STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team got the comeback to six-man football it wanted, which could be bad news for the rest of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.
The Flames beat The Christian School of Castle Hills 51-33 on Aug. 31 for their first victory since 2016 and gave new Faith head coach Jeremy Wentrcek a win in his debut in red and black.
“It was a big weight off my shoulders,” Wentrcek said. “For the fans and parents, it was a beautiful thing to watch. Felt like there was hope in the stands.”
Faith scored twice in the first quarter to take a 12-0 lead it never relinquished. In fact, the Flames outscored the Eagles in three of the four periods during the contest.
For Faith, Travis Hughes completed 13 of 14 passes for 113 yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore Maison Thornley had eight carries for 94 yards, and receiver Justin Mottle caught one pass for 69 yards that went for a touchdown.
Fullback Colby Offutt had five carries for 75 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 61 yards and five touchdowns.
“We scored consistently and felt like we had opportunities,” Wentrcek said.
The Flames led 37-20 at the half, but the Eagles outscored Faith 13-7 in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 44-33.
“We had to be able to respond to that,” the coach said.
Wentrcek said six-man football is a game of runs, so the Flames made some adjustments to protect their lead when Castle Hills put together a strong third quarter. With those adjustments, the Flames never looked back on their way to a win. He also thought that being in shape to close out the game was crucial.
“Our guys caught their second wind in the fourth quarter.” Wentrcek added.
The key, he said, was that coaches were honest in their evaluations of team practices leading to the game.
“Late in the week, we felt like we were still struggling with defensive concepts,” he said. “I started praying about it. We scaled back things.”
Coaches simplified the schemes, and it worked.
“We started seeing some real progress,” he said.
Before the team took the field Aug. 31, Wentrcek noted that senior Cameron Bowles would take the field for the first game of a season for the last time. He emphasized to the Flames that the best way to make that something worth looking back on was to win.
“This is the first of many memories,” he recalled saying.
Wentrcek was pleased to see so many players touch the football: seven caught passes and four contributed to the rushing yards.
“The (Castle Hills) defense didn’t have to guard just one person,” he said. “I felt like from the beginning (we) were right in it. From a mental standpoint, that’s a big deal. That’s a big impact on things. We knew it was a game we could win.”
Faith travels to Cedar Park Christian Summit on Friday, Sept. 7. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Leander Rouse High School, 1222 Raider Way in Leander.