KATY (Covering Katy News) - While the City of Katy prepared for its annual Rice Festival this weekend, the cold north wind brought the first fall weather to Katy.  As the wind chilled the fans, the Faith West Academy (Katy) 6-man football team smelled victory in the air, and threw their own Rice festival.  FWA junior RB Gabe Rice amassed 205 yards on the ground, bringing the Eagles’ overflow crowd a 54-24 homecoming victory over Lutheran High School (San Antonio) in six-man football Friday night. 

The Faith West Eagles started strong.  On the Lutheran High Mustangs’ first possession, FWA was able to force a fourth down, culminating in a punt block by senior Marshall Wales.  Wales followed up that block with a 14-yard run for a touchdown, giving the Eagles an early lead.  After the Mustangs answered with a score of their own, Rice gave the crowd a taste of the show to come, scoring on a 40-yard run, giving the Eagles a 16-6 lead early in the first quarter. 

The rest of the first half was dominated by Rice.  After junior Thomas Cedeno recovered a Mustangs fumble, Rice scored on runs of 42 and 25 yards.  The Eagles controlled both sides of the ball in the half, and went into halftime with a lead of 32-18 following the Mustangs’ late score with five seconds left in the half. 

“I was really proud of the boys and the way they came out, the way they focused up early on,” said head coach Nathan Utt, “they knew what they had to get done, they knew our goal, and they stuck to our plan.  I saw a lot of good things on defense and offense, and was proud of the way they executed.  There are some small things we need to refine in the coming weeks for our next district games, but overall I’m really proud of the way we played tonight.” 

At halftime, the Eagles crowned their homecoming court, naming seniors Zane Vincent and Jesslyn Foster “Most Representative” students.  The “Most Representative” students are voted on by their peers as those seniors who exemplify the school’s emphasis on excellence in Christian education, demonstrating excellence in their spiritual, academic, physical, and artistic pursuits.  “I’m just super excited to win this award,” said Vincent, “it means a lot, and congratulations to [runners-up] Dan Owen and Marshall Wales, they deserved it just as much.” 

After the halftime homecoming show, the Eagles continued their run to victory.  At the end of a  bruising 15-yard run in which he dealt out punishment to several Mustangs defenders, Wales’ helmet flew off as he dragged Mustangs to their 5-yard line.  As Wales adjusted his headgear on the sideline, senior Dan Owen took the snap, reversing field for a touchdown on the next play.  Following Owen’s touchdown, Wales recovered a Mustangs fumble, and quickly flipped a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Matthew Stewart, who has shown tremendous growth through the season, and has quickly become an aggressive presence on defense and reliable receiver on offense.  Dedicated placekicker junior Andrew Tyrell consistently boomed the extra points through the uprights, and his kickoffs rode the north wind through the end zone several times.

Wales continued his excellent season, accounted for 9 rushes for 131 yards including a touchdown, and was 4 of 8 for 49 yards and a touchdown in the game.  “It was a fantastic team effort,” said Wales, “everyone was flying off the ball on both sides.  We fought as a team, taking momentum from last week and used it. It fueled us, and we played an excellent game.  All glory to God.” 

On defense, the Eagles were led by Owen, who had 9 solo tackles (4 for a loss) and 5 assists, while Wales accounted for 7 solo tackles (2 for loss) and 5 assists.  All of those assists for Owen and Wales were the two teaming up on the tackles.  The Eagles were also greatly energized by four players returning from injuries, with Owen returning after a one-game absence, and senior Noah Wood coming back from several games off to anchor the offensive line at center, and contribute with a pass reception and several tackles.  Senior Raymond Jin returned after several games away, contributing by teaming up 3 tackles on defense.  Finally, the Eagles crowd was very happy to see freshman Ethan Bailey back on the field, after a scary blind-side hit in last week’s game led to Bailey being carted off the field by medical personnel.

The night, though, belonged to Rice.  Totaling 205 yards on 11 carries and 4 touchdowns, Rice carried the Eagles to victory on this cold night.  “It was nice to get my first win at homecoming, said an ebullient Rice after the game, “next is the Heisman.” 

The Eagles next game is on October 18 at Logos Prep Academy (Sugar Land) at 7:00 pm. 

Six-man football explained:

 Six-man football is a fast-moving game played on an 80-yard-long by 40-yard-wide field.  The game specifies a 15-yard distance from the line of scrimmage to gain a first down, instead of the normal 10 yards.  Scoring is the same as in 11-man football, with the exceptions being on the point after touchdown attempt and the field goal. A point-after kick is worth two points, while a conversion made by running or passing the ball is worth one point.  In addition, a field goal is worth four points instead of three. In Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools competition, a 45-point "mercy rule" exists to prevent lopsided scoring deficits.  The game is ended under this rule if a team is losing by 45 or more points at halftime or at any point after. Scoring tends to be much higher in the six-man game compared to its 11-man counterpart; games in which one team scores 100 points or more, now extremely rare in 11-man, regularly occur several times a year in six-man.  As of the 2017–2018 alignments from UIL, TAPPS, TAIAO, TCAF, and T-CAL, the state of Texas has 262 six-man football teams.  Source:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-man_football.

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