SHINER -- A playmaker is defined as one who makes big plays in a timely fashion in pivotal game situations. Josh Labay showed why he is the personification of the word.
Senior running back Josh Labay of the Ganado Indians leads his team against the Shiner Comanches on 10-7-11 in Shiner. Labay and his team kept their number one ranking in the state as they came from two touchdowns back to beat the Comanches 22-21. photo by Howard Esse
With his team trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter, the all-state running back came up with a 35-yard kick return and a weaving 65-yard scoring run to put top-ranked Ganado in position to pull off a 22-21 comeback win over Shiner Friday night at Shiner’s Comanche Stadium in the District 15-A DI opener for both teams.
"We played as hard as we could," said Shiner head coach Steven Cerny. "It was physical and we got after it, but we missed a couple of opportunities early. We didn’t capitalize, but you’ve got to give them credit."
Labay finished with a game-high 189 yards on 23 carries to drop Shiner to 2-5 overall. The Indians’ 22-point total tied their lowest of the year , but it was good enough to make them the district’s top scoring offense with an average of 31.4 points per game.
Playing without standout running back Marlon Wallace and with Evel Jones participating in a very limited role due to injury, Shiner was still able to rack up 234 rushing yards. Caleb Curtis ran for 166 yards and a touchdown, while Zach Lawrence contributed with 43 yards and a score on eight carries.
"Zach had a hip pointer from last week and he went down several times, but he was able to battle through the thing and get right back out on the field," Cerny said. "That’s what these kind of games are about. It was a gutsy performance by both teams."
Ganado (7-0, 1-0) opened the game’s scoring when Labay powered in from the two-yard line with 1:51 left in the opening frame. Brian Bubela made the point-after kick to give the Indians the early 7-0 lead.
With 4:03 left in the second quarter, the Comanches capped an 11-play drive with a 10-yard scoring toss from Jacob Stafford to Donovan Mardis on a skinny post in the middle of the defense. Lucian Blaschke made the extra point kick to tie the game.
After a fumble recovery by Brady Cejka at the Ganado 42, Lawrence motored in from 29 yards out four plays later. Blaschke’s kick was good and Shiner led 14-7 with 1:33 left before halftime.
The Indians opened the second half with a 13-play drive, consisting of all runs, before Shiner forced a punt. The Comanches then ripped off a 14-play drive that was aided by a Ganado unsportsmanlike penalty on third and five to keep the march alive.
On first and 10 from the Indians’ 20, Curtis took a handoff, barrelled over a defender at the seven and fell into the end zone for a touchdown. Blaschke’s kick gave Shiner a two-score lead.
Down 21-7 with 10:26 left to play, Ganado set up at the Shiner 42 after Labay’s big return. Two carries by Labay resulted in 30 yards before quarterback Trey Thedford waltzed untouched into the end zone. Labay capped the scoring drive with a two-point conversion run and the Indians were down by six with just over nine minutes left on the clock.
A squib kick gave Shiner good field position at their own 40, but three plays later a reverse to Evel Jones went awry and the Comanches were forced to punt.
Thedford gained four yards on a first down carry and then Tyler Gorman added two more, before Labay navigated through the Shiner defense and brought the capacity crowd to a collective hush with his magnificent 65-yard jaunt. Bubela’s extra point kick provided the final margin for Ganado’s victory.
The ensuing kick pinned Shiner deep in its own territory at the eight-yard line. The Comanches matriculated the ball down the field and found themselves facing a fourth and inches after their 11th straight running play. Curtis banged forward in the middle of the line to pick up the first down, but three plays later, the Comanches were looking at third and nine from the Ganado 37.
Caleb Kalich hauled in a Jacob Stafford pass on the left sideline to give Shiner a 1st and 10 at the Indians’ 20 with 20 seconds remaining and no timeouts left for either team. After an incomplete pass, Stafford threw complete to Nick Nevlud near the sideline, but he was tackled in bounds as time ran out.
"When you’ve got some injuries like we have, then your two-minute offense and everything else is kind of out," Cerny explained. "Your personnel is not there and that’s why we had a little trouble."
statistics source: http://www.advosports.com/games/3604/
Shiner Ganado First Downs 20 13 Yards Rushing 52-234 40-262 Yards Passing 26 0 Passes 2-6-1 0-2-1 Punts 2-53 1-29 Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-3 Penalties-yards 1-12 2-28 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Ganado 7 0 0 15 -- 22 Shiner 0 14 0 7 -- 21 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter G - Josh Labay 2 run (Brian Bubela kick), 1:51 Second Quarter S - Donavan Mardis 10 pass from Jacob Lawrence (Lucian Blaschke kick), 4:03. S - Zach Lawrence 29 run (Blaschke kick), 1:33no score Third Quarter no score Fourth Quarter S - Caleb Curtis 20 run (Blaschke kick), 10:26 G - Trey Thedford 12 run (Labay run), 9:17 G - Labay 65 run (Bubela kick), 5:37. INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Shiner, J. Stafford 9-31, Z. Lawrence 8-43, C. Curtis 32-166, T. Flowers 2-(-5), E. Jones 1-(-1). Ganado, T. Thedford 9-45, T. Gorman 6-30, J. Labay 23-189, C. Vesely 2-(-2). Passing Shiner, J. Stafford 6-2-26. Ganado, T. Thedford 2-0-1-1. Receiving Shiner, D. Mardis 1-10.
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