FLORESVILLE -- Brady Cejka did his homework this week.
Shiner running back Caleb Curtis (22) drives a Kenedy defender into the endzone during his 11-yard touchdown run in the Comanches’ 35-6 victory over the Lions in Floresville. photo by Jason Chlapek, Gonzales Inquirer Sports
Of course he had his academic homework as always, but the "homework" Cejka had this week involved football. He and his Shiner football teammates did a lot of film study on their bi-district playoff opponent Kenedy.
The Comanches not only did their homework, they passed the test. Cejka intercepted two passes and returned a punt to set up a touchdown as Shiner ran past Kenedy, 35-6, Thursday at Floresville High School in the bi-district round of the Division I-Class A state playoffs.
"Our coach (Steven Cerny) told us Kenedy threw a lot of passes so we were ready," Cejka said. "We just played our ‘A’ game."
The Comanches were solid defensively as they intercepted four passes and limited the Lions to 114 yards of total offense, including just 85 passing on a 14-for-32 outing for Kenedy quarterback Rollie Zepeda. In addition to Cejka’s two picks, Zach Lawrence and Trevian Flowers also recorded interceptions.
"The entire secondary played well," Cerny said. "We struggled a bit on offense though, and the emotion just wasn’t there."
Shiner (6-5) recorded 324 yards of total offense, including 245 rushing. In his playoff debut, sophomore quarterback Jacob Stafford completed 5-of-9 passes for 79 yards, two interceptions and two touchdowns, while running 10 times for 20 yards and a score.
The Comanches scored on three of their first five possessions in the first half to build a 21-0 lead at halftime. Following a 15-yard punt return by Cejka to the Kenedy 35-yard line, Marlon Wallace was knocked out of bounds at the 1 on a 34-yard run before Stafford snuck into the endzone from that spot to give Shiner a 7-0 lead at the 3:33 mark of the first quarter.
Cejka struck again on the Lions’ next play as he returned the first of Zepeda’s four interceptions to the Kenedy 25 to give his team good field position once again. Five plays later, Caleb Curtis bulled his way into the endzone from 11 yards out to put the Comanches up 14-0 with 1:16 left in the opening quarter of play.
Four possessions later, Shiner went on a 14-play, 66-yard drive, which took more than seven minutes off the second-quarter clock. The drive ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Caleb Kalich with 2:34 left before halftime.
The Comanches opened the second half with another long drive as they drove 74 yards in 10 plays. Wallace and Curtis combined for 48 yards on nine carries during the drive before Stafford hit Evel Jones for a 26-yard score to put Shiner up 28-0 at the 7:09 mark of the third quarter.
The teams traded interceptions on the next two drives before Kenedy got on the scoreboard on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Zepeda to Tristan Mejia. The Zepeda-to-Mejia touchdown cut the Comanches’ lead to 28-6 with 18 seconds left in the third quarter.
Jones capped the scoring on a 29-yard touchdown run with 2:38 left to play in the game. Jones caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown and also ran four times for 32 yards and a score.
"I worked hard to find openings on my scoring plays," Jones said.
Curtis led all rushers with 96 yards and a score on 25 carries. Wallace was the second-leading rusher with 71 yards on 14 totes.
Shiner faces Brackett at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Somerset in a DI-A area round playoff game. Brackett (4-6) is the District 14-A-DI champion, and received a first-round bye.