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Faith comeback not enough in state title loss

Faith Academy of Marble Falls football

Faith Academy of Marble Falls head coach Stephen Shipley addressed his players Thursday, Dec. 2, after they received their silver medals in the TAPPS Class 2A Division II state championship game. Live Oak Classical beat Faith 46-41. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team lost 46-41 to Waco Live Oak Classical in the Class 2A Division II state championship Thursday, Dec. 2, at Waco ISD Stadium.

The state runners-up Flames finish the season at 12-1 overall and as the District 4 champions at 6-0.

“Seniors, you have built something here. You built a standard,” head coach Stephen Shipley told his players after they received their silver medals. “I’m happy for you guys to get to this point. Twelve and one is a heck of a season.”

Late in the championship game, Faith trailed 46-28 with 5 minutes 6 seconds left. Senior Case Coleman drove the Flames 55 yards in six plays. The drive ended when he hit senior Justin Mottle for a 13-yard touchdown. The one-point pass was in the ground, so the Falcons (14-0, 5-0 District 3) led 46-34 with 3:28 remaining in the contest.

The Faith defense rose to the occasion, forcing a turnover on downs on only four plays leaving 1:53 on the clock.

The Flames offense took over at its own 37, and Coleman needed only three plays to score with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mottle, who was brilliant by getting one foot in bounds. Coleman hit Mottle again for the one-point pass to cut the deficit to 46-41 with 1:14 left.

But Live Oak Classical recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock for the win and the state title.

The Flames began the game red hot, taking the opening drive 49 yards in seven plays for a touchdown when senior Dylan Offutt found senior Ben Martin for the 3-yard score. The kick failed, but Faith led 6-0.

Faith added to its advantage after its defense forced a turnover on downs. The Flames offense covered 42 yards in seven plays highlighted by another Martin touchdown catch. That one came from Coleman from 19 yards. The kick failed, but Faith increased its lead to 12-0 with 9:50 left in the half.

The teams exchanged fumbles on the next two drives.

The Falcons got on the scoreboard when junior Allbree Sharp ran in from 3 yards out. The two-point kick was good, and Faith led 12-8 with 5:29 left in the second quarter.

Faith turned the ball over on downs, and Live Oak Classical went to work.

The Falcons’ four-play drive went 49 yards and ended when senior Jonathan Buras caught a 17-yard pass from senior Mason Peters. The two-point kick was good to give Live Oak Classical a 16-12 lead at the half.

Live Oak Classical picked up right where it left off to start the third quarter and got some good luck, too. Peters threw to senior Riley Black, who scored on a 50-yard pass off of a tipped ball. The two-point kick was good to extend the Falcons’ lead to 24-12.

Falcon senior Yoshio Ishio scampered 28 yards to paydirt to increase the advantage to 30-12 with 6:46 left in the third quarter.

Coleman got the Flames on the board in the second half on a 2-yard run to complete a three-play, 48-yard drive, making it 30-20 with 5:08 left in the third quarter.

The final quarter began with a Sharp 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Falcons a 38-20 advantage with 9:28 remaining in the game.

Faith’s Coleman engineered a 12-play, 60-yard drive and called his own number for a 4-yard touchdown run to trim the deficit to 38-28 with 6:19 remaining.

Live Oak Classical junior William Nicholas scored on a 4-yard run to give his team a 46-28 lead with 5:05 left.

That set up Faith’s furious comeback.

Faith had 359 yards of total offense, and Coleman had 20 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns and 19 of 27 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Martin and Mottle each caught five passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns, all unofficial stats.

Live Oak Classical had 354 yards of total offense, 231 on the ground led by Nicholas’ 13 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. Peters completed 5 of 11 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Buras had three receptions for 72 yards and a score.

In finishing his post-game talk with his players, Shipley asked them to remember everything they accomplished.

“We’ve been together for three years. We’ve been through a bunch of hard stuff,” he said. “Try to relish this moment. Don’t let this loss define your season. Keep your head up and be a blessing.”