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Faith Academy football hits the road for first time in 2022

CAPTION: Faith Academy of Marble Falls junior Kade Shaw and the Flames are aiming to continue playing solid defense when they travel to Austin Veritas. Photo by Stennis Shotts

For the first time this season, the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team is leaving the city for a road game.

The Flames (1-2, District 3, Division II of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) are traveling to face Austin Veritas at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26.

“It’s been awhile,” head coach Stephen Shipley said. “We haven’t played anywhere else since our second playoff game last year (on Nov. 19, a 55-6 win against Bryan Allen Academy. It’s good for us to go. We have to go on the road for our first district game (at Waco Live Oak Classical Oct. 7).”

He noted this contest provides an opportunity for the players to face the obstacles road trips provide that include staying mentally focused during road trips, getting ready in the visitors locker room, and playing in someone else’s venue. Those are valuable for any team.

But for some of the Flames, playing at Veritas (2-2) is familiar. That’s because the two teams have been in the same district and have made it a point to at least scrimmage one another if they don’t meet in the regular season. Faith already scrimmaged the Defenders in August.

“We outscored them in our scrimmage,” Shipley said. “We played well and since then we’ve improved. But they’ve improved, too. They’re going through growing pains. They lost the last two games, and they’re hungry for a win.”

The Defenders use a three-back set in the shot gun offensively.

“They don’t go under center,” Shipley added. “They’ll use a lot of quarterback run-pass option stuff. They have a couple of big kids who can lead out of the backfield. They’ll run out of a spread. What they do, they do well.”

Physically, the Defenders enjoy hitting.

“They’re known for having a very physical defense,” Shipley said. “They’re big and physical and tackle very well. They tackle well in the open field and are physical.”

While Shipley noted the Flames showed improvement on protecting the football and tackling the ball carrier the two quarters they played San Antonio FEAST last week, he added it’s vital the players continue to do that.

“We have to eliminate turnovers and missed assignments,” he said. “If we can win the turnover battle, we can win. Against FEAST we had no turnovers and no turnovers on downs.”

The coach noted Carter Fromberg and Karter Van Gundy, both sophomores, played well defensively and earned the trust of the coaches.

“They showed me we can rely on them on defense,” he said. “That’s big because it shows we have fresh legs on defense. That’s been big.”

Another positive is the kicking of senior Jaydon Jones, who has missed only two extra points this season. And that’s important considering the attempts are worth two points each if they’re made.

“I’ve really been proud of him,” Shipley said. “If there’s a game with six or eight touchdowns times two, that can add up. It’s huge in six-man.”

As for this week five match-up, the Flames skipper said it’s important for more reasons than simply adding a slash to the win column.

“Veritas is a big game for us,” he said. “It’s my fourth year here and it’s always been a big game for us. It’s always a tough game. It’s the last dress rehearsal before we hit district play. We have to build on what we did last week.”

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