Scrimmages provide a measuring stick for coaches to evaluate their team and develop a plan moving forward.
Faith Academy head football coach Stephen Shipley is doing just that after watching the film from the Aug. 14 scrimmage between the Flames and Bulverde Bracken almost a dozen times.
“We have a ways to go,” he said. “I told my players, ‘The train left the station, and it’s a couple of miles ahead of us. We have to go and catch it.’”
The Flames started the scrimmage strong during the controlled portion of the event. Under the controlled portion, each offense is allowed a certain number of plays regardless of the outcome.
Faith’s defense forced Bracken to use all 10 of its plays to score a touchdown. The Faith offense, however, struck often during its controlled portion, scoring three touchdowns.
The Flames scored on long runs, short passes that went for touchdowns, and explosive passes where receivers out jumped defenders.
“That’s a good thing about football,” Shipley said. “Any play can bust at any time. We want to run our base offense with our running backs. I feel at any time on any of those, they can break them.”
When Bracken’s offense trotted back out, it fumbled twice in a row, and the Flames recovered the turnovers both times.
The Warriors finally answered the Flames with a scoop and score of a Faith fumble.
Faith’s good times continued at the beginning of the live portion of the scrimmage. The Warriors threw an interception on the Faith 5-yard line, but the Flames turned the ball over on a fumble.
At that point, Bracken took control and raced to a 16-0 lead before the Flames answered. That came when senior Malachi Blackington caught a pass and went 60 yards to the end zone. Faith answered once more before the scrimmage ended.
“Defense is always at a disadvantage in six-man,” Shipley noted. “You have so much area to cover and having to make open-field tackles.”
The scrimmage also gave Faith coaches a chance to move players around and try new spots.
“We wanted to give other kids a chance to get in,” the coach said.
Shipley said a glaring challenge for his team is conditioning. He said some of his players haven’t been able to practice after getting bruised up a bit. It showed when they ran out of gas midway through the scrimmage.
“Our kids are still getting into game shape,” Shipley said. “Due to injuries, we haven’t been able to get into game shape like the rest of them. And we knew that going in. We had three or four starters not playing because of injuries and sickness. We hope to have them back.”
He said junior Luke Ehrig was the Flames’ player of the game for his blocking and scoring two touchdowns. Shipley also commended Blackington and sophomore Kade Shaw, who “took advantage of his opportunities on both sides of the ball.”
For the next scrimmage, the Flames welcome New Braunfels Christian Academy at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, to Britton Field on the Faith campus, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls.
Faith opens the season at home against Richland Springs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27.