STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The contest is at Pony Stadium, 1511 Pony Circle Drive in Marble Falls.
The Flames (0-4, 0-0 Division III District 3 of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) face a Savio team that enjoys passing the ball, head coach Pete Rhoades.
Savio is led by senior quarterback Clay Orrison, who has completed 57 passes for 676 yards and four touchdowns. His favorite receivers are seniors Johnny McNaughton, who has 25 receptions for 262 yards and two touchdowns, Skyler Robinson, who has 12 receptions for 162 yards, and Dmitri Winkeler, who has nine catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Troy Foster has 42 rushes for 141 yards and two touchdowns and Orrison has nine carries for 21 yards and a touchdown.
Savio utilizes the zone read in its running game. The quarterback watches what the defensive end does while he holds the ball to hand off to the running back. If the end chases the running back, the quarterback pulls the ball and runs in the space vacated by the end. If the end doesn’t chase the running back, the quarterback lets the running back keep the ball.
“We worked on that this week,” Rhoades said. “We’re definitely getting better.”
Early turnovers led to Faith’s 41-20 loss to Austin St. Stephens last week. The Flames found themselves trailing 34-0 by the second half. Still, Rhoades noted the Flames never quit as illustrated by their scoring output.
It began with a 2-yard dive by senior running back Garrett Henderson to make it 34-6.
After a defensive stop, sophomore running back Eli Oliver scored on a 12-yard run. Senior Cab Booth caught a two-point conversion pass from freshman quarterback Gunner Blair to trim the deficit to 34-14.
Booth ended the Faith scoring with a 91-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
A key play was Faith’s decision to punt the ball on fourth-and-5 instead of trying for the first down. At the time, the Flames trailed 35-20. But the ball was snapped over the head of the punter and gave St. Stephens a short field for the final touchdown of the contest.
Rhoades said he believes the early deficit was the result of Flames trying too hard.
“Kids are wanting to make a play so bad,” he said. “They tried too hard. (St. Stephens) jumped on us and took over.”
The Flames are leaning heavily on senior offensive lineman Isaac Oliver and his younger brother, Eli, to get the running game going, Rhoades said, adding the two are powering their way through defenses. Eli had 24 carries for 127 yards last week.
“Eli is coming into his own,” the coach said. “It’s fun watching him because he gets better with every carry. It’s fun to watch him develop as an athlete and young man.”
Rhoades maintains the goals are to be ready for the start of district play, which begins against Waco Reicher on Oct. 20.
“My goals continue to be the same; we get better each week,” he said. “Our defense is getting there, and our freshmen are starting to learn they can play on Friday nights. The kids haven’t given up. Our focus is to get better every day. We’re still doing that.
“I love these kids,” he added. “Their hearts are the size of the field house. We want people to come out and see what we can do.”