The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team will play for the six-man Class 2A state championship of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools after a 32-16 win against Conroe Covenant on Nov. 26
The Flames (12-0, 6-0 District 4) face Waco Live Oak Classical (12-0, 5-0 District 3) at noon Thursday, Dec. 2, at Waco ISD Stadium, 1401 S. New Road in Waco.
“It was a good team win,” Flames head coach Stephen Shipley said about Friday’s semifinal match. “Our defense kept fighting and was resilient and bailed us out. You’re glad to get out and escape with a win.”
Faith began the contest like every other: fast and right to a lead. The Flames led 12-0 after scoring on their first two drives. Then, they faced some difficulty in the first half when a sudden change in the offensive lineup forced Shipley to make adjustments. That contributed to a 12-12 halftime score against the Cougars (11-2, 3-1 District 6).
“We had to have different guys come in at different roles,” he said. “They haven’t had a lot of reps all week. We got stalemate a little bit, and they’re playing great defense. They’re starting to shut down our running game and did as good of a job as anybody has all year.”
At the half, Shipley reminded his players of how their championship dreams ended in the semifinals a year ago when then-junior Case Coleman suffered an injury and couldn’t go. The coach commended his players for being mentally tough in not letting their goal end in the same round a year later.
“We have adversity, and we have to overcome it,” he said. “What are we going to do when we’re hit with it? The boys responded.”
The Flames turned to Coleman and senior Ben Martin to lead the passing attack in the second half, which consisted of dump pases between the two.
“Obviously, (Conroe Covenant) knows the ball is going to Case,” Shipley said. “Ben caught a touchdown out of the backfield. They were rushing a lot of people, and Ben caught a lot of passes doing that.”
Coleman and Martin each accounted for two touchdowns, while senior Harrison Hanner had the other.
Meanwhile, the Faith defense recovered a fumble and senior Brendan Thames caught an interception.
“It was pound and ground,” Shipley said. “We never gave up any big runs, but they grinded it down the field. We were able to make adjustments. Our defense stepped up and held Covenant to six.”