No two area high school football programs mirror one another more than Lingleville and Stephenville Faith.

Sure, one is a UIL member who will begin district play next year while the other is a homeschool group competing in the Texas Christian Athletic League.

But both are six-man programs, and both just started playing last year.

"We kind of have a little rivalry developing," said Faith head coach Cody Martin. "It's a friendly rivalry, but it's still a rivalry just because we started our programs at the same time and we started against each other."

Faith pulled away from Lingleville in the fourth quarter last year. It was the first game ever for the Faith Knights, while the Cardinals were reviving their program that had been dormant 43 years.

Both teams showed significant progress as their first seasons continued to unfold, as each won three of its final four games. Faith finished 5-5 while Lingleville was 4-5.

The teams open against one another again when the Knights play their first game in their new home - Bluff Dale Junior High's six-man field - at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Knights have moved on without all-state quarterback and safety Colton McCabe, who went on to play at Howard Payne University in Brownwood. The new field general is just a freshman, but Martin has nothing but confidence in Shadd Cole.

"Colton was great, but with his size and big arm he was probably a better fit to be an 11-man quarterback," said Martin. "Shadd is more of a prototype six-man quarterback. He's not big, but he can really move."

Cole had a pair of interception returns for touchdowns and also passed for a score in a preseason scrimmage.

The Knights are returning a pair of dangerous running backs in Daniel Winkler and Jacob Thompson, though Thompson has yet to see the field due to a nagging injury.

"Daniel has had a good preseason and looks ready to have another great year," Martin said. "I know when Jacob's back he's going to be fired up and ready to play."

The Knights will also benefit from the return of Jared Veldhuizen, and offensive lineman/nose guard Lucas Leamons has slimmed down and gotten faster. Martin says Leamons could even be a factor with the ball in his hands this fall.

Lingleville has all its primary weapons back, led by sophomore quarterback Robert VanKranenburg, who brings 11-man size to the field. Chris Carter was the team's leading scorer a year ago, and Ernesto Nava, just a sophomore, is the team's strongest player.

"We're definitely further ahead than we were last year," said Lingleville head coach Justin Del Bosque. "We're still teaching basics, and we'll always do that, but what we were doing last year was basic basics."

The Cardinals received a big boost with a pair of move-ins. Addison Hunter, a tight end and defensive end, and Travis Alderfer, a tailback and nose guard, have both donned the maroon and white.

"They are going to be big for us," said Del Bosque, who noted that Hunter scored a pair of touchdowns in Lingleville's scrimmage against Cherokee.

Both coaches agree the game will be a good measuring stick to see which program has progressed the most in a year.

"I'm sure they are better than they were last year just because they have some experience playing now," said Del Bosque. "We're the same way, the guys are doing things now they had never heard of last year. It's going to be fun. I guess we can see which program has progressed more."