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Faith Flames face playoff-hungry Hill Country Christian School

Faith Academy versus Concordia

Faith Academy of Marble Falls senior Malachi Blackington and the Flames travel to Hill Country Christian School of Austin on Friday, Oct. 29. Photo by Stennis Shotts

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team had fun, productive practices leading to this week’s game in Cedar Park. That’s what happens when you’re undefeated.

The Flames (7-0 overall, 3-0 District 4-Division II) face Hill Country Christian School of Austin (4-3, 2-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at Cedar Park High School, 2150 Cypress Creek Road in Cedar Park in a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools six-man contest.

Hill Country Christian School has plenty riding on the outcome of this game, too. The Knights are currently fourth in the district standings and looking to take a big step toward the playoffs before hosting Temple Holy Trinity next week. That’s why Flames head coach Stephen Shipley believes his team will get Hill Country’s best.

“(The last playoff spot) is going to come down to them and Holy Trinity,” he said. “(The Knights) are better than some of the other teams we’ve played.”

Hill Country is led by sophomores Riverson Shaw, Ty Curry, and Ethan Howard, who take turns playing in the offensive backfield and on defense. Faith will counter with seniors Malachi Blackington, Case Coleman, Harrison Hanner, Ben Martin, Dylan Offutt, and Brendan Thames and junior Elijah Blackington.

Shipley described the Knights as opportunistic.

“They try to get you going in different directions,” he said. “They want to get you to make mistakes. Some of it is misdirection. Some is just slippery guys out in the backfield. You never know where they’re going. The words we’ve preached this week are discipline and patience.”

Shipley and his coaches have challenged the Faith players to perform at a high level without making errors.

“Turnovers can turn a game quick,” Shipley said. “I told them I want to play clean. And we’re not doing anything spectacular; we’re just running our best defense and our best offense.”

The Flames are unafraid to line up and go one on one with opponents. And they’ve succeeded, too, especially on offense, where Faith has scored on every possession this season minus one turnover on downs and turnovers. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Sonny Wilson has challenged his unit in getting stops and turnovers.

“You get a stop, 98 percent of the time, you’ll score,” Shipley said. “Getting defensive stops is like a 6- to 8-point swing. You get three or four stops, and you can really quickly go up three or four touchdowns.”