ROUND ROCK -- For 12 of its first 13 games, the Shiner football team found a way to mix its power and speed to 12 victories.
Shiner quarterback Trevion Flowers (3) fakes a handoff to running back Evel Jones (4) during a recent game. The Comanchesí season came to an end Friday when they lost to Mart, 42-7, in Round Rock. photo courtesy of Rhonda Alexander
But on Friday, Martís speed proved to be too much for the Comanches. DíNarian Thomas ran for 234 yards and four touchdowns on just 17 carries, and returned an interception for a touchdown as the Panthers ran past Shiner (12-2), 42-7 in a Class A-Division I state semifinal Friday at Kelley Reeves Athletic Complex in Round Rock.
"We played great football in the first half," Shiner coach Steven Cerny said. "We only gave up two big plays, but itís tough to come back against a team with speed like Martís."
With the win, Mart (12-2) advanced to the A-DI championship game where the Panthers will face Stamford at 4 p.m. Thursday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Mart is playing for its second state championship in three years as the Panthers also won the A-DI state crown in 2010.
Rusty Nail, a former assistant under Gonzales coach Ricky Lock at Runge and Elgin, is aiming for his third state championship at Mart. He also guided the Panthers to the 2006 2A-DII state championship.
"We had a lot of turning points in this game," Nail said. "But the biggest turning point was Thomas making plays with his feet. The key for us was to get No. 9 (Jacob Stafford) to go the wrong way, but he kept making tackles. We did a great job blocking on the outside, and we defended the veer better than I thought we would."
Both teams traded a pair of punts on their first two drives before Shiner got things going with a nine-play, 55-yard drive which concluded with a 2-yard touchdown run from Trevion Flowers to give the Comanches a 7-0 lead at the 9:26 mark of the second quarter. Stafford hit Flowers for a 14-yard gain to convert a third-down and Flowers connected with Evel Jones on fourth down to keep the drive alive.
It didnít take Mart long to respond. Thomas had back-to-back 6-yard carries and DeMarcus Cosby had a 3-yard jaunt before Quentin Bryant took a counter handoff down the right sideline for a 48-yard score to tie the game at 7 with 8:12 left in the second quarter.
After another trade of punts, Shiner looked primed to go on another scoring drive after Flowers picked up eight yards to his own 49 to set up a second- and-2 from the Comanchesí 49. But his pass intended for Stafford was intercepted by Thomas at the Mart 28.
The Panthers cashed in on the ensuing drive as they drove 72 yards in six plays on a drive that was capped by a 32-yard touchdown run from Thomas to put Mart up 14-7 with 36 seconds remaining before halftime. Thomas connected with Bryant for 14 yards and Cosby for 17 before taking off for his score.
Shiner drove to the Mart 16 with one second left before halftime thanks to a 36-yard pass from Flowers to Justin Stovall. But Flowersí pass for Stafford fell short as time expired, and the Panthers enjoyed a 14-7 lead at the break.
Mart went back to work on the opening drive of the third quarter as it drove 56 yards in just two plays. Thomas followed his 6-yard gain with a 50-yard score off of right tackle to put his team up 21-7 at the 11:09 mark of the third.
The Comanches received a scare when Flowers had to be helped off the field following a kickoff return to the Shiner 40. Brady Cejka came in to drive the Comanches to the Mart 43 before they were forced to punt.
The Panthers went on their longest drive of the night -- 11 plays, 80 yards -- as Thomas finished the drive with a 12-yard score to make it a 28-7 score with 1:39 left in the third. Thomas had six runs for 67 yards on the drive and a 7- yard pass completion to Bryant to set up the score.
Cejka drove Shiner to the Mart 24 early in the fourth thanks to a pair of fourth-down conversions courtesy of an offsides penalty against the Panthers and a hook-and-ladder pass play for 11 yards as he hit Tyler Patek for 8 yards before Patek flipped the ball to Jones for the remaining three. But Thomas recorded his second interception of the game on the ensuing play and returned it 86 yards for a score to put Mart up 35-7 at the 9:47 mark of the fourth.
The Comanches could not get anything going in their next drive as they turned the ball over on downs at their own 49 with 6:28 left in the contest. Thomas put the icing on the cake two plays later with his 38-yard score to put him over the 200-yard mark of the second week in a row and give Mart a 42-7 lead with 5:43 left to play.
Flowers led the way for Shiner as he went 2-of-4 passing for 45 yards with an interception, while rushing for 26 yards and a score and catching a pass for 14 yards to finish the night with 85 yards of total offense. Stovall was the leading receiver with two catches for 45 yards, while Jones led in rushing with 35 yards on nine carries.
Including Cejka, Flowers and Jones, 12 Comanches played in their final high school games. Cejka, Flowers, Jones, Jonathan Albrecht, Zach Arnold, Isidor Cerny, Jaace Chumchal, Caleb Curtis, Max Huth, Kris Patek, Austin Remmers and Cole Strauss were the seniors on the Shiner roster who suited up for the purple and gold for the last time on Friday.
"I couldnít be prouder of this team, especially the seniors," Cerny said. "This team never quit and they worked hard every day in practice. There are a lot of teams who wouldíve loved to be state semifinalists."
statistics source: http://www.advosports.com/games/football/shiner-at-mart/341/
GAME SUMMARY: Shiner 7, Mart 42 TEAM STATISTICS: Shiner Mart First Downs: 11 x Penalties: 2 x Penalty Yards: 10 x Attempted passes: 13 x Completed passes: 6 x Passing Interceptions: 2 x Passing Touchdowns: 0 x Passing Yards: 80 x Rushes: 44 x Rushing Yards: 125 x Rushing Touchdowns: 1 x Fumbles: 0 x Fumbles Lost: 0 x Punts: 5 x Punting Yards: 174 x SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Shiner 0 7 0 0 -- 7 Mart 0 14 14 14 -- 42 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter no score Second Quarter SHI - Trevion Flowers 2-yard run (Kris Patek kick) 9:26 MAR - De' Nerian Thomas 48-yard run (Nail kick) 8:12 Third Quarter MAR - De' Nerian Thomas 50-yard run (Nail kick) 11:09 MAR - De' Nerian Thomas run 12-yard run (Nail kick) 1:39 Fourth Quarter MAR - De' Nerian Thomas 86-yard interception return (Nail kick) 9:47 MAR - De' Nerian Thomas 38-yard run (Nail kick) 5:43 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Shiner: Tyler Patek 1-(4), Brady Cejka 4-4, Trevion Flowers 9-26, Evel Jones 9-38, Jacob Stafford 9-32, Caleb Curtis 11-27. Passing Shiner: Brady Cejka 8-3-21-1 Trevion Flowers 4-2-45-1 Jacob Stafford 1-1-14-0. Receiving Shiner: Tyler Patek 1-7, Justin Stovall 2-44, Trevion Flowers 1-14, Evel Jones 2-15.