STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The familiarity between the football teams at Faith Academy of Marble Falls and Castle Hills Christian School of San Antonio goes beyond last season’s game.
New Castle Hills head coach Jeremy Wentrcek was the Flames head coach in 2018.
That means the Flames know Wentrcek’s preferences, philosophy, and schemes.
Still, new Faith head coach Stephen Shipley told his players that while they know the schemes and won the game a year ago, 51-33, they should prepare for a hard-fought contest, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Wheatley Sports Complex, 200 Noblewood Drive in San Antonio.
“They’ve really improved,” Shipley said of Castle Hills. “They had young players who are older and mature. They have a couple of players who can make big plays. I don’t take any game lightly. A lot of things can happen in one year.”
The Eagles will rely on senior quarterback Noah Polanco and receivers Dylan Wells, a senior, John Hosch, a junior, and Eli Polanco and Chase Harris, who are both sophomores.
“We really need to be on our game,” Shipley said. “They can score at any time.”
Shipley has spent weeks putting his players in various positions to see where they can best contribute.
“We’re trying to find who’s going to fit where and adjust our game plan to where our talent is,” he said.
That’s why Shipley hasn’t named a starting quarterback. Senior Travis Hughes and junior Grayson Poage are vying for the job. Poage has thrown a high percentage of touchdown passes, and he’s also valuable as a receiver.
“He runs great routes and has good hands,” Shipley said. “Both have done a good job. In six-man football, anybody can come in and throw the ball. There are just different ways you can do that.”
Sophomore receiver Case Coleman has made plays all over the field: in the middle, near the sideline, on short throws, and on long throws that have resulted in scores. Running backs Colby Offutt, a senior, and Maison Thornley, a junior, will be used to get the ground game going.
That’ll be important as the Flames prepare for the Eagles 2-2-2 defense with two linemen, two pass rushers, and two defensive backs.
“We’ll have to be balanced and take what they give us,” Shipley said. “Our blocks are going to have to be precise and on time. If we can execute the game plan, we’ll be able to score.”
Both Faith Academy and Castle Hills are members of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.