BUDA -- It was one of those evenings when it just wasn't easy to get warmed up, with a chilling wind knifing in that turns 31-degree temperatures even colder. Even many of the fans were visiting the restrooms at Buda's Shelton Stadium primarily to use the warm-air hand dryers.
Shiner RB Marcus Coleman (1) looks for a seam all photos by Dave Mundy of The Gonzales Cannon
Once their defense got unlimbered Friday night, however, it was downright toasty for the Shiner Comanches.
The Comanche defense spotted Thorndale a score on each of its first two possessions, but then slammed the door on the Bulldogs and set the stage for a comeback as Shiner rallied for a 14-10 quarterfinal win Friday, sending the Tribe to next week's state semifinals for a rematch with Mart.
"We had a little trouble with that little screen play of theirs early, and later with the quarterback draw," said Shiner head coach Steven Cerny, "but the defense stepped up. (Chad) Neubauer's interception was big and the sack (by Dillon Kalina) was a big play too."
Neubauer stepped in front of a Riley Schaefer pass at the Shiner goal line early in the fourth quarter to short-fuse a Thorndale bid to regain control of the game, while Kalina had two sacks and had several other pressures as the Comanches got a handle on Thorndale's spread attack.
Shiner QB Jacob Stafford (9) is tackled by a Thorndale defender
"I think the cold probably hurts a spread team a little more because it gets hard to feel the ball," Cerny said. "Some of our kids were saying that, too."
The Comanches ran the ball 65 times for 341 yards, but came up empty-handed on four drives into the red zone.
The Bulldogs were feeling just fine to start the game, however. Thorndale took the opening kickoff and marched 86 yards in just seven plays, with the payoff a 49-yard slip-screen pass from Schaefer to Colton Austin.
Shiner answered with a long drive of its own, running off 11 plays and moving the ball deep into Thorndale territory. But the Bulldog defense stiffened in the red zone and Shiner turned the ball over on downs at the Thorndale 15.
The Bulldogs put together another long scoring drive, getting inside the 10-yard line before the Shiner defense stood its ground. A 22-yard field goal by Austin made it 10-0 late in the first period.
Shiner answered with another long, time-consuming march, covering 53 yards on eight plays, with quarterback Jacob Stafford covering the final five yards on a quarterback sneak. Hunter Mraz's PAT kick trimmed the Thorndale lead to 10-7.
Comanche and Bulldog players mix it up
The Comanche defense forced a Thorndale punt and Shiner followed with another march deep into Bulldog territory, covering 85 yards on 13 plays, but a botched handoff on fourth-and-six from the Thorndale 8 left the Comanches hanging.
The Shiner defense responded, however, by forcing another Thorndale punt attempt from deep on its own side of the 50. The deep snap went over punter Austin's head and the Bulldogs were forced to turn the ball over on downs at their own 7. Three plays later, Marcus Coleman punched it in from two yards out for what would prove to be the winning score.
Shiner mounted two long drives in the third period but lost the ball on downs on the first and saw a 25-yard field goal try by Mraz caught by the wind and hurled earthward short of the crossbar. The Bulldogs capitalized on the missed three- pointer by loosing Schaefer on several quarterback draw plays to move from their own 20 to the Shiner 11-yard line early in the final period.
Neubauer jumped in front of the intended receiver at the goal line and killed the threat with his pickoff, however.
With time running out, the Bulldogs were forced into more dropback situations, and Kalina delivered the big play at the 2:03 mark by dragging Schaefer down for an 8-yard loss, then pressuring an incomplete pass.
More Gonzales Cannon Photos by Dave Mundy
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Chad Neubauer (33) runs behind blocks by Jacob Stafford (9) and Marcus Coleman (1)
Shiner RB Marcus Coleman (1) hits the ground as Thorndale defenders look on
Shiner defender Dillon Kalina (77) pressures Thorndale quarterback Riley Schaefer (4) on a pass
Shiner RB Chad Neubauer (33) is wrapped up by Thorndale defenders
statistics source: http://www.gonzalescannon.com/node/12158
GAME SUMMARY: Shiner 14, Thorndale 10 Class 1A Division I Region IV Final (State Quarterfinal) playoff game Shiner Comanche Stadium TEAM STATISTICS: Thorndale Shiner First downs 13 21 Rushes/Yds 24-96 65-341 Comp/Atts 13-22-1 0-0-0 Passing yards 146 0 Punts-Avg 3-60.7 2-38.5 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-0 Penalties-yards 4-30 7-64 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Thorndale 10 0 0 0 -- 10 Shiner 0 14 0 0 -- 14 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter THO -- Colton Austin 49-yard pass from Riley Schaefer (Colton Austin kick) THO -- Colton Austin 22-yard field goal Second Quarter SHI -- Jacob Stafford 5-yard run (Hunter Mraz kick) SHI -- Marcus Coleman 2-yard run (Hunter Mraz kick) Third Quarter no score Fourth Quarter no score INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Thrall, Alex Kyner 11-(-16), Brandon Valadez 4-(-9), Aaron Salazar 6-(-9), Gabriel Gomez 1-1, Joel Salazar 1-2. Shiner, Chad Neuubauer 14-113, Marcus Coleman 14-99, Jacob Stafford 8-88, Tyler Patek 4-40, Ethan Zissa 1-10, Rigo Baray 4-24, Joey Overton 2-4, Brian Kloesel 1-1, Blake Michalec 1-(-1). Thorndale, Colton Austin 5-6, Riley Schaefer 10-43, Danus Brooks 5-22, Eric Guzman 2-11, Rowdy McCoy 2-3. Shiner, Jacob Stafford 27-180, Marcus Coleman 18-63, Chad Neubauer 18-105, Tyler Patek 1-0, Dadrian Taylor 1-(-7). Passing Thorndale, Riley Schaefer 13-22-1-146. Shiner, none. Receiving Thorndale, Colton Austin 5-65, Darius Brooks 1-5, Jake Miller 4-33, Eric Guzman 1-13, Rowdy McCoy 1-15, Dillon Bankston 1-15. Shiner, none.