CAPTION: Smoking For Jesus Ministry School senior cornerback Isaa Legier knocks a pass away intended for Faith Academy junior receiver Kade Shaw. Photo by Stennis Shotts
The Highland Lakes’ region most anticipated contest — Smoking For Jesus Ministry School versus Faith Academy of Marble Falls — didn’t disappoint Sept. 9.
In the end, the Eagles (1-2, Texas Association of Independent Athletic Organizations) won a 98-62 shootout that brought out the best in both teams.
Smoking For Jesus scored 16 touchdowns with four of them coming from passes. Most of the Flames’ (1-2, Division II, District 3 of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) scores came from junior Kade Shaw running kickoffs to paydirt.
“From the time we got off the bus, it was determination,” Eagles head coach Charles Frazier, Sr. said. “They wanted this win, they wanted to get back on track. They knew this game would be the game. They were ready to get back to winning.”
“They wanted it worse,” Flames head coach Stephen Shipley said. “It was a bigger game for them than for us. It was a pre-district game for us to get ready for district.”
The Eagles led 21-8 after the first quarter, 40-16 at the half, and 72-38 after three periods.
Senior quarterback Isaac Legier made Smoking For Jesus go, which didn’t surprise Shipley. He credited them for how they used senior receiver Jonathan Frazier, who they moved to the backfield to give him room to turn short-yardage plays into big ones.
“Isaac was always going to be tough to stop,” the coach said. “You’re going to have to contain him, and we didn’t do a good job of it. He does a good job of staying patient and waiting for you to make a mistake. He’s one of the best in the state as a split back. He’s as good or better than anyone we faced last year. Jonathan is fast. In the backfield, he is a weapon for them. We didn’t account for him being in the backfield.”
Legier threw two touchdown passes to Frazier, one to junior Connor Kitchens, and the last one to sophomore Michael Richards.
Shaw did more than score touchdowns, Shipley said, noting he also took care of the ball and cleaned up mistakes he made a week earlier.
“He fought hard to the end,” he said. “He was a mainstay on both sides.”
Shipley said fixing mistakes must be a priority for the Flames, which haunted them in the first half. The Eagles caught two interceptions and recovered two fumbles they turned into touchdowns.
“On the first drive, a touchdown gets called back because of a penalty. It’s a tough situation on third and long,” he said. “Turnovers kill you. They get 30 points out of that, and that’s the difference in the ball game and us turning the ball over on fourth down. In the second half you start matching score for score, it’s tough. I don’t know that we completed a pass downfield.”
Add in three Faith starters were out, and it was a difficult night.
“We get banged up early and lost three starters on defense,” he said. “At one point, we had all freshmen and sophomores on defense. We knew it was always going to be tough to stop them. And with three veterans on the sideline with experience and they’re out, it’s tough to do. Everything that could go wrong for us went wrong. We had kids who fought till the end. We played better the second half and didn’t lay an egg. The kids who were out there fought.”
The elder Frazier noted the Eagles fed off the intensity from sophomore Benjamin Frazier, Kitchens, Legier and Jonathan Frazier.
“They were in it,” the coach said. “Practices had a more serious tone. We were turning up the intensity a lot. We added more plays. They were either running them right or they were running laps. We pushed on them that what you do in practice, you’ll do in a game.”
Both coaches agreed the Eagles’ speed was big factor in the game’s outcome.
“Speed kills,” Frazier said. “It’s everything. Ninety percent of our practices are running. We only have 12 guys. We can’t afford to be tired.”
Frazier couldn’t over-emphasize the importance to playing the Flames and praised Faith for not quitting.
“This game brought us together,” he said. “It takes heart, and they knew it. Faith fought real hard. We tried to make them go away, and they wouldn’t go away.”
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