They have always been known for their devastating running game. But last Saturday the Shiner Comanches resorted to their little used weapon to help win their quarter-final game at Alamo Stadium.
Chris Baer gets ready to fend off a Brackett tackler during Saturday's game at Alamo Stadium. all photos by Shiner Gazette
Shiner rarely goes to the passing game but when the going gets tough the Comanches have utilized the pass to surprise their opponents and this year the halfback pass has become Shiner’s secret weapon.
Saturday, the Comanches waited until the fourth quarter to pull off two completions to break a 7-7 tie and go on to a 21-7 win over Brackett in the Class 1A quarter-finals.
Chris Baer’s 44-yard pass to Nick Evans highlighted a 64-yard drive which was capped by Kyle Condel’s 20-yard toss to Chase O’Connor in the end zone with 9:02 left in the game.
"We felt we had an opening to that side because they were coming up quick to stop the run," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny.
Cerny didn’t wait for a third down situation. He called the halfback pass on first down following a Brackett punt and Baer found Evans on the right sideline for the big gain.
Quarterback Trey Curtis dives for yardage as Justin Cowan (7) throws a good block.
"Chris has a great arm and we’ve been successful with the play all year," said Cerny.
"Condel, a freshman, has waited all year to get into the action and he came through on the touchdown throw. I’m really happy for him."
Baer scored Shiner’s first touchdown in the third quarter on a 2-yard run and then sealed the victory with a 29-yard run with 6:38 left in the game. Scott Shimek was perfect on all three PATs.
Shiner will now face Big Sandy in the semi-finals at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco at 7p.m. Saturday. Big Sandy defeated Harleton, 10-0, in their quarter-final.
The Shiner-Brackett match-up was billed as a classic meeting between two running ball clubs who have scored a combined total of 1039 points this season.
Shiner’s defense, which has allowed only 81 points in 13 games and come up with six shut-outs proved its worth again as it stopped the Tigers on eight of their drives from getting past the Shiner 30.
The game started with both teams having to punt on their first possession.
On Shiner’s second possession, the Comanches got good field position with a 21-yard punt return to the Brackett 26. Trey Curtis carried three times to the 10 and on third-and-five threw to Baer in the end zone. Baer caught the ball just inside the end zone but the pass was ruled incomplete because he didn’t have full control as he fell back out of the end zone.
Myles Brand (14) gets taken down by Nick Evans, Chris Baer, and Bucky Boehm in the win over Brackett. Dylan Hagens (70) comes in to make sure of the stop.
A 27-yard field goal attempt by Scott Shimek was wide and Brackett took over only to again be stopped on downs with Dustin Pohler and Ryan Kloesel making good tackles and Willie Leach sacking the quarterback on the 13.
Brackett got a break to start the second quarter recovering a punt that took a bad bounce and hit Baer who was surrounded by Tigers.
Brackett drove to the Shiner 16 but a fourth down field goal attempt was short and Shiner took over with 6:11 left in the half.
Alternating runs between Trey Curtis and Baer, the Comanches drove to the Tiger 13 and were knocking on the end zone door. But on third-and-one, Curtis went for the first down up the middle and lost the ball which was recovered by Brand Wylie on the 10.
Bracket reached the Shiner 40 but time ran out in the first half.
"The first half was very physical," said Cerny. "But even though we didn’t get the six points on that fumbled drive it was good for the kids because it showed they could have success against them."
The Tigers finally broke the scoring drought with a 9-yard drive to begin the third period. The drive was highlighted by a 50-yard scamper by Noe Talamantes who was well on his way for a touchdown until Kevin Berger caught him from behind on the Shiner 33.
The drive, however, continued for three more downs followed by a 30-yard end around touchdown run by Brand Wylie. Mark Kesteloot booted the PAT and Brackett took a 7-0 lead with 8:56 left in the third quarter.
Nick Evans blocks out Cody Edwards (20) to make room for Chris Baer who cuts to the inside for yardage.
Nick Evans ran the kick off back to the 30. Baer and Curtis went on the offensive but a holding penalty and two incomplete passes stalled the drive and forced a Shiner punt. Shimek's 56-yard boot went to the Tiger 12.
Bracket was flagged for illegal procedure to the seven. A big break came Shiner’s way as the Comanches recovered a Miles Braesicke fumble on the six.
Baer carried three times to the right for, only four yards. On fourth-and-goal, Shiner set up for a field goal but called a time out and sent the offense back out.
This time Baer carried to the left and found the end zone. Shimek’s PAT tied it at 7-7 with 3:58 left in the third.
"Baer was stopped three times on the sweep but he is our man and we had to go to him, this time to the left and he made it," said Cerny.
The fumble recovery and touchdown turned the game around, giving Shiner the momentum.
The Comanche defense was relentless and after a Tiger punt to start the final period, Shiner got the ball on their 36.
That set up the drive that saw Baer hit Evans with the 44-yard toss and Condel’s throw to O’Connor who beat his defender and made a good catch in the end zone. Shimek’s second PAT put Shiner up 14-7 with 9:02 left.
Brackett tried some of their trickery, with fakes, hand-offs, reverses, but the Comanches were waiting. After an incomplete pass, Baer and Pohler pounced on tailback Brand Wylie for a 1-yard loss. Another carry by Wylie came up short and the Tigers faced a fourth-and-three. Brackett coach David Yeager called a fake punt. Talamantes got the call up the middle but the Shiner defense cut him down short of the first down and Shiner took over on Brackett’s 32.
Chase O'Connor tucks in the pass from Kyle Condel for the touchdown that put Shiner up 14-7, as Cody Edwards (20) reacts with disbelief.
Curtis picked up two yards and then Baer ran to the left, cut back inside the defenders, and raced untouched for the touchdown. The PAT put Shiner up, 23 1-7 with 6:38 left.
Brackett would get two more chances but good tackles by Pohler and Kloesel and excellent pass rush and coverage ended the first drive.
The second attempt was cut short by a pass interception by Kloesel and Shiner took their I time with five plays and watched the clock tick off the final seconds.
Cerny said Coach Billy Turek did a great job preparing the defense for the game. "He has been at this a long time and he’s good at making adjustments and getting the kids to execute.
"We knew they were good but we played good defense the whole game, except for a couple of drives. We made some adjustments at the half and we just executed well," said Turek.
After the game, Cerny reminded his players that there are two more games and to stay focused on next week’s game against Big Sandy.
Game time at Floyd Casey Stadium (Baylor) is 7 p.m. Saturday, December 11. Tickets at the gate will be $8 for adults and $4 for students. There will be no pre-sales.
GAME STATISTICS: Shiner Brackett First Downs 11 6 Rushes-Yards 43-167 43-168 Passing Yards 64 31 Comp-Att-Int 2-5-0 2-7-1 Return Yards 45 (-)2 Punts 4-42 5-29 Fumbles-Lost 5-2 1-1 Penalties-yds 3-25 4-20 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing - Shiner, Chris Baer 20-102, Trey Curtis 22-70, Dustin Mayberry 1-(-)5; Brackett, Noe Talamantes 18-97, Brand Wylie 7-54, Charlie Slaughter 1-18, Clyde Adams 3-6, Myles Braesicke 6-5, Mark Kesteloot 2-3, Cody Edwards 1 (-)2, Kody Yeager 5-(-)13. Passing - Shiner, Baer 1-1-0-44, Condel 1-1-0-20, Curtis 0-3-0-0. Brackett, Yeager 2-6-1-31, Wylie 0-1-0-0. Receiving - Shiner, Nick Evans 1-44, Chase O'Connor 1-20; Brackett, Wylie 1-19, Slaughter 1-12. SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 F Shiner 0 0 7 14 -- 21 Brackett 0 0 7 0 -- 7 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter none Second Quarter none Third Quarter B - Brand Wylie 30 run (Kesteloot kick), 8:56 S - Chris Baer 2 run (Scott Shimek kick), 3:58 Fourth Quarter S - Chase O'Connor 20 pas from Kyle Condel (Shimek kick), 9:07 S - Baer 29 run (Shimek kick), 6:38