SHINER -- The Navarro Panthers proved to have too much firepower and too much depth for the mistake-prone Shiner Comanches Friday, powering their way to a 48-21 win in Shiner's Homecoming contest.
Shiner’s Blaine Caka looks for some running room with a Navarro Panther defender in pursuit. photo by Dave Mundy, Gonzales Cannon
The Class 3A Panthers used tailback Eric Schleier like a battering ram as the rangy senior carried 31 times for 171 yards and four touchdowns, including the back breaker score in the third quarter that turned the lights out on the Class 1A Comanches' hopes of overcoming a 28-14 halftime deficit.
"They hit that big play right before the half (a 24-yard TD pass from Chris Sestak to Desmond Smith) and then we didn't capitalize on a turnover to start the third quarter and we lost momentum," Shiner head coach Steven Cerny analyzed. "I thought our kids did a good job of fighting all the way to the end, but the turnovers killed us."
Shiner fumbled six times, losing four of them, and the turnovers sucked the wind right out of the Comanches' sails.
"Overall, we saw some improvement, we cleaned up our blocking," Cerny said. "Our quarterbacks did a good job of reading the option."
The Panthers marched 62 yards in eight plays to score on their opening possession with a 5- yard Schleier run, then got solid field position following a Shiner fumble. Schleier's second TD run of the evening, a 2-yarder, made it a 13-0 game at the end of a quarter.
Following an exchange of punts, the Comanches came alive in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Jacob Stafford froze the middle of the Navarro defense on the option play and scooted 50 yards for a score to make it 13-7.
Navarro responded with a 75-yard, 11-play march which ended with Schleier scoring from a yard out for a 21-7 lead, but Shiner answered in kind. This time it was running back Zach Lawrence hitting Lucian Blaschke with a halfback pass good for 27 yards to set up a twisting, churning 28-yard TD run by Lawrence to pull the Comanches within seven points at 21-14.
A holding call on the ensuing kickoff set the Panthers back at their own 8-yard line with just 1:47 left in the first half, but Navarro stormed back down field. A 24-yard gain on a belly draw by Schleier got them within scoring range, and with just eight ticks left in the half Sestak looped a pass to an uncovered Smith for a score and 14-point halftime lead.
The Comanches were unable to take advantage of a fumble on Navarro's first possession of the third period, then fumbled the ball away on their second try.The Panthers turned the turnover into points with a six-play, 76-yard drive, with Schleier plowing in from seven yards out to finish things off.
Two plays later, another Comanche fumble gave the Panthers the ball right back and on the next play, LJ Anderson raced 46 yards with an inside reverse to score to make it 41-14.
The Comanches got their final marker midway through the fourth period when Stafford, who carried nine times for 112 yards, bolted for a 34-yard score off the option.
NAV SHI First Downs 24 9 Rushes-Yards 60-423 34-238 Passing Yards 81 27 Passes 5-9-0 1-7-0 Punts-Avg 3-35.7 3-39.5 Fumbles-Lost 3-1 6-4 Penalties-Yards 5-40 3-25 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Navarro 13 15 13 7 -- 48 Shiner 0 14 0 7 -- 21 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter NAV -- Eric Schleier 5 run (Tyler Howard kick) NAV -- Schleier 2 run (kick failed) Second Quarter SHI -- Jacob Stafford 50 run (Lucian Blaschke kick) NAV -- Schleier 1 run (LJ Anderson run) SHI -- Zach Lawrence 28 run (Blaschke kick) NAV -- Desmond Smith 24 pass from Chris Sestak (Howard kick) Third Quarter NAV -- Schleier 7 run (kick failed) NAV -- Anderson 46 run (Howard kick) Fourth Quarter SHI -- Stafford 34 run (Blaschke kick) NAV -- Pedro Carreon 18 run (Howard kick) INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Navarro, Eric Schleier 27-162, LJ Anderson 10-147, Zane Conlin 4-32, Pedro Carreon 4-25, Evan DeLeon 2-11, Tyler Howard 1-9, Oscar Esquivel 1-9, Chris Sestak 4-7, Collin Cowan 2-3. Shiner, Jacob Stafford 9-112, Zach Lawrence 8-54, Myron Wallace 12-42, Brady Cejka 4-35, Blaine Caka 1-4. Passing Navarro, Chris Sestak 3-6-0-41, Collin Cowan 2-3-0-40. Shiner, Zach Lawrence 1-1-0-27, Jacob Stafford 0-6-0. Receiving Navarro, Gage Bowles 3-48, Desmond Smith 1-24, Nick Tery 1-9. Shiner, Lucian Blaschke 1-27.