“They do want revenge for the last two years,” he said. “I think it’s because of the way we played the game last year.”

Both teams entered that contest tied for first place in the district standings. The winner captured the district crown and secured home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Faith won 50-19 by rushing for 463 yards and five touchdowns on 48 carries.

But it’s a new season, Roberts said, and he knows the Lions will be prepared because of head coach Joe Oliver. And he sees an improved opponent 11 months later.

“I think their size,” Roberts said. “They’re huge. Traditionally, they’ve had some big kids. Joe Oliver knows how to coach, and he knows how to work. I think he’s very efficient in the way he prepares.”

The Lions will lean on quarterback James Applegate, running back Owen Shipp, who had 18 rushes for 118 yards in the win against San Antonio St. Gerard, and receiver Luke Littlefield.

Perhaps the strength of the team, however, is in the linemen. Offensive guard Barret Martin and defensive end Nathan Dosa anchor the two lines.

“They run, they throw, they play good defense,” Roberts said. “I might be more concerned if we did not play as well as we did (in the 20-0 loss to Halletsville Sacred Heart on Oct. 17).”

During that game, the Flames played solid defense in keeping the Indians below their scoring average of 41 points. Roberts said he is looking for Faith to put together all the elements this week.

The coach said the team spent time going back to the basics of the sport, including blocking and tackling.

“Things I feel like win ballgames,” he said. “We had time to look at what CTC does and how to respond to it.”

He also hopes to have more than 16 players suited up. Roberts said that’s a possibility.

jfierro@thepicayune.com