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Faith Academy football survives big effort from Round Rock Christian

UPDATE: Round Rock Concordia beat Temple Holy Trinity Oct. 29, making the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team the district champions.

CAPTION: The Faith Academy Flames earned a tough road in at Round Rock Christian to stay on course for another district championship. Photo by Stennis Shotts

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team beat Round Rock Christian 38-32 Oct. 28 to remain unbeaten in district play and in control of its playoff destiny.

The Flames (4-3, 3-0) played through an extremely motivated Crusaders team (4-5, 0-4) set on winning their final home game of the year.

For weeks Faith head coach Stephen Shipley said Round Rock Christian had one of its best teams in recent memory.

“They were what I thought,” he said.

The contest started well for the Flames. They stopped the Crusaders on the opening drive and promptly scored thanks to a touchdown run by senior Jordan Tarver, who ran untouched to paydirt.

“I thought ‘This is how this game is going to go,'” Shipley recalled thinking.

But the Crusaders had thoughts of their own and forced Faith into miscues and began to take advantage. All of the sudden, the two teams began matching each other score for score and played to a 24-24 half-time tie.

Some of that may have been because the Flames had to rely on underclassmen to make plays. Three sophomores and a freshman started on both sides of the ball.

“It was a crazy night,” the coach said. “We had four turnovers and a couple were questionable. We had a pitchout they called a fumble in the red zone. We had a 50-yard touchdown called back because of holding that was questionable. A lot of it was us shooting ourselves in the foot. And when you have four turnovers, you should never win the game. It was just one of those nights.”

He noted some of the turnovers were the result of the Flames trying to get extra yards and the defense taking advantage of loosely held balls or forcing the ball loose and recovering it.

“It’s one of those things that comes with experience,” Shipley said. “We gave them the ball at midfield cause we fumble on our side of the 50. They have a short field to go score. We gave them every opportunity to beat us.”

And that didn’t happen because the Flames made enough plays at the end for the victory.

“I’m proud of the kids for their fight,” the coach said. “We had to fight back because of the turnovers.”

Enter Tarver, who had a pair of touchdowns that were about 60 yards apiece. Freshman Michael Houy entered the contest at quarterback after an injury to a teammate and made it a point not to make errors that hurt his team. Senior cornerback Will Lewis was unstoppable defensively and never allowed the Crusaders to get comfortable.

“Tarver had some good run. He played well,” Shipley said. “Lewis played his best game of the year. He caused a turnover. He did a good job rushing the line. He was the most consistent player. I was real proud of him for his leadership and stepping up. And Houy had to lead us the rest of the game. He made a couple of throws and he made a couple of catches. He also played defense. He did a good job. He was calm and collected and accepted it.”

One play that stood out was a dropped pass by a Faith receiver. Shipley saw the quarterback and the receiver talked as they were getting back in the huddle.

“That was a confidence builder,” he said. “Houy was our junior varsity quarterback we moved up. I told him ‘you’re one play away.’ We had to keep it basic; I didn’t want to put a lot on him. We ran our base stuff. We tried to keep it simple for him. The kids rallied around him. I was really proud of him and of them.”

Junior Cross Sanchez scored three touchdowns, while Tarver had two, and Lewis had one.

Faith closes out the regular season by hosting Temple Holy Trinity at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 at Britton Field, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls. Holy Trinity was playing Round Rock Concordia at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. If Holy Trinity wins, the Celtics will come to Marble Falls to play in a winner-take-all contest for one of the two playoff spots.

But if the Celtics lose to Concordia, Faith wins the district title outright.

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