JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Faith Academy head football coach Russ Roberts confirmed his reassignment as the junior high football coach as of Dec. 16.
Roberts served as the varsity head football coach for five seasons before being moved to his new position.
“My plan right now is to honor that reassignment because of my years at Faith Academy with the students and faculty,” he said Dec. 16. “It’s been very difficult. (Athletic director Jessie) Crow said he felt it was best for the program.”
As head coach, Roberts posted a 37-17 overall record.
When he was hired in 2010, the Flames were a six-man program, and Roberts had to learn the game since he was coming from an 11-man background. He said the second six-man game he ever saw was one he coached. Former Faith Administrator Mark Earwood gave Roberts the names of six-man coaches to contact to get a crash course on the game.
“There were significant changes (from 11-man to six-man), but not as much as people thought,” Roberts said.
In 2012, Faith made the leap to 11-man football, bringing about a big change for the program and the athletes.
The team had high expectations as a six-man squad entering the 2012 season, but with the move to 11-man, players and supporters alike might have felt less confident.
The Flames won their first 11-man game, a 16-8 victory against San Antonio St. Anthony. That first victory started a 21-game, regular-season winning streak with a bi-district championship in 2012.
“I don’t think that’s anything anyone could have predicted,” Roberts said of the winning streak. “Maybe you go 6-4 (the first year) and get into the playoffs in second or third place.”
While his overall record at Faith was 37-17, Roberts’ squads earned him a 23-10 record in the 11-man arena with two of those defeats coming in the playoffs in 2012 and 2013 and the other eight coming in the 2014 season.
Roberts said he plans to teach the junior high players the love and basics of the sport.
“I don’t think you can be successful if you don’t have a love for it,” he said. “Kids now spend more time with computers and television screens and video games. One of the great lessons from the game is for young people to become physically courageous. (Football) allows kids to step out there and be courageous.”
Crow said the academy is accepting applications now with the aim of beginning interviews in mid-January. He said the search is wide open.
He told the players last week about the change in head coach and asked them to seek out Roberts to express their gratitude for everything he’s done.
“Coach Roberts is a great man, a fine person,” Crow said. “He’s always been a quality man.”
Coaches have expressed interest in being the academy’s next head coach, Roberts said.
“It’s been the best years of my career,” he said. “The stadiums are a lot smaller and the situations were different, but the kids were great.”