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Faith Academy’s Flames perform well in new roles against Bulverde Bracken

Two football teams that played for 2021 state championships of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools met on Britton Field, located on the Faith Academy of Marble Falls campus, Aug. 12 to give fans an early look at this year’s players.

What they saw from the Flames, who hosted Bulverde Bracken, should excite them.

The Flames outscored Bracken 6-2 and got to paydirt in different ways thanks to different players, who are being relied upon to produce big in 2022.

“This team we played lost a state title with 30 seconds left by a field goal,” Faith head coach Stephen Shipley said. “They brought nine players (Aug. 12) and had some good players. I was happy to see our conditioning helped. We’re getting there conditioning wise.”

Faith juniors Cross Sanchez, who is the spread back, and Kade Shaw, who is a receiver, made their presence felt.

“Both of them made some really good runs,” Shipley said. “They still need to learn to read the lead blocker and make cuts off of him. I was eager to see Kade in a different position than what he played last year.”

Faith sophomore quarterback Carter Fromberg and senior running back Elijah Blackington made their debuts in their new offensive positions.

“Offensively I knew we were going to score,” Shipley said. “We missed a lot of deep balls where we had receivers wide open. Our receivers did a good job of getting open.”

The center battle continues between junior Ian Smiles and sophomore Karter Van Gundy.

“We went up against a different front those guys haven’t seen,” the coach said. “Those guys have to get more reps. For the most part, they made good snaps. The ones who go and make good blocks are the ones who’ll play.”

Defensively, Blackington and senior Will Lewis each caught interceptions, and junior Jordan Tarver had a fumble recovery.

Shipley noted Bracken had about three big plays. Faith hasn’t installed the defenses that would have worked against Bracken’s offense, the coach added.

“As a coach, you’re always looking at what you have to improve on and you’re looking at the mistakes,” he said. “We’re still learning our blocking assignments, and I have to remember I have young kids. So when they miss a blocking assignment, when they’re going against a defense we haven’t seen, it’s hard for me to get on them. We’re practicing several different fronts. Everybody got to the ball, and we pursued very well. We did fly around.”

Shipley said the pieces are there defensively thanks to the returners and newcomers such as Lewis, who played defensive end, and freshman defensive back Andrew Houy. Shaw was on the line as a rusher, while Sanchez went to linebacker, and both are learning their defensive tasks.

“Will’s athletic, he’s long,” the coach said. “I was eager to see how he’d react in live game situations. He did a lot of good things. We’re moving Cross around and Kade to see how they’d react. Andrew did a good job. We only gave up three or four big plays for big yards. We made a lot of big plays for negative yards. The guys I expected to make plays made plays. Now we have to go and clean it up and be better.”

Faith welcomes Austin Veritas at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, to Britton Field, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls.

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