CUERO — The Shiner Comanches were looking for a little offensive spark in a 0-0 ball game as they were being stymied by the Flatonia defense.
Shiner’s prayers were answered when Jacob Stafford slashed through the Flatonia defense for a 15-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter to cap a 15-play 68-yard drive.
The late first-half breakthrough produced a sizzling third quarter as the Comanches (9-3) scored on their first three possessions to put away the Flatonia Bulldogs, 35-0, Friday night at Gobbler Stadium in the Class 1A Division regional game.
"Flatonia was messing with us in the first half on their inside-linebacker stunts and we did not pick it up early," Shiner head coach Steven Cerny said. "We started getting a better feel for what they were doing and kids started executing."
He credited the play of both lines of helping Shiner win.
Running back Marcus Coleman had a 40-yard run after Shiner took the second-half kickoff and later scored on a 10-yard run.
In the same quarter, he had a pair of 4-yard touchdown runs to finish with 99 yards on 14 carries and three total touchdowns.
"I thought Marcus ran really well. He gave us that fresh spurt that we needed," Cerny said."I give him credit for stepping his game up tonight."
The Shiner defense held Flatonia (9-3) to just 92 yards of offense.
Cerny said the play of the front seven helped the defense earn the shutout.
"Our secondary was feisty and came up with some big hits. They are not very big but they play hard," he said.
This was Flatonia’s third loss of the season and the first time without points on the board.
The 'Dogs had a formidable task going up against both lines of their former district rivals.
"Up front, Shiner beat us pretty good," Bulldogs head coach Chris Freytag said. "Our younger kids played like younger kids and Shiner was able to exploit some of our weaknesses."
Flatonia could only muster 48 rushing yards on 33 carries, a very off-night for the 'Dogs offense.
"We are not a very good football team when we are unable to run the ball," he said. "The Comanches did a good job of putting eight defenders in the box."
Flatonia tried to mix it up early by throwing plenty of passes but Shiner was able to defend the passing game well.
"Our kids gave effort but you have to give credit to Shiner. They whooped us." Freytag said.
The 'Dogs had not been to the playoffs since 2007 and got to regionals in this return visit to accomplish a lot for the program.
"I told the kids they will remember this the rest of their lives," he said. "It’s not where we wanted to end up and it’s not who we wanted to end up losing to. They made some great memories and played some great football."
"We beat some really good teams."
The 'Dogs took the opening kickoff and almost immediately went to the air. Quarterback Will Bruns completed his first pass to Gus Venegas for 16 yards to the 45 on the second play. Bruns then threw two straight incomplete passes and soon Flatonia had to punt.
The Comanches only gained 7 yards on their first drive and punted after three plays, and it was back-and-forth punting until Shiner started at their 32 with 9:50 left in the first half. Stafford had a 5-yard run to the 37 and Coleman followed with a 7-yard toss play to the 44. A penalty pushed the Comanches back but they quickly recovered as receiver Tyler Patek took a handoff and swept wide to the Flatonia 49 for a first down.
The Comanches continued to move the ball in small portions down the field until they faced fourth down at the 36. Needing just a couple of yards, Stafford found Patek for a 9-yard gain and the first down.
A few plays later, Stafford scored to give Shiner a 7-0 lead.
Shiner opened the second half with the ball at the 38. Coleman took a handoff and raced 40 yards to the Flatonia 22. After a modest gain by Stafford, Coleman picked up 9 for the first down to 10 and scored on the next play.
Flatonia was held to a three and out, and punted 28 yards to around its 40. The Comanches nearly gave the ball away on a fumble and later had a penalty to set them back further. Stafford had a 37-yard completion to Brian Kloesel on third and 13 from the 45. Coleman scored a few plays later from the 4 to put Shiner up 21-0.
The next Flatonia punt pinned the Comanches at their 22 and a flag moved them back to the 17.
Dadrian Taylor got the ball on a receiver reverse and worked his way for a massive 51-yard gain to the Flatonia 32. Stafford and Coleman moved Shiner to the 4 where Coleman scored again.
The Comanches quickly got the ball back as they recovered a fumble after administering a quarterback sack.
Flatonia’s defense stepped up and Shiner had to punt.
On the ensuing drive, Bruns completed passes of 11 and 3 yards to Matthew Kozelsky. Shiner’s defensive pressure resulted in another fumble and Caleb Kalich picked up the ball at the Flatonia 16 and scored the final touchdown of the evening.
With 7:40 left to play, Flatonia started moving the ball. Marcus Mica had runs of 5 and 3 yards to set up a quarterback sneak for Bruns to pick up the first down. Mica had a crucial 6-yard catch to convert a fourth down to the 'Dog 45. Two plays later, Eddie Manzano had a 14-yard run to the Comanche 41. Flatonia got as far as the 33 before turning the ball over on downs.
The Comanches will meet Thorndale in the state quarterfinals with time,date and site to be announced.
[NOTE: Shiner faces Thorndale on Friday, 12/6 @ 7:30 at Hays CISD Bob Shelton Stadium in Buda.]
Flatonia bids farewell to about nine seniors — Bruns, Mitchell Mica, Reed Rightmer, Aaron Manzano, Frank Guerrero, Fernando Guerrero, JIgar Patel, Brandon Perez and Zach Velasquez, who made their last year count with bi-district and area championships and regional finalists.
GAME SUMMARY: Shiner 35, Flatonia 0 Class 1A Division 1 regional Cuero Gobbler Stadium TEAM STATISTICS: Flatonia Shiner First downs 6 12 Rushes-yards 33-48 43-246 Passing yards 44 46 Passing 5-13 2-3 Penalties-yards 4-16 6-35 Fumbles-lost 4-2 2-0 Punts-average 5-31.2 3-37.0 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Flatonia 0 0 0 0 -- 0 Shiner 0 7 21 7 -- 35 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter no score Second Quarter SHINER - Jacob Stafford 15 run (Hunter Mraz kick) Third Quarter SHINER - Marcus Coleman 10 run (run failed) SHINER - Coleman 4 run (Coleman run) SHINER - Coleman 4 run (Mraz kick) Fourth Quarter SHINER - Caleb Kalich 16 fumble return (Mraz kick) INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Flatonia: Marcus Mica 12-36, Eddie Manzano 2-20, Mitchell Mica 3-8, Guse Venegas 4-1, Will Bruns 11-(-7), Casen Novak 1-(-10). Shiner: Marcus Coleman 14-98, Jacob Stafford 17-66, Dadrian Taylor 3-59, Tyler Patek 1-12, Bobby Stasney 2-5, Ethan Zissa 1-5, Chad Neubauer 4-4, team 1-(-3). Passing Flatonia: Bruns 5-13-44-0. Shiner: Stafford 2-3-46-0. Receiving Flatonia: Venegas 2-24, Matthew Kozelsky 2-14, Marcus Mica 1-9. Shiner: Brian Kloesel 1-37, Patek 1-9