FLORESVILLE -- Being in high school, the Shiner defensive players have homework assignments each week: studying for the Algebra quiz, reading five chapters of a Shakespearean novel, working on chemistry problems and studying up on the tendencies and strategies of the offense of their next opponent..
Derek Duke (63) tries to break up a pass from Kenedy's Rolie Zepeda. photos by Mark Lube, Gonzales Cannon
Shiner certainly did its homework with four interceptions Thursday night at Eschenburg Stadium in a 35-6 win over the Kenedy Lions Thursday in the Class 1A Division I bi-district playoffs.
"Our coach made us practice really well this past week," said cornerback Brady Cejka, who led the Comanches with two picks. "He said Kenedy threw the ball 40 times in their last game and we were prepared."
"Kenedy throws the ball well so I figured I had better bring my ‘A’ game. I think I had a good game."
Cejka and the Comanche defense were ready for anything and everything the Lions brought, including a couple of gadget plays.
"The coaches told us we had to do our homework and we all did it," he said. "I studied their offense while I was home during the week. You have to do your homework when you play Kenedy. They are a good team."
Shiner's Caleb Curtis (22) skirts the corner.
"Defensively, we played great all game," said head coach Steven Cerny. "The interceptions were big. Brady played well and the secondary came up with some big plays."
The Comanche offense played ball control football with 243 yards rushing on 57 carries.
They did have some mishaps, three turnovers and some missed blocking assignments.
"We struggled a little offensively," Cerny said. "I thought we came out flat and without emotion at the beginning of the ball game. I do not think it was anything Kenedy did. We just did not execute.
"We blew a couple of blocking assignments and we lined up wrong a couple of times. We were not always hitting correcting on our outside veer and were hitting inside the tackles."
The Lions (6-5) received the opening kickoff and Shiner was called for offsides on the first play.
Quarterback Rolie Zepeda had to pick up a bad snap for a 6-yard loss and later had a 6-yard completion to Tristan Mejia. They had a 42-yard punt to the Comanche 28. Quarterback Jacob Stafford and running back Caleb Curtis alternated on the first three plays and Marlon Wallace got in one 4-yard carry.
The Comanches' Marlon Wallace (8) breaks loose for a big gain.
Shiner went for a fourth-down conversion at the Lion 38 but Curtis was stopped three yards shy.
The Lions running game went bottled up and Zepeda was flagged late for intentional grounding after trying to elude Shiner pressure.
The Comanches returned the punt to the 35 of Kenedy. Wallace took a handoff and darted 34 yards and Stafford scored on a sneak on the next play. Lucian Blaschke booted the point after for a 7-0 Shiner lead.
On the next play, Cejka picked off Zepeda to give Shiner the ball at the Lion 25. Zach Lawrence got a couple of rushes to help get the Comanches first down at the 11 and Curtis scored for a 14-0 lead with 1:16 to play in the first quarter.
Kenedy started near midfield, due to a 15-yard Shiner penalty on the kickoff. Zepeda went to Mejia for 16 yards and a Lion first down to the Comanche 39.
The drive ended when Lawrence picked off Zepeda to give Shiner possession near midfield with nine seconds left in the quarter. The Comanches could not move the ball and had to punt.
After forcing the Lions into a three-and-out, Shiner drove 66 yards in 7:09 for a 21-0 lead, gaining four first downs on the lengthy drive. Stafford had a 22-yard pass to Blaschke on third-and-13, and later went to Caleb Kalich for the 11-yard touchdown pass with 2:34 left in the half.
Running back Caleb Curtis (22) breaks through the Kenedy defense.
Cejka got his second pick of the night, followed by Kenedy’s first break as Lawrence lost a fumble after a 5-yard reception.
After a 9-yard end-around by Deon Mayberry to the Lion 47, the Lions got fancy: Zepeda handed off to Mayberry on an end-around and that turned into a reverse as he gave the ball to Emilio Mendoza heading in the opposite direction. Medoza pitched the ball back to Zepeda who gave it back to him on the flea flicker pass but Shiner blew up the play for a 15-yard loss back to the 32 and the Lions ended up having to punt, getting a good bounce on the 53-yard kick to the Shiner 11, where the Comanches ran out the clock.
Shiner opened the second half with a 74-yard scoring drive in just under five minutes. Curtis got a 16-yard rush to midfield. Shiner then strung out each play with modest gains of 3-6 yards each time until they reached the 26 where Stafford went to Evel Jones for a 26-yard touchdown pass and a 28-0 advantage.
Trevion Flowers grabbed an interception on the next drive to give the Comanches their fourth of the night but Kenedy returned the favor as James Lopez got to the Comanche 44.
Comanche quarterback Jacob Stafford (9) looks for some running room.
Sammy Martinez got an 11-yard gain to the 31 and Zepeda converted a fourth-and-7 with a 12-yard pass to Mejia to the 16. Several plays later Mejia caught a 5-yard pass to bring Kenedy to within 28-6 with 18 seconds left in the third. Nick Nevlud blocked the extra point for the Comanches.
Kenedy made another defensive play as Mejia picked off Stafford and returned it 31 yards to the Shiner 10.
The Lions later turned the ball over on downs when a Zepeda-to-Mendoza running back screen failed to get into the end zone.
Shiner moved the ball from outside the shadow of its end zone but later had to punt.
The Lions fared no better and punted with Shiner returning the ball past the 50.
On third and 10 from the 48, Flowers scooted 14 yards on a reverse to set up his teammates at the 34. Two plays later, it was Jones with a 29-yard run for the final touchdown of the night.
The Comanches will play Bracketville in the Class 1A DI area round 7:30 p.m. Friday in Somerset.
statistics source: http://www.gonzalescannon.com/node/7301
TEAM STATISTICS: Shiner Kenedy First downs 18 6 Rushes-yards 57-243 16-28 Passes 5-9-2 14-32-4 Passing yards 79 87 Punts-yards 2-73 5-204 Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0 Penalties-yards 3-25 4-35 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Shiner 14 7 7 7 -- 35 Kenedy 0 0 6 0 -- 6 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter S - Jacob Stafford 1 run (Lucian Blaschke kick) S - Caleb Curtis 11 run (Blaschke kick) Second Quarter S - Caleb Kalich 11 pass from Stafford (Blaschke kick) S - Evel Jones 26 pass from Stafford (Blaschke kick) Third Quarter K - Tristan Meija 5 pass from Rollie Zepeda (kick blocked) Fourth Quarter S - Jones 29 run (Blaschke kick) INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Shiner: Caleb Curtis 23-93, Marlon Wallace 16-79, Evel Jones 5-34, Trevion Flowers 1-14, Zach Lawrence 3-12, Jacob Stafford 9-11. Kenedy: Sammy Martinez 6-20, Deon Mayberry 2-10, Emilio Mendoza 3-8, Rollie Zepeda 5-(-10). Passing Shiner: Stafford 5-9-2-79. Kenedy: Zepeda 14-32-4-115. Receiving Shiner: Jones 2-42, Lucian Blaskchke 1-22, Caleb Kalich 1-11, Lawrence 1-5. Kenedy: Tristan Mejia 7-65, Mendoza 5-8, Mayberry 1-8, Weston Hallmark 1-6.