Shiner's physical line and its ground-pounding offense gets the attention.
But the Comanches' execution and calmness in the face of adversity marked the difference in their 21-17 victory against Big Sandy last week in the Class 1A state semifinals.
"They are very disciplined and very focused and very patient," Big Sandy coach Scott Callaway said of Shiner. "They never panicked. We had them down, and they were supposed to be 20-point favorites. They went about their business and came back on us. Even when they won they didn't get too excited. If my kids had won, they'd have been bouncing off the walls. But they were calm and never really celebrated much."
Shiner runs a veer-option offense similar to that of Jim Verden's Wheeler playoff teams. Running back Chris Baer leads the team in rushing with 2,019 yards and 38 touchdowns. Quarterback Trey Curtis has run for 739 yards and five touchdowns.
The Comanches do not pass much. Curtis has completed 19-of-64 passes for 347 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions.
Shiner's top lineman is Associated Press first-team all-stater Clayton McCorkle (6-2, 240).
"The strength of their team is their line," Callaway said. "They are big and physical and they know their business. They have been playing together for years, and there's not anything you can throw at them that they haven't seen. They use their strength on the line and run the dive, the option and the sweep out of the veer. They drove 90 yards on us to win the game in the fourth quarter, and that No. 10 (Chris Baer) ran the toss sweep for most of those yards."
Shiner lost the state title game 28-27 last season to Windthorst.
The Comanches have made the playoffs every year since dropping to Class 1A in the 2000 University Interscholastic League realignment.