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Faith Flames look to put bite on Bobcats

Faith Academy versus Richland Springs 2021

Swarming to the football and playing tough defense is a Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team staple thanks to Flames Kade Shaw (21) and Cody Owens. After beating Richland Springs on Aug. 27, the Flames host Bulverde Living Rock on Friday, Sept. 3. Photo by Stennis Shotts

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team’s objective, in addition to beating Bulverde Living Rock, is to put a better product on Britton Field. 

The two Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools six-man teams kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, on the Faith campus, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls. 

The Flames (1-0, District 4-Division II) defeated then-No-2 ranked six-man public schools team Richland Springs 62-34 in the Aug. 27 season opener. Living Rock (0-1, District 4 Division III) fell to TAPPS school Austin Royals 61-6. 

“We had lots of mistakes (against Richland Springs) we can’t have going into our first district game (Sept. 24),” said Flames head coach Stephen Shipley. “In the next two games, we have to fix these mistakes.”

Shipley’s sense of urgency comes from the schedule itself. The Flames have three pre-district opponents this season, not four, so he knows Faith has fewer opportunities to address the fundamentals, which play a vital role in game outcomes. 

The coach wants to see better tackling, blocking, and full-speed route running. He said his players understand the goal and are motivated to reach it.

Shipley believes the Flames will have a high level of mental focus against Living Rock from start to finish, which will be especially important when Faith begins district play on Sept. 24 at Temple Holy Trinity. 

“We face the top three teams in district right off the bat,” he said. “We have some teams we want to beat who beat us last year. We’re going to have to be prepared.”

In Living Rock, the Flames take on a team with no more than 10 players on its roster. Faith has 25 student-athletes.

Despite the number difference, Shipley stressed the danger the Bobcats pose.

“They have two or three who are really good athletes,” Shipley said. “They try to get the players in open field. They try to get athletes in open field to make plays.”

He noted the Bobcats drove the ball against the Royals, but things would go wrong, such as a penalty or a turnover to end the drive. In some cases, Living Rock scored, only to have the touchdown called back due to a penalty.

“They were snakebit,” Shipley said. “But you can tell they have athletes.”

He said anyone thinking this will be an easy win should think again.

“In football, anything can happen,” he said. “We have to come out ready to play. We are not overlooking anyone. And you can’t take anyone lightly. You have to work on fixing mistakes and come out a better team. Our kids aren’t on a big high after Richland Springs.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com