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Unbeaten Flames look to put bite on Bears

Faith Academy of Marble Falls senior Case Coleman

Faith Academy of Marble Falls senior Case Coleman and the Flames return home for an important contest against San Marcos Academy. Photo by Stennis Shotts

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team aims to remain unbeaten as it faces its biggest challenge since the season opener, head coach Stephen Shipley said.

The Flames (4-0 overall, 1-0 in District 4-Division II six-man Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) host San Marcos Academy in a district matchup Friday, Oct. 1. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Britton Field, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls. 

Shipley noted the next two Fridays bring opponents capable of removing the Flames from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Bears are the first, and next week is Austin Veritas. 

“I’ve been watching film on (San Marcos Academy) for two weeks,” he said. “We have some payback from last year year. They beat us 58-56. It was back and forth for a while. They had a couple of kids who graduated. They have some younger kids and are still a very good team.”

The Bears (4-1, 1-0) are led by junior quarterback Mitchell Howard. Other key Beas are senior receiver Chizi Efobi and junior running back Wilson Guenther.

“They have speed, they have size, they can spread it out,” Shipley said. “Mitchell can run and pass. They have a couple of good receivers. Guenther is a stiff-arm guy. He’s going to muscle his way down the field. They’re going to be a handful. We’re going to have to get low and tackle well. They can get in a tight formation and run the ball or spread it out.”

Shipley said the Faith defense is looking for improvement that includes getting the right people in the right spots. He added that the Flames are close as evidenced by holding Temple Holy Trinity to 22 points in last week’s 72-22 win.

“We’re trying to fit the right pieces,” he said. “We need to get more stops. (The Bears) throw the ball more than any team we’ve played. We have to learn to defend the pass. We’re trying to find our best pass defenders.” 

Offensively, the Flames are almost flawless. They have scored on every drive except one through four games. Seniors Malachi Blackington, Case Coleman,  Dylan Offutt, and Harrison Hanner lead an offense that can put up points quickly thanks to speed and strength. The Flames can do it by their running and passing games. Most defenses simply haven’t faced an offense as lethal as Faith’s that is comfortable in any situation.

“We haven’t gone to a fourth down in the last three games,” the coach said of his offense. “Our offense is our strong point. In six-man, if you don’t score on a drive, that is a big momentum changer. We had a good day of practice (Sept. 28). The kids are focused. If we can stay mistake-free, we’ll have a good chance.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com