Shiner Gazette
Second effort gives Shiner second chance at state

December 11, 2004

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Second effort winner
Chris Baer's second effort got him into the end zone with 25 seconds left to secure the Shiner Comanches' chance for a second trip to the Class 1A state championship game this weekend. The Comanches will take on Stratford in Wichita Falls this Saturday.
all photos by Shiner Gazette
When the Comanches needed two yards for the win with just seconds left in the game, there was no doubt who would get the call. Coach Cerny relied on his leading rusher and scorer, Chris Baer, to bring home the Class 1A semifinal win.

Baer, who took the hand off from Trey Curtis, was met at the line of scrimmage by several tacklers but with a great second effort, twisted, pulled clear and fell across the goal line. His 2-yard touchdown run gave Shiner a 21-17 win over the Big Sandy Wildcats at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.

The win sends Shiner to the state championship game for the second consecutive year. The Comanches lost to Windthorst last year and this year they will face Stratford, a 34-31 winner over Windthorst in their semifinal.

"Chris is always going to give that extra effort and he did again. He makes those kinds of plays," said Cerny.

The winning touchdown capped a 93-yard drive that started with just 4:16 left in the game. Half of that yardage came on a 46-yard pass from Baer to Nick Evans on the first play of the drive.

Evans was head-to-head with the defender when he made the catch but couldn't keep his balance and fell on the Big Sandy 47-yard line.
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Chase O'Connor splits two defenders on his way to the end zone for Shiner's first touchdown in their win over Big Sandy.

"I stayed with the ball," he said. "I got tripped up with the defender's legs causing me to lose my balance," said Evans. Had he been able to keep his footing, he would have had an easy touchdown.

"I don't know if that was the longest I have thrown but I threw it as hard as I could," said Baer.

With 47 yards to go and time running short, Baer carried three times for a first down to the 37. Shiner recovered its own fumble on the 33 and after an incomplete pass, Baer followed his blockers for a 17-yard gain to the 16 and another first down.

Baer carried again for five yards to the 11 but the Comanches were flagged and lost five back to the 16. With the offensive line clearing the way, Baer carried again for another first down to the 5. But the Shiner running back went down, having the wind knocked out of him and left the field with one minute left.

Shiner ran two plays and got only three yards to the two.

Baer came back in with less than 30 seconds left and no time outs. The big running back wasn't going to be denied and with a big second effort got the ball across the goal line.

Scott Shimek's kick gave Shiner a 21-17 lead.
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Chris Baer makes his cut to gain yardage as two Wildcats wait to make the tackle. Baer rushed for 114 yards in the state semi-final win over Big Sandy.

Coach Cerny said they had talked all week about being mentally tough and never quitting. "Our kids never quit and once we crossed the 50 we suddenly knew we had a chance and Chris made a great run."

With 25 seconds left Big Sandy still had a chance of a comeback but Shimek's short bouncing kickoff was bobbled and Shimek was on the spot to cover the loose ball and ice the win.

"I wasn't expecting the fumble but when I recovered it, it put the icing on the cake," he said smiling.

Shiner had to overcome eight fumbles and one interception and their string of miscues started on the first play of the game when Nick Evans fumbled the kick off and Big Sandy recovered on the Comanche 25.

Good defense and a penalty pushed the Wildcats back to the 30, but on third down Vincent Montgomery connected with Deroderick Strickland for a 30-yard touchdown. Jerry Tennison kicked the PAT and Big Sandy was on the board with less than two minutes into the game.

Baer had a good run-back on the ensuing kick off but Shiner was stopped on downs and had to punt.
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Nick Evans (9) and Ryan Kloesel (28) go for the pass interception as the Big Sandy receiver gets beat on the play. Evans came away with the pick in second quarter action.

Four plays later Shiner got a break, recovering a fumble at midfield. Curtis carried twice and then threw a strike to a wide open Chase O'Connor over the middle for a 41 yard touchdown.

Shimek missed the PAT but with 5:58 left in the first quarter, both teams had scored.

A 41-yard kick off return by Curtis Marsh to the Shiner 45 set up the Wildcats second touchdown. On the second play of the possession, Strickland scored on a 43-yard reverse. The kick by Tennison upped Big Sandy's lead to 14-6.

Shiner responded with an 88-yard kick off return by Evans for a touchdown. A good block by Baer opened a hole for Evans' race to the end zone.

A pass from Curtis to Baer in the end zone tacked on the 2-point conversion and tied the game at 14-14 with still a third of the quarter to go.

But that would be all the scoring until the fourth quarter as the defenses took over and controlled the game.

Shiner threatened early in the second quarter, driving to the Big Sandy 28 but turned the ball over on downs.

On their next possession Shiner reached the Big Sandy 38 with a 16-yard pass from Curtis to Bucky Boehm. But then Montgomery picked off a Curtis pass only to have Evans return the favor with a pick of Montgomery's aerial.
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Scott Shimek scrambles for the loose ball and beats Vincent Montgomery for the recovery. Shiner's Kevin Berger (57) and Big Sandy's Andree Smith (51) come in on the play. The fumble recovery set up Shiner's first touchdown.

Once again Shiner drove to the Wildcat 17, highlighted by a 29-yard run by Baer. Another miscue thwarted the Comanche effort with Big Sandy recovering a fumble on their 19.

The second half started where the first half ended - with good defense and Shiner miscues.

The Comanches fumbled in the third quarter with no damage but gave the Wildcats a scoring opportunity early in the fourth period on a fumbled punt by Baer. Big Sandy recovered on the Shiner 7-yard line but had to settle for a 22-yard field goal as the Comanche defense again stepped up.

With 7:20 left in the game Big Sandy led 17-14.

With momentum on their side the Wildcat defense held Shiner, forcing a punt, but the Comanche defense responded likewise with Dustin Pohler sacking Strickland for a 5-yard loss on third down, forcing a punt which carried to the Shiner 7-yard line.
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Shiner receiver Bucky Boehm (22) pulls in a Trey Curtis pass and braces for impact from two Big Sandy defenders. The reception was good for a first down.

Shiner's trip to the state championship game was 93 yards away and only 4:16 left. But as Coaches Cerny and Turek have said so often, "The kids never quit, they put out a great effort till the end."

The Comanches did just that on their last drive, marching to the end zone with the Baer-Evans connection, blocking of the offensive line, great execution and Baer's do-or-die two-yard run.

When asked if there was a question on whether to go for the touchdown on third down or tie with a field goal, Cerny said they had everything in order to try the field goal if Baer's run failed.

"Everybody had their assignments and we figured we could get on the field and make the kick in the seconds we had left," he said.

"I'm really proud of our kids for hanging in there. They could have quit but it's to their credit they stayed with it despite the mistakes," said Cerny.

"We won the field positions throughout the game but didn't capitalize. We weren't consistent, we played in spurts. It was not our best overall effort of the year," he said.
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Shiner defenders Scott Shimek (44), Dustin Pohler (60), Nick Evans (9) above, and Ryan Kloesel (28) right, prepare to attack the Big Sandy offensive set.

"I think it was the hype and excitement of the game, but everybody stepped up when needed in this game.

Defensive coach Billy Turek said Shiner played a good game against a good ball club. "We made mistakes but we overcame them. We played hard.

"After that first quarter we started tackling better and made our adjustments and we just fought hard."

Except for the 43-yard touchdown run by Strickland, the Wildcats were held to just 87 yards rushing on 43 carries, a mere two yards per carry.

The Wildcats had to punt eight times in the game and lost one of three fumbles and threw one interception.

Shiner had 142 yards rushing with Baer picking up 114 on 20 carries. Curtis picked up 16 yards, Kensley Wright 11 and Ryan Kloesel one.

Shiner also had 125 yards passing with Baer completing one for 46 yards and Curtis completing three for 79 yards.
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Jared Boedeker holds the Class A SemiFinal trophy as the Comanches kneel down and bow heads for the post-game prayer after their victori over Big Sandy.

O'Connor had two receptions for 79 yards, Evans and Boehm one each for 46 and 16 yards, respectively.

Brandon McCleveland led Big Sandy with 79 yards on 23 carries. Strickland had 36 yards on five carries.

Montgomery completed three passes for 56 yards.

Saturday's championship' game will be played at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls. Game time is 6 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and $5. Shiner will be the home team.


                  Shiner    Big Sandy

  First Downs     11        8
  Yards Rushing   34-142    44-130
  Yards Passing   125       56
  Passing         4-11-1    3-5-1
  Punts           4-31.5    8-30
  Fumbles-Lost    8-4       3-1
  Penalties       2-10      6-40


  Rushing - Shiner, Chris Baer 21-118; Kenzley Wright 5-10;
      Ryan Kloesel 1-2; Trey Curtis 15-(-3).
    Big Sandy, Brandon McCleveland 24-69; Deroderick Strickland 4-32;
      Braylon Johnson 3-15; Vincent Montgomery 8-9; Curtis Marsh 6-5.

  Passing - Shiner, Curtis 3-9-1 80; Baer 1-2-0 46.
    Big Sandy, Montgomery 3-5-1 55.

  Receiving - Shiner, Chase O'Connor 2-64; Nick Evans 1-46;
      Bucky Boehm 1-16.
    Big Sandy, Zach Massingill 1-30; Strickland 2-25.


             1   2   3   4      F
 Shiner     14   0   0   7  -- 21
 Big Sandy  14   0   0   3  -- 17


  First Quarter
     BS - Deroderick Strickland 30 pass from Vincent Montgomery (Jerry Tennison kick), 10:14
     S  - Chase O'Connor 42 pass from Trey Curtis (kick failed), 5:58
     BS - Strickland 43 run (Tennison kick), 4:57
     S  - Nick Evans 88 kickoff return (Chris Baer pass from Curtis), 4:42

  Second Quarter

  Third Quarter

  Fourth Quarter
     BS - Tennison 22 field goal, 7:20
     S  - Baer 2 run (Scott Shimek kick), :25.2

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