Things have been topsy-turvy for the Shiner football team during its Class A - Division I playoff run.
Shiner defensive tackle Zach Arnold (72) and his defensive teammates will try to keep high-octane Mart out of the endzone tonight when the teams meet at 7:30 at Kelley Reeves Athletic Complex in Round Rock. photo courtesy of Rhonda Alexander
The Comanches had to counter Ozonaís power with speed, which they did to the tune of a 62-13 rout of the Lions in the area round. The following week, Shiner (12-1) used its power to wear out Weimar, 27-6.
Last week, the Comanches used speed to spell defending state champion Masonís power game in a 21-3 win. Tonight, Shiner will have to find a way to slow down Mart (11-2) when the teams square off in a A-DI state semifinal contest at 7:30 at the Kelley Reeves Athletic Complex in Round Rock -- the same site of the Comanchesí win over Mason a week ago.
"We have to find a way to contain a lot of speed," Shiner coach Steven Cerny said. "Mart likes to get its speed into the open space."
The Panthers, who won the 2010 A-DI state championship and lost in the 2011 state semifinals to Mason a year ago, have plenty of speed to boot out of their spread formation. Sophomore quarterback DíNerian Thomas has rushed for more than 1,700 yards and passed for nearly 1,000, while freshman running back DeíMarcus Cosby has gained more than 1,500 yards on the ground.
Even wide receiver Quentin Bryant is a running threat as he has more than 600 yards rushing -- primarily out of jet sweeps or reverses. Bryant also is Martís leading receiver with more than 400 yards receiving.
The Panthers run a lot of counter, zone read and jet sweep plays. Theyíre also not afraid to throw the ball.
"We have to find a way to stop them from scoring," Cerny said. "No one (in the playoffs) has found a way to do that yet."
Shiner has strengthened defensively throughout the playoffs. The Comanches have surrendered just 22 points in their three postseason wins.
"Iím proud of the way our kids have stepped up and stayed focused," Cerny said.
Defensively, Mart operates out of a split or a 5-2. Cerny is uncertain which alignment his team will see tonight since the game film he has on the Panthers consists of them facing a spread offense as opposed to a split veer -- Shinerís offense.
"I donít know if theyíve seen the veer this season," he said.
The winner of tonightís game faces the Italy-Stamford winner at 4 p.m. Thursday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington for the A-DI state championship.