STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Last year, the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team played five games before forfeiting the rest of the season.
This year, the six-man Flames qualified for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools playoffs for the first time since 2016.
But Faith (3-7 overall, 2-3 Division I, District 2) will have to travel to the Panhandle to face Amarillo San Jacinto. Kickoff is 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at 4100 Republic in Amarillo.
Head coach Jeremy Wentrcek said the happiness about competing in the playoffs is evident throughout the campus.
“There’s a lot of excitement that’s noticed by our kids,” he said. “They were able to make the playoffs and earn their way to Amarillo. They’re excited about that, and it’ll spill over to other entities as well.”
Wentrcek said the Patriots (6-4, 3-3 Division I District 1) incorporate a balanced offense, using tight formations for run plays and going into spread formations for passing plays.
Senior quarterback Spencer Wallace has completed 89 of 160 passes for 1,513 yards, 22 touchdowns, and six interceptions and has 28 carries for 169 yards and three scores.
“They have a quarterback who has a good arm and good feet,” Wentrcek said.
Senior running back Christyan Abalos has 68 carries for 688 yards and 17 touchdowns and 23 receptions for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Senior running back and tight end Jayton Hollis has 36 catches for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Wentrcek said the offensive line has “size,” and he likes the matchup possibilities in the trenches.
“We’re going to have to contain,” he said. “Abalos can do some damage. We have to keep him from getting big plays.”
As cornerback, Abalos leads the team in defensive tackles with 93. He also has five fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and two sacks. Senior linebacker Antonio Langen has 80 tackles, five interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and two sacks. The Patriots are most comfortable playing man-to-man defense all over the field. The key will be speed and the Flames’ ability to get away from tacklers.
“Do we match up with them?” Wentrcek said. “If we do, we feel like we can match up with them.”