SHINER -- As cliché as it sounds, Steven Cerny is hoping that the third time will be the charm for the Shiner football team tonight.
Shiner wide receiver Justin Stovall runs upfield after receiving a handoff during the Comanches' 27-6 win over Weimar last week. Shiner faces Mason at 7:30 p.m. today in Round Rock. photo courtesy of Rhonda Alexander
For two straight seasons, Mason ended the Comanches' seasons with a 28-21 region semifinal win in 2010 and a 55-7 state quarterfinal rout in 2011. The teams meet for the third consecutive year in a Class A-Division I state quarterfinal contest at 7:30 p.m. today at the Kelley Reeves Athletic Complex in Round Rock.
Both teams come into tonight's contest on lengthy winning streaks. Shiner (11-1) has won its last 10 contests dating back to a 49-28 loss to Hallettsville Sept. 7, while Mason (12-0) has won 27 games in a row dating back to a 27-26 loss to Goldthwaite in the 2010 state quarterfinals.
"They lost almost the entire team, but they picked up right where they left off," Cerny said. "Mason is a good team and we know what needs to be done to beat them."
The Comanches and Punchers are 2-0 against common opponents. Both teams beat Three Rivers and Ozona this season.
Mason is coming off of its closest win of the season -- 49-35 over Thorndale. The Punchers had a trio of players run for more than 100 yards in the contest -- running backs Rio Schmidt (143) and Luis Castillo (116), and quarterback Elliot Bibb (161).
Schmidt has carried the bulk of the time for Mason as he has more than 1,500 yards this season. He also serves as the team's placekicker.
The Punchers have a multiple-formation offense, which ranges from the I-formation and split-back to the spread. Despite the multitude of formations, Mason runs the majority of the time.
"They like to come right at you," Cerny said. "We have to find a way to stop them and force them to punt."
Defensively the Punchers are multiple as well. Their alignments range from the 4-3 and split-6 to the 5-2 and 5-3.
"We have to play physical football and get after them," Cerny said. "We also have to capitalize on offense and not turn the ball over."
While Mason has a 1,000-yard rusher in Schmidt, Shiner has a pair of them. Running back Evel Jones (1,146) and quarterback Trevion Flowers (1,022) are the Comanches who are members of the 1,000-yard club.
Tonight's winner faces the Mart-Alto winner in the state semifinal round next week.