Few knew what to expect when the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team hosted Richland Springs, the No. 2-ranked six-man team in the state’s public school poll, on Friday, Aug. 27. But the Flames’ 62-34 victory might have surprised onlookers in how decisive it was.
After all, the Flames (1-0) were battling illnesses, bruises, and injuries that kept some from practicing during the final days of fall training camp.
“It was a significant victory,” head coach Stephen Shipley said. “I knew we could match up with them. We had kids missing practice. I was interested in seeing how they would respond, especially against a good opponent.”
The Flames raced to a 16-0 advantage and led 34-14 at halftime. Faith wanted to establish its passing game, but the Coyotes defended that well. So Shipley began calling running plays that allowed seniors Case Coleman, Malachi Blackington, and Harrison Hanner to get the Flames on the scoreboard.
“They carried us, and we kept pounding them,” the coach said. “When you have the lead, it takes the pressure off. So we ran the ball and ran the clock and won.”
He also commended the defense.
“Our defense played well against a good opponent,” Shipley said. “We had some fourth-down stops and an interception.”
Shipley said Faith was about five points away in the third quarter from the mercy rule being enacted, but the Coyotes didn’t let that happen.
“They can score at any time,” Shipley said. “There was never a point where I was comfortable. Our kids were in better (physical) condition, and most were able to play four quarters.”
Faith now begins preparations for a home matchup against Bulverde Living Rock Academy at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, at Britton Field, 3151 RR 1431 East.
Shipley encouraged his players to enjoy the win over the Coyotes but to keep it in perspective.
“This game, in the realm of things, means nothing,” he said. “It’s a pre-district game. I’m really proud of the kids. Even when we were ahead, we were still playing hard.”