Shiner coach Steve Cerny said it often. "When you go against a super team it's the one who makes the least mistakes that comes out the winner."
Chris Baer picks up yards before being brought down by a strong tackle. In addition to leading Shiner in rushing yardage, Baer was instrumental on the defensive side of the ball, getting three sacks and making several good tackles. (all photos by Shiner Gazette)
Such was the case last Friday at Victoria's Memorial Stadium when the Shiner Comanches took advantage of an early Falls City turnover to take a quick 7-point lead and the momentum to a 16-14 quarterfinal victory over the Beavers.
The win advances Shiner to the state semi-final against Chilton, a 52-24 winner over Bosqueville.
The game is set for 7 p.m. this Saturday at Round Rock ISD Stadium.
Friday's game against Falls City was a rematch of the district rivals' early meeting won by Falls City, 7-0.
When asked if his team was out for revenge, Coach Cerny said, "not really. We just knew we had to play our best to beat them.
"They have a super club. It was a slugfest right down to the wire, just what we expected," he said.
Quentin Wright sweeps to the left and picks up yardage before Joe Theis (12) brings him down. In pursuit is Rudy Garza (59).
"We had to play mistake free and had to play a perfect game."
The Comanches had no turnovers and had no penalties in the game. Shiner fumbled three times but recovered all three and gave Falls City no breaks.
Shiner's defense stopped the Beavers cold in their tracks on the ground, allowing only four yards rushing.
"It was a good win," said defensive coordinator Billy Turek. "We moved the ball well and had a good defense which wins games. They have a good team," he added.
Tbe defensive battle went on for three quarters from both sides, before Garet Pustka broke loose to open the final period to give Shiner a 13-0 lead.
After the Beavers scored on a 37-yard pass play, Ryan Kloesel kicked a field goal to put Falls City down by two scores late in the game.
The defense set up Shiner's first score on Falls City's opening possession from their 20. On third-and-ten, quarterback B.J. Sixto dropped back to pass but got hit by Trey Curtis, who came on a blitz, knocking the ball loose.
Steven Evans picked up the loose ball and stumbled into the end zone. However, he was ruled down inside the 1-yard line.
Garet Pustka then sneaked across for the score. Ryan Kloesel split the uprights and Shiner grabbed a 7-0 lead with only 37 seconds elapsed in the game.
Trey Curtis (12) hits quarterback B.J. Sixto in the first minute of the game, causing a fumble which was recovered on the Beaver 1-yard line setting up Shiner's first score. At left is Brady Strauss coming in to cover the play.
The Beavers put the ball into play from their 22 and were stopped by the Shiner defense.
Running back Joe Theis was stopped on three carries with Chris Baer making two solo tackles. Sixto went to the air twice but Jared Boedeker was on the spot to take down Brandon Moczygemba on a third down pass to force a punt.
The Comanches marched from their 27 to the Beaver 32 before a pitch to Evans lost 10 yards and Shiner had to punt.
Falls City picked up two first downs on a pass to Travis Culpepper and a 34-yard run by Theis to the Comanches 41. But the drive faltered with good tackles by Brady Strauss and Baer and good pass defense by Casey Coleman.
Following another Shiner punt, the Beavers moved the ball to the Shiner 31 before consecutive sacks by Strauss and Boedeker pushed the Beavers back to the 45 and another punt,
Shiner running back Chris Baer (10) makes a move around the end against a Falls City defender assisted by Steven Evans (7).
The Falls City defense was just as stingy and Shiner had to punt. Another stand by the Comanches, highlighted by Strauss and Jeremy Burchell, stopped the Beaver offense.
With 1:22 left in the half, the Comanches drove to the Falls City 21, but failed on a fourth down as time ran out.
The third quarter was a defensive battle on both sides.
The Comanches keyed on Theis, allowing him only minimal yardage. Baer had two sacks in the period. Boedeker, Kloesel and Evans all had good tackles and Coleman broke up a pass on third down.
Shiner got possession with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. Baer carried three times but came up inches short and Shiner faced a fourth down.
Pustka, who seemed to be stopped on the fourth down snap, broke away and picked up the first down on his second effort. The quarter ended with Shiner on the Falls City 24.
Pustka took the first snap of the final period, broke through the left side of the line and scrambled into the end zone. The kick failed but Shiner upped their lead to 13-0.
A view of the Shiner sideline as the Star Spangled Banner is played by the Shiner High School Marching Band before kickoff.
"Garet made a great play, picking up the first down and then had that outstanding run for the score," said Cerny.
When asked who threw the block to spring him loose, Pustka said, "the whole team!"
With time being a concern and down by two touchdowns, the Beavers went to the air. A screen to Theis picked up a first down to the Comanche 37.
Burchell's pass rush and Evans breaking up a pass had Falls City facing a fourth-and-ten.
When it seemed that Sixto would again be brought down for a loss, he found Derek Sturm wide open with a 37-yard touchdown strike. The PAT was good.
Baer gave the Comanches good field position with a 25-yard kick off return to the 44.
Baer then carried to the Beaver 47 and Quentin Wright got a first down to the 45. The Comanches then converted a key 3rd-and-8 with a Pustka to Nick Evans pass for a first down on the 13.
The Comanches then worked their way to the five but facing a fourth down, Cerny chose to go for a field goal. Kloesel's kick was true giving Shiner some insurance points with 6:32 left in the game.
The Victoria Memorial scoreboard testifies to Shiner's victory over Falls City on Friday night.
Sixto then executed a 72-yard drive, completing five passes to Joey Wiatrek and Derek Sturm, capping the drive with a 1-yard run for the score. The drive took less than two minutes and the Beavers closed the gap to 16-14.
Following the kick off, Shiner put the ball into play from their 22, Baer carried three times and picked up a first down by inches. Another three running plays left 1:49 on the clock.
Facing a fourth down and inches on his 41-yard line, Cerny elected to punt away.
"Facing such a good defense and we having a super punter, our best bet was to punt and make them go the length of the field," he said.
Evans booted the ball to the Beaver 17 with 1:36 left.
Two back-to-back penalties set the Beavers back to their 7. A pass to Wiatrek and one to Sturm got them out of the hole to the 28 and a first down.
Turek's defense then did what had to be done to preserve the win.
Steven Evans (7) and Clayton McCorkle team up to sack quarterback Sixto for an 8-yard loss in the final minute of the game. Two plays later, Evans had another sack inside the Beaver 20-yard line.
Clayton McCorkle and Evans sacked Sixto. Coleman broke up a pass and Evans dropped Sixto for another loss.
Sixto's fourth down pass attempt was broken up by Kloesel and Shiner's playoff run was secured.
Coach Cerny gave a lot of credit to Falls City. "The line of scrimmage controls so much of the game. This is the best defensive line we've gone against all year. They are very strong from end to end and you have to go to the sweep to get away from their strong middle."
Cerny was asked if he got concerned when Falls City started moving the ball in the fourth quarter. "I was concerned from the start, all the way. Every play meant so much. Any little mistake could make or break the game."
There were so many crucial plays in the contest -- the key third down plays, Pustka's second effort, the blocking of the offensive line, the clutch field goal -- any of which could change the course of the game.
The defense was the key to the victory. Holding the Beavers to only four yards rushing, the never-ending pressure on the quarterback and excellent punting by Steven Evans kept the Beavers away from Shiner's goal line.
Chris Baer sacks Falls City quarterback Brian Sixto (6) for a big loss.
The first and last minute of the game showed Shiner's determination not to lose this one.
Chris Baer, who rushed for 77 yards on 21 carries, was all smiles after the game saying, "It's great but we have to win the next two."
As for his quarterback sacks, he said, "when Coach Turek calls for a blitz, I get in quick to make the play."
Baer did a masterful job getting through the middle of the Beaver line to their quarterback
Adding to the offensive output of the Comanches were Quentin Wright with 56 yards on 15 carries, Pustka with 10 carries for 28 yards and Steven Evans for 4 yards on 2 carries.
Pustka's one completion was to Nick Evans for a crucial first down.
Shiner QB Garet Pustka (1) attempts a pass while pursued by a Falls City defender.
Sixto was accurate on 16-of-29 pass attempts for 245 yards. Sturm caught six of his throws for 95 yards.
Shiner will again be tested this Saturday against Chilton. The word is that Chilton has speed and quickness.
Chilton has outscored its opponents, 427-133 in regular season play.
Playoff record includes wins over Oakwood, 52-0, Wortham, 34-13, Union Hill, 40-21 and Bosqueville, 52-24.
Shiner's defense will again have to play a solid game from the first minute to the last.,
GAME STATISTICS Falls City Shiner First Downs 11 11 Yards Rushing 24-4 51-158 Yards Passing 248 30 Passes 16-29-0 1-4-0 Punts 6-30.8 6-37.6 Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0 Penalties-yards 6-30 0-0 Rushing - Falls City, Joe Theis 12-41; B.J. Sixto 12-(-37). Shiner, Quentin Wright 14-63; Garet Pustka 11-19; Chris Baer 24-72; Steven Evans 2-4. Passing - Falls City, B.J. Sixto 16-29-248-0. Shiner, Garet Pustka 1-3-30-0; Steven Evans 0-1-0-0. Receiving - Falls City, Derek Sturm Joe Theis 6-97; Derek Sturm 3-46; Brandon Moczygemba 1-8; Joey Wiatrek 4-64; Steven Creswell 2-33. Shiner, Nick Evans 1-30. SCORING SUMMARY Falls City 0 0 0 14 -- 14 Shiner 7 0 0 9 -- 16 SCORING DETAILS First Quarter S - Garet Pustka 1 run (Ryan Kloesel kick), 11:23 Second Quarter no score Third Quarter no score Fourth Quarter S - Garet Pustka 24 run (kick blocked), 11:52 FC - Derek Sturm 37 pass from B.J. Sixto (Jim Ed Baugh kick),10:01 S - Ryan Kloesel 22 field goal, 6:32 FC - B.J. Sixto 1 run (Ed Baugh kick), 4:41