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The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team cruised to a 72-22 victory against Temple Holy Trinity on Sept. 24 in the teams’ District 4-Division II opener.

The Flames (4-0, 1-0) took a 50-16 lead at the half and needed one more touchdown to enact the 45-point mercy rule to end the game after two quarters. Instead, the contest came to a conclusion at the end of the third quarter.

“Friends of mine tell me, ‘I know you think a lot of your opponents, but I don’t think you realize how good your team is,'” Faith head coach Stephen Shipley said. “(Celtics head coach James) Shelton said, ‘Your offense is so potent that I don’t think there’s anyone who can stop it, and I really thought we could score more on your defense than we did.'”

The Flames made the game look easy on both sides of the ball. Faith steamrolled to a 20-8 lead after the first quarter and just kept adding points with a rushing attack that ran through and over the Celtics (2-3, 0-1). When Holy Trinity stacked the box, Faith went to its passing game, which was equally devastating as the Flames were 5 for 5 on deep throws. Faith has scored on every offensive possession except one, a dropped ball on fourth down against Richland Hills in the season opener Aug. 27.

“We haven’t gone to a fourth down in the last three games,” Shipley said.”On one hand, I like to throw. On the other hand, I like to win. If the running game is there, we’re going to do it. I’ll throw one downfield to keep the momentum going. We’re a run team now, and we have the weapons in the backfield and have quality blockers. Where we’ve improved the last two years is blocking.”

Meanwhile, Faith’s defense kept Celtics senior captain Zaylin Blackwood, who lines up at running back and receiver, in check.

“I thought their running back was so fast and quick,” Shipley said. “I thought it would be hard to contain him more than we did. We played well last night. We gave up a few plays because of missed assignments. We have to continue to improve.”

As proud as Shipley is of the outcome, he’s challenged his players to get better, particularly on defense.

“We’re still trying to fix the puzzle and move people around,” he said. “We have to fix some things on defense. As a coach, you’re always looking at stuff you want to fix.”

Now, the Flames turn their attention to a crucial two-game stretch beginning Friday, Oct. 1, at home against San Marcos Academy. After a bye, Faith welcomes Austin Veritas on Friday, Oct. 15. Kickoffs are at 7:30 p.m. at Britton Field, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls.

“The next two games are the toughest two on our schedule,” Shipley said. “The next two games are a true test of where we’re at.”

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