CAPTION: Faith Academy’s Karter Van Gundy uses his speed to get away from tacklers and gain positive yards for the Flames. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro/TexasChalkTalk.com
The Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team hosts Austin Veritas at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at Britton Field.
The two programs have already faced each other when the Defenders spent two days practicing with the Flames in early August.
Since then both teams have posted 2-2 records.
Veritas is on a two-game losing streak after setbacks to Fort Worth Covenant Classical 48-0 Sept. 15 and to Pasadena First Baptist Christian 52-6 Sept. 8. The Defenders began the season with a 60-14 win against Austin St. Stephens and a 34-22 victory against Oakwood Sept. 1.
Faith Academy head coach John Hallam was on the Veritas staff before he began coaching the Flames and was happy to welcome back his old team.
“I did watch film,” he said. “I’m not learning a ton of new stuff. I’m familiar with their players. I’ve known those seniors since they were 10. It’s different. Every game situation is different. It’s peculiar to load it up and begin to try to game plan against them, particularly the seniors. There’s mixed emotions. I’m excited. It’ll be a fun thing to see everyone and be apart of it.”
Offensively, the Defenders lean heavily on seniors Ethan Chandler and Brighton Bresemann, who lead the unit in passing yards and rushing yard. Veritas has created a hybrid of the spread offense with an emphasis on the run.
“They are two of the most explosive and best players,” Hallam said. “They like to do a lot of run-pass options with power sweeps on the perimeter.”
Junior Ryan Barefield is the leading receiver.
The Defenders still run the defense Hallam created led by senior Joey MacPherson.
“It’s a team concept,” Hallam said. “(Head) coach (Jonathan) Hatfield is very good about using his personnel with 12-15 guys for significant snaps. There’s a lot of rotation and not one or two guys to be highlighted.”
The Flames are entering this contest after a 66-30 setback to San Marcos Hill Country Sept. 15.
“We had quite the film session (Sept. 18) to correct several issues,” Hallam said. “We want to see a lot of improvement.”
He noted the offense had “a lot of assignment errors that should not be happening at this point. Defensively, there were a lot of mistakes.”
Many came on gap integrity, meaning each Flame is responsible for a particular gap. If that Flame isn’t where he is supposed to, the other team has a successful play.
“It’s a one-gap principle everywhere on the field,” he said. “We’re always responsible for a gap, whether it’s three or four seconds after a play starts or closing from back to front. We always have to be aware of gap responsibility.”
He also wants to see improved special teams play, noting the Flames lost two onside kicks, gave up two special teams touchdowns, and struggled to connect on extra points.
“A lot of it was on me,” Hallam said. “We have some special team deficits I haven’t found a solution. There are similar things that have been dogging us during the season. We’re out of time. Now it’s how can we patch this and take three steps forward and we’re making those decisions.”
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