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Faith Academy football welcomes rival Austin Veritas for two days of practices

CAPTION: Faith Academy senior quarterback Cross Sanchez looks for an open receiver during the 6-on-6 tournament hosted by the Flames and Austin Veritas. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Football teams are used to having other squads join them for practices during training camps. But it’s usually not on the second day. That was another change to the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team during the first week of training camp this season as Austin Veritas traveled Aug. 1 to work out with the Flames.

The two teams practiced together for two hours on the first day where from both programs mixed up and separated into drills led by coaching staffs from both programs.

“They’re seeing all the coaches and doing all the drills,” said new Faith head coach John Hallam, who used to be an assistant on the Veritas staff,

The Celtics returned Aug. 2 to participated in a 6-on-6 tournament with a catch. Coaches divided the players from both programs into four teams with a mix of Celtics and Flames on each.

The seniors said they enjoyed the two-day practices and getting to know players from a program that has been very successful, too. Veritas and Faith are typically battling for the district title.

Hallam said he was pleased with two aspects from his new team.

“I’m really excited with the talent level and coachability,” he said. “We talked philosophy the first day and overview. Then we practiced and practiced drills. We’re doing other things and building.”

Those traits are vitally important as the coach and players get to know each other and discover how to communicate. Hallam wants the Flames to execute each play in a way that’s more of a throwback to another era.

Hallam has stated he wants to empower the players to make decisions on plays by looking at how the opponent is lined up and then calling the play that will yield a positive result for Faith Academy. That requires another level of intelligence.

“The intelligence we’re talking about isn’t associated with grades,” Hallam said. “It’s tied to decision making by processing situations.”

He noted players notice all sorts of activities in football stadiums, from the size of the crowd to what’s happening on the sideline. So the challenge is keeping the athletes engaged on what’s happening on the field.

“It’s learning to focus on what you can control and being quick,” he said. “You feel all those stresses, and some people are instinctively able (to work through it). I think the quarterback will have processes. Others will have decisions to make but not a process whereas a quarterback will make three reads. Someone is in my face. Do I make a pitch or run with the football. Those can be practiced with repetition. You can determine if you’re going to do this or that and how that guys move.”

Hallam noted there’s plenty to teach and not a lot of time to learn it. So the Flames are making every second count.

“I want to see the guys and get to know them before I build out,” he said. “We have so much to learn in a short amount of time. If I can get you to trust us while you’re getting to know us, that’ll speed up the process. And I’m seeing it. They immediately corrected an issue even if they’re not comfortable. My communication with them has been great on how they’ve been interacting with me.”

Another important element is the returners are developing relationships with the younger players, which Hallam believes will pay off.

“I told them our goal is to win a championship,” he said. “It’s obtainable. We have these certain challenges we have to overcome. Overall, we have to build depth and keep ourselves healthy.”

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