SEGUIN -- Widely-respected historically for their efficiency in executing their signature Veer offense, it was the Comanche defense that took center stage last Friday night.
Evel Jones scores a touchdown after Craig Kniefel (on ground) cleared the way with an outstanding block. photos by Cedric Iglehart, Gonzales Cannon
Shiner (11-1) held Weimar to 215 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers en route to a convincing 27-6 win over the Wildcats in the Class 1A Division I Regional playoff game at Seguin’s Matador Stadium.
"I just give all of the credit to our guys," said Shiner head coach Steven Cerny. "They sacrificed everything tonight. I thought we played extremely well in the first half on offense and defense. We always preach about big plays and we got some tonight when we needed them."
Shiner’s first big play came early in the game when Chad Neubauer intercepted a Juwan Almeida pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. The conversion run failed and the Comanches held a 6-0 lead with 10:06 still left in the first quarter.
Weimar (7-5) could only garner a three and out, with Isidor Cerny stopping DeLexus Gordon on a third and short, and the ensuing punt set up Shiner at their own 21.
A reverse to Jacob Stafford took the ball into Weimar territory at the Wildcat 48, before Evel Jones picked up 10 yards off the right side. Back to back carries by Stafford and Jones gave Shiner a first and 10 at the Weimar 24, then Trevion Flowers gained nine yards on an option keep. Four plays later, Jones trotted in from 11 yards out to give Shiner a 12-0 lead.
Jacob Stafford tries to hop away from the effort of a would-be tackler.
Weimar’s second possession proved as fruitless as its first. Stafford slammed into Jakyle Harris after a modest gain and then Harris was blasted by Cerny on the next play for no gain. Caleb Kalich knocked away a third down pass and the ensuing punt gave the Comanches a new set of downs at their own 28.
Shiner opened the drive with three consecutive runs by Stafford, which pushed the ball out to the Weimar 46. Jones picked up 11 yards on a pitch and two plays later, Cole Strauss kept the drive alive by falling on a fumble at the Weimar 38 as the first quarter expired.
On third and 14, Kalich made a brilliant sliding catch to gain 15 yards and Jones went for three on the first down carry. Jones ran in from the 21-yard line after a great ball fake by Flowers and he also got the two-point conversion run to make the score 20-0 in Shiner’s favor, where the score stood at halftime.
"When we got up early, it put them in a position where they would have to go to the pass to get a big play," said Coach Cerny. "I think that was a big factor. We spent a lot of time prepping for their speed because they scared us with last time."
"We changed a few things to try to slow down their speed option and it worked. Our D-line did a really good job of controlling the line game with their technique."
The second half began with a pooch kick by Shiner that was recovered by Tyler Patek at the Comanche 44. Following a two-yard run by Jones, Caleb Curtis burst up the middle for a 14- yard gain. Two plays later, Flowers ripped off a 14-yard gain of his own before Jones went for 22 yards, aided by a great lead block from Stafford.
Evel Jones breaks the tackle of Weimar's Payton Wells en route to a big gainer.
Flowers capped the drive by taking it in from the one on a quarterback sneak and Kris Patek’s kick staked Shiner to a 27-0 lead.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter until Weimar moounted another serious scoring threat. They scored on a seven-yard pass to Torre Johnson from Almeida on the third play of the final frame and the conversion pass failed to account for the game’s final score.
Shiner punted away after a short five-play drive the Wildcats put together a lengthy drive in response. Facing a second and 10 at their own 24, Harris got four on a carry and then Almeida connected with Johnson for a huge 17-yard pickup.
Two incomplete passes came next - with the latter getting tipped away by Kalich - and on fourth down, Kloesel snagged Almeida’s pass to give Shiner the ball at their own 41.
Brady Cejka was inserted at quarterback and his first carry resulted in a 35-yard gain. However, the promising drive ended in a punt after Cejka sailed a pass over the head of Kalich.
Brian Kloesel tries to prevent Weimar quarterback Juwan Almeida from wriggling out of his tackle.
Operating from a full-blown desperation mode, Weimar threw for successive gains of four, 11 and 13 to set up a first and 10 from their 38. On the next play, Kloesel preserved the Shiner win by picking off his second pass and Cejka iced the game by taking a knee from the victory formation.
"I know he doesn’t catch passes very well at tight end," said Cerny jokingly in referring to Kloesel’s dual-interception performance. "Those might be his first two receptions of the year. We went with a quicker lineup and had him at linebacker late in the game and that’s when he made his big plays."
Cerny’s jovial take on what Kloesel did in the fourth quarter was shared by the man himself when he was asked what was going through his mind during those pivotal plays.
"Nothing because I don’t think," Kloesel said with a big smile. "I just saw the passes coming at me and I caught them. I knew everybody else on defense had at least one interception already so I figured it was time for me to get one. When I caught it, it just felt amazing. I wanted to bounce off the walls, it just such a great high."
"We had a great week of practice where we really came together and we’re getting good at the right time. We plan on making a run for state through our teamwork."
statistics source: http://www.gonzalescannon.com/node/12023
GAME SUMMARY: Shiner 27, Weimar 6 TEAM STATISTICS: Weimar Shiner First downs 13 18 Rushes-yds 29-140 53-353 Comp-att-int 7-19-3 1-4-1 Pass Yds 75 15 Punts-yds 4-156 2-83 Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0 Penalties-yds 2-19 7-60 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Weimar 0 0 0 6 -- 6 Shiner 12 8 7 0 -- 27 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter SHI -- Chad Neubauer 62-yard interception return (run failed), 10:06, 1st. SHI -- Evel Jones 11-yard run (run failed), 4:30, 1st. Second Quarter SHI -- Jones 21-yard run (Jones run), 10:00, 2nd. Third Quarter SHI -- Trevion Flowers 1-yard run (Kris Patek kick), 8:47, 3rd. Fourth Quarter WEI -- Torre Johnson 7-yard pass from Juwan Almeida (pass failed), 10:52, 4th. INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Weimar: DeLexus Gordon 3-4, Jakyle Harris 19-128, Juwan Almeida 7-8. Shiner: Evel Jones 18-159, Jacob Stafford 13-60, Trevion Flowers 11-41, Caleb Curtis 5-23, Brady Cejka 4-43, Justin Stovall 2-27. Passing Weimar: Almeida 7-19-75-3. Shiner: Flowers 1-2-15, Stafford 0-1-0-1, Cejka 0-1-0. Receiving Weimar: Seth Helmcamp 1-5, Payton Wells 1-10, Torre Johnson 5-60. Shiner: Caleb Kalich 1-15.