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Faith Academy faces versatile Vanguard in big district game

Faith Academy football

Faith Academy of Marble Falls senior quarterback Travis Hughes (7) and the Flames are in Waco on Friday for a district contest against Vanguard. Photo by Stennis Shotts


The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team has its final road game of the season and needs a crucial district win against Waco Vanguard for a shot at making the playoffs.

The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools six-man Division I, District 2 contest kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 25, at Paul Tyson Stadium, 1901 Lake Air Drive in Waco.

The Flames (4-3 overall, 0-2 district) already have a win against the Vikings this year at the 7-on-7 state tournament in July, head coach Stephen Shipley said, so his players know they can compete against Vanguard, which is 4-3 overall and 2-0 in district.

“It should be a good matchup, a good game,” he said.

The Vikings are led by sophomore Marlow Welch, who has 851 all-purpose yards as receiver, running back, and quarterback.

He has 17 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns, 34 catches for 684 yards and 13 scores, and 24 of 51 completions for 315 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Welch has primarily lined up at receiver the past two games and has come away with 25 catches for 450 yards and nine touchdowns.

Vanguard will put Welch one on one with a defender and stack the rest of the offense in the box to exploit that matchup, Shipley said.

Senior quarterback Austin Burch has completed 48 of 73 passes for 1,047 yards, 19 touchdowns, and two interceptions. 

“We want to get pressure on the quarterback and make him make quick throws,” Shipley said.

Making the Vikings difficult to defend is the way they change their scheme based on what the defense gives them, Shipley said, sometimes passing more, other times running more.

Vanguard junior Markham Dossett and Welch lead the defense with 100 tackles and 66 tackles, respectively. Welch also has an interception and two fumble recoveries.

“They do a good job of running to the ball,” Shipley said. “They get pressure in the backfield.”

The key for the Flames on offense is blocking, he said.

“Getting one key block in six-man can spring you for six points,” he said.