STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team returns to its home field hoping to earn its first district victory and end a three-game losing skid.
The Flames (4-4 overall, 0-3 district) welcome Austin Hill Country on Friday, November 1, to Britton Field, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools six-man Division I District 2 contest.
Faith head coach Stephen Shipley said this game and next week’s home contest against Round Rock Christian are must-wins in the playoff picture.
Hill Country (3-5, 1-2) arrives with the same focus.
“Austin Hill Country is a very solid team,” Shipley said. “They’ve played everyone close. They’re fighting for a playoff spot as well.”
The Knights are led by freshman quarterback Jonathan Lee, who has 60 of 86 completions for 689 yards, 10 touchdowns, and two interceptions. He’s carried the ball 120 times for 345 yards and two scores. Sophomore running back Zach Pryor has 86 carries for 650 yards and 11 touchdowns and 18 receptions for 342 yards and six touchdowns. Senior Evan Read has 64 carries for 271 yards and seven touchdowns and 21 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown.
Lee will sprint out of the pocket to either look for a running or passing lane based on what the defense is doing, Shipley said.
“They’re very fast, probably the fastest team in our district,” Shipley said. “They move quickly, offensively and defensively. They can break it out anytime. They don’t have a lot of size, but they have so much speed. We’re going to have to do a good job of containment.”
Read and freshman Kimo Horvath lead Hill Country in tackles with 50 each followed by senior Hayden Jackson with 40.
The Flames will counter with their version of the spread offense led by senior quarterback Travis Hughes, senior Colby Offutt, and sophomore Case Coleman.
As for Faith’s three straight losses, Shipley said his team has shown improvement each week since the 48-0 setback to Austin Veritas on October 11. They also lost to Round Rock Concordia, 58-42, on October 18 and Waco Vanguard, 48-40, on October 25.
“We felt like we were closing in on some of those games,” Shipley said.
Opponents have taken advantage of Faith miscues such as turnovers and missed blocks.
Shipley said the Flames are drilling the basics, including proper footwork for tackling and blocking, containment of lanes, and the importance of details on routes.
“We’re coming together on things, offensively and defensively,” he said. “We’re having to teach a lot of fundamentals.”