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District champion Flames hit the road for final regular season game

Ben Martin of Faith Academy of Marble Falls

Faith Academy of Marble Falls senior Ben Martin and the Flames look to wrap up the regular season undefeated. Photo by Stennis Shotts

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team has one more regular season game before the Flames can turn their attention to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools six-man playoffs.

The Flames (9-0 overall, 4-0 Class 2A District 4-Division II) are on the road against Round Rock Christian Academy (3-6, 1-3) with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, 3005 CR 175 in Leander.

Faith, ranked No. 11 in the nation by MaxPreps.com, has locked up the district championship and knows its first playoff opponent: Ovilla Christian School, 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at Faith’s Britton Field, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls.

Still, head coach Stephen Shipley said his players must understand they’re about to enter new territory in the postseason.

“You lose one, you’re done,” he said. “Frankly, at this point, we have to stay unbeaten. Our kids have stepped up, but you have to stay that way and can’t back down.”

Round Rock Christian will try to establish a running game with handoffs or short passes to give their backs open lanes for big yards. The Flames defense, which has improved throughout the season, must answer.

Shipley was pleased with the intensity and focus his defense displayed in its 64-6 win against Hill Country Christian School of Austin on Oct. 29. 

“Our defense pretty much stopped them,” he said. “We limited mental mistakes, and I think our guys know each week they have to come ready to play. I think our defense takes pressure off the offense when you’re not being scored on. Our defense has been really playing well, and it’s what we have to do.”

The Flames will be without senior Malachi Blackington, who suffered a season-ending leg injury in last week’s win. Blackington played several roles for the Flames, including receiver, defensive back, and kicker. Shipley has been hunting for a new kicker and noted senior Harrison Hanner has already kicked extra points for the Flames.

“With Malachi out, we have guys who can play receiver, we have guys who can step in,” Shipley said. “It’s really sad for him, but he’s in good spirits.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com