Faith Academy senior Harrison Hanner and the Flames play Bryan Allen Academy in a quarterfinal contest Nov. 19. Photo by Stennis Shotts
The undefeated Faith Academy of Marble Falls Flames are definitely fired up for the playoff rematch with Bryan Allen Academy. Last year, Allen Academy knocked Faith out of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Division II postseason in the semifinals.
“I don’t have to give (my players) a lot of motivational talk,” Flames head coach Stephen Shipley said. “They know how big this game is since we played them last season with them knowing us inside and out. They’ll be fired up to play. It’ll go four quarters. We don’t need a lot of motivation because we know how big this is.”
The Flames (10-0 overall, 6-0 District 4 Division II) and Rams (5-5, 1-2 District 6 Division II) take the field in a quarterfinal match at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at Bible Stadium, 3301 S. Bagdad Road in Leander.
Allen Academy’s offense revolves around its rushing attack and junior running back Aidan Field. However, the Rams will pass if there’s an opportunity. The Rams are led by sophomore quarterback Ethan Lucas and receivers senior Jihu Lee, junior Kyle Dupont, and freshman Rusty Ly-McMurry.
“Their main thing is running the ball, and they’ll mix it up,” Shipley said. “They’ll establish a running game. They will throw if you give the quarterback time; he will complete passes.”
What makes the Rams dangerous is their commitment to blocking throughout the field to spring runners for yards after catches.
“They really don’t have any weak spots,” Shipley said.
Defensively, Allen Academy has plenty of speed and can close on the ball quickly.
“They have guys with the ability to stop the ball carriers,” Shipley said. “They get to them quickly, they hit hard, they wrap up. They’ll be one of the most physical teams we’ve played.”
Dupont, senior Luke Meadows, and junior defensive lineman Jackson Petty lead the Allen Academy defense.
“Dupont is a headhunter,” Shipley said. “He’s coming to the ball quickly. They’re not afraid to hit or make contact and blow up plays. They’re really physical on both sides of the ball.”
The Flames have enjoyed a solid week of practice, Shipley said, adding his players are “locked in and focused.” The coach warned the Rams’ record is misleading.
“They’ve had injuries throughout the season and have had players out,” he said. “They haven’t been fully loaded. Now, it looks like they have everybody healthy. They’re going to be hitting on all cylinders. They have a lot of talent. They’re one of the best teams we’ve faced all season.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story and photo caption said the Flames were playing a semifinal match against Allen Academy and that they were one win away from playing in the state championship game. The contest was actually a quarterfinal game. DailyTrib.com apologizes for the error.