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Faith focused on first playoff game

Faith Academy of Marble Falls senior Harrison Hanner

Faith Academy of Marble Falls senior Harrison Hanner and the Flames begin their playoff march with a home game against Ovilla Christian School on Saturday, Nov. 13. Photo by Stennis Shotts

Despite prognosticators picking Faith Academy of Marble Falls to win the TAPPS Class 2A Division II state championship, the Flames themselves aren’t looking further than the first game of the playoffs. 

“Nobody is looking ahead,” head coach Stephen Shipley said. “We know now we’re in (the part of the season that’s) one-and-done. So, when you play someone in the playoffs, you know they’re a good team.”

The district champion Flames’ first step in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools’ six-man playoffs is at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at Britton Field, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls. Faith (9-0, 6-0 District 4 Division II) hosts the Dallas area’s Ovilla Christian School (6-4, 2-3 District 3 Division II). 

Against Ovilla, which finished fourth in its district, the Flames simply want to do what they’ve been doing: step on the field with a worker’s mentality.

That will be important, Shipley said, because the Eagles are better than their district finish shows.

The Eagles’ spread offense relies on a trio of players: junior quarterback Lucas Seymore, sophomore running back Noah Fitch, and senior running back and receiver Ashton White. 

“They’re as fast as anybody we’ve seen,” Shipley said. “Running is what they do. They try to catch you off guard with play-action and bootlegs. Their quarterback doesn’t run; he mainly throws and leads blocks”

Fitch and White are dynamic playmakers.

“They try to get the ball in their hands,” Shipley said. “Without those two, they’re nothing. If they score a touchdown, it’ll be one of those two.”

The Flames can’t overlook the Ovilla defense.

“They get to the ball quickly, they tackle well, they’re probably as good as any team in our district,” Shipley said. 

Faith has mercy-ruled most of its opponents this season, with games ending at the half with the Flames up by at least 45 points. However, Ovilla isn’t afraid to get into shootouts, Shipley said. 

“They know they have the ability to score anytime with their speed,” he said. “They’re trying to bust every play for a big one.”

Shipley noted his players understand they must continue to play the same way they’ve been playing, and the rest will take care of itself.

“We can match up athletically with anyone in the state,” he said. “We have as much talent as anyone in the state in six-man football, but you have to execute and not have turnovers. No matter how talented you are, if you don’t win the turnover battle and execute, it’s tough to win.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com