STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Before kickoff against a struggling Round Rock Christian on November 8, Faith Academy of Marble Falls head football coach Stephen Shipley challenged his Flames to maintain a high level of play in their Division I, District 2 six-man game.
And they did, beating the Crusaders 74-0 in a game that ended at halftime due to the mercy scoring rule.
With the victory, the Flames (6-4 overall, 4-2 district) take third in district and are in the playoffs. They face District 1’s Calvary Denton (6-3, 4-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday, November 16, at Groesbeck Stadium, located at the corner of Commerce and Berry streets in Groesbeck.
Shipley liked what he saw from his team in their final regular season contest.
“(Round Rock) probably had two first downs and crossed midfield once,” he said. “They were short on players and had some injuries. They were down some good kids.”
The Crusaders (1-9, 0-5) threw three interceptions that Faith defensive backs returned for touchdowns: senior Travis Hughes with two and sophomore Dylan Offutt with one.
On the offensive side, Hughes as quarterback threw two touchdown passes to sophomore Case Coleman.
Coleman, senior Colby Offutt, and freshman Luke Ehrig each had two rushing touchdowns, while freshman Jaydon Jones ran in a score.
“I wanted to score quickly and keep the starters into the first quarter,” Shipley said. “We tried to get Colby and Travis involved as much as we could.”
Reserves took over in the second quarter and kept up the intensity.
“We were able to get the ball to the kids in the backfield,” Shipley said. “The best part was everybody participated.”
Shipley said he wanted a fast start and challenged his team to not let up.
“There’s been a couple of teams that we maybe thought weren’t going to be tough,” he said. “(Those teams) made it more of a game than what it should have been. We played an all-around good game (against Round Rock) on both sides that gives us confidence.”
Faith’s first-round foe, Calvary, also finished third in its district, and Shipley believes the two teams match up well.
Calvary’s offense revolves around its rushing attack, which features a bruising, 6-foot-5-inch, 230-pound fullback and a speedy running back.
“They line up and pound it,” Shipley said. “Their running back … can break one anytime. They’re balanced across the board. They can do damage.”
The fullback also plays defense, too, Shipley added.
“They tackle well,” he said.
The Flames have shown consistency in the passing game in the past three weeks, which will be important as the playoffs start, Shipley said.
Because Faith lost its last two road games, the coach has stressed to his players to mentally prepare for Calvary every day so they can have a solid start on Saturday.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” he said of the road losses. “Turnovers just killed us. And it’s hard to come back when you lose the special teams battle.”