The Shiner Comanche defense gave up yardage between the 10 yard lines but got stingy at the goal line to stop the D'Hanis Cowboys, 20-14, in a Class 2A bi-district win Saturday at the San Antonio Alamodome.
Brady Strauss celebrates the Comanches bi-district win as the last second ticks off the clock in Shiner's victory over the D'Hanis Cowboys last Saturday in the Alamodome in San Antonio. (all photos by Shiner Gazette)
Three goal-line stands made up for a mediocre job of tackling on key plays during the contest.
The Comanches couldn't stop the Cowboys when they should have but stopped them when they had to.
"They were very physical. They played their hearts out and so did we," said Shiner defensive coordinator Reggie Morgan.
"We didn't tackle very well but we made our stand on the goal line. I'm glad about the outcome." Morgan said the big stand just before the half and the stand on the last drive were the big plays of the game.
D'Hanis' running back, Eric Estrada rushed for 175 yards on 21 carries and scored on a 7-yard run in the third period.
"He played a very good game," said Morgan. "Just when we thought we had him, he'd break loose and make some big plays. But our kids gave everything we asked for on those goal-line stands."
Quentin Wright makes a move on three Cowboys to pick up a first down in the win over D'Hanis in the Alamodome.
Down 20-14, the Cowboys got a break with 6:35 left in the game when Mitchell Rothe picked off a Garet Pustka pass and returned it to the Shiner 33.
Three carries by Estrada and a 6-yard pass to Arnold Gomez set up a first-and-goal on the Comanche 5-yard line.
After Rothe picked up two yards, Josh Burchell led the Comanches on a charge that dropped Estrada at the 6-yard line. A third down pass was incomplete and the Cowboys went back to their speedy back on fourth down.
Estrada managed to break out of the backfield but met up with Ryan Spann who held on long enough to allow R.J. Lester and two other Comanches to zero in and stop the squirming halfback at the 2-yard line.
The Comanches now had to control the ball for 3:05 to keep it out of the hands of the Cowboys.
"I told the guys we have to get the blocks for running room," said Pustka. "We can't get pushed back."
Eric Murphy veers to the left to pick up yardage against the Cowboys in Saturday's bi-district win.
The line responded as Pustka ran twice to the six. Wright then made a first down by inches. The clock continued to tick away as Pustka ran a play for a yard. Steven Evans then threw a great block to spring the runner to the 47 where the game ended as Pustka took three snaps to run out the clock.
"We played some of these same guys two years ago when they were freshmen and sophomores. They came in today with a lot of experience. But our defense did enough and we came together to win," said Pustka after the game.
The Cowboys came ready to play and following an exchange of possession in the first quarter the Cowboys presented their first threat driving to the Comanche 8-yard line late in the first period.
An illegal procedure penalty set them hack to the 13 as the quarter ended. The Comanche defense stopped Estrada on first-and-goal.
The Cowboys picked up seven yards on a pass and on third and goal, Todd Wenske and others dropped quarterback Brandon Weimers for a yard loss setting up fourth down.
Steven Evans (7) is about to snag this pass from Garet Pustka in second quarter action against D'Hanis. After the catch, Evans beat Mitchell Rothe (22) into the end zone for a touchdown.
Weimers pass to the end zone fell incomplete and Shiner had withstood the Cowboys' first threat.
Sparked by the goal line stand, the Comanches mounted a 93-yard march for their first score. Quentin Wright, filling in for injured Chris Baer, made a key first down on a 10-yard run and then caught a 27 yard pass on third down to set up Eric Murphy's 59-yard scoring run with 6:38 left in the second period.
Pustka pitched left to Murphy who cleared the line of scrimmage and raced down the sideline with Estrada in pursuit from across the field. Estrada caught Murphy on the 5-yard line but Murphy wouldn't go down and dragged the Cowboy with him into the end zone. Lester's kick failed but the Comanches were on the board.
Following the kick off, the Shiner defense pushed the Cowboys back to the D'Hanis 24 but a face mask penalty on third down gave the Cowboys another chance. D'Hanis then drove 64 yards, capping the drive with a 11-yard touchdown pass from Weimers to Arnold Gomez. Cruz Gauna split the uprights with the PAT kick and D'Hanis took a 7-6 lead with 2:02 left in the first half.
Shiner struck back with a 61-yard drive. The Comanches went to the air and picked up yardage to the D'Hanis 36. Pustka then hit Steven Evans on a slant and another race was on. Estrada and Rothe caught up with Evans on the 10-yard line but Evans broke their tackle and slipped into the end zone.
Steven Evans breaks around the end for a big gain.
Wright then ran in the two-point conversion and Shiner led 14-7 with :49 left in the half.
R.J. Lester picked off a Kyle Clary pass following the kick off to stop the Cowboys. The Comanches responded with an effort to up their lead but Pustka's last second pass to the end zone was intercepted by Weimers.
D'Hanis recovered a Shiner fumble on the second play of the second half and took only five plays to score with Estrada scampering into the end zone from eight yards out. Gauna's kick was good for a 14-14 tie.
A short kick gave Shiner good field possession on the D'Hanis 48. The Comanches chipped away at the yardage and Steven Evans finished the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. The kick failed but Shiner was again in the driver's seat with a 20-14 lead.
Coach Steven Cerny is interviewed by Victoria KAVU-TV 25's Alex Balakian after Saturday's game as Josh Burchell looks on.
D'Hanis stormed right back and drove from their 35 to the Comanche 11-yard line where once again the Cowboys faced a determined Shiner defense as the third quarter ended.
On fourth-and-six, a host of Comanches descended on Weimers and dropped him on the 10 where Shiner took over.
Shiner could have sealed the victory on their drive but a 47-yard touchdown run by Evans was nullified by a holding penalty.
Rothe's interception came on the next play that set up the final minutes of the game.
"D'Hanis was a solid ball club," said Shiner coach Steve Cerny. "They held their blocks until the whistle blew.
GAME STATISTICS D'Hanis Shiner First Downs 10 16 Yards Rushing 37-243 40-226 Yards Passing 62 121 Passes 6-9-1 8-11-1 Punts 1-26 1-40 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1 Penalties-Yards 5-35 3-30 DíHanis 0 7 7 0 -- 14 Shiner 0 14 6 0 -- 20 SCORING DETAILS First Quarter none Second Quarter S -- Eric Murphy 59 run (kick failed),6:38 D -- Arnold Gomez 10 pass from Brandon Weimers (Cruz Gauna kick), 2:02 S -- Steven Evans 36 pass from Garet Pustka (Quentin Wright run), 0:49 Third Quarter D -- Eric Estrada 7 run (Gauna kick), 9:12 S -- Steven Evans 6 run (kick failed), 4:00 Fourth Quarter none INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing -- D'Hanis, Eric Estrada 21-175, Mitchell Rothe 4-43, John McCauley 3-16, Brandon Weimers; Shiner, Eric Murphy 10-95, Garet Pustka 17-75, Quentin Wright 10-42, Steven Evans 10-42. Passing -- D'Hanis, Brandon Weimers 6-9-0 62 yards, Kyle Clary 0-1-1 0, Shiner, Garet Pustka 8-11-2 121 Receiving -- D'Hanis, Eric Estrada 3-19, Arnold Gomez 2-26, Ryan Santos 1-17; Shiner, Steven Evans 3-52, Quentin Wright 3-42, Casey Coleman 2-27.