SMITHVILLE - Down 14-0 in the third quarter against Holland in the area round, Shiner rallied to tie the game.
But the Hornets responded by scoring two touchdowns of their own to get past the Comanches, 28-14, Friday night at Smithville's Tiger Field.
Holland improves to 12-0 and will face Shiner's District 2A-15-D1 opponent Ganado in the regional round.
Shiner kept Holland out of the end zone for over a quarter and half before the Hornets buzzed one in with just over two minutes left in the first half.
"We did some really good stuff on defense to start the game. We held them to one touchdown in the first half and Holland averages around 40 points a game," Shiner head coach Daniel Boedeker said. "We knew Holland was going to score some points as they have a really good offense."
Holland took a 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the third box before Shiner answered later in the quarter and then took advantage of a missed Hornet field goal to tie the game at 14-14 early in the fourth.
"Once we were able to get rolling in the second half, we put together some drives and got back in the game. It just did not work out for us at the end," Boedeker said. "Kids worked their tails off this year to even have a chance to make it to this game. Proud of their effort; just disappointed in the end result."
The Comanches will lose 10 seniors to graduation - Tahj Brooks, Jordan Harrison, Trace Bishop, Cale Shows, Kaidan Boothe, Kyle Muehlstein, Kyle Kramer, Colton Winkenwerder, Pat Egan and William Stock.
"We are going to miss their leadership. They have been in the program all the way through and took on their roles," Boedeker said. "We are going to have to replace some really good players. We will also miss them as people. They are really good people."
Shiner closes 2023 with a 5-7 overall record, 4-2 and third place in district, bi-district champions and area-round finalists.
"We had to go through a lot of adversity. I am proud of the way they responded every week," Boedeker said. "We had so many injuries and had to move some people around. We ended up getting into the playoffs and that was huge. A lot of people take for granted how hard it is to get to this spot. Our kids really responded and put together a good season. The record did not show it but they improved every week and were fun to coach."
The Hornets got a spark when they took the third-quarter kickoff all the way to the Shiner 33. Five plays later, Tyler Johnson scored on a 20-yard sweep for a 14-0 lead at the 9:42 mark.
Shiner closed the gap to 14-7 with a 75-yard, 14-play drive. Three straight runs by Bishop of 3,8 and 5 yards got Shiner to the 41. Carson Schuette then had a quarterback keeper for 5 for a first down at the Shiner 46 and Bishop had a 10-yard run for another first down to the Hornet 44.
The Comanches made it down to the Holland 29 and Schuette found an open Quincy Jones near the goal line but Jones could not hang on to the pass.
Schuette dropped back to pass on a 4th-and-9 play at the 29 and ended up scrambling for a first down to the 13 to keep the drive going. Two plays later, he hit Kye Adamek for a 10-yard pass to bring Shiner within 14-7.
The Hornets used Christian Michalek, Desi Cantu, Ryan Steglich, Trey Grinnan and Jared Garcia to move the ball from their 39 all the way to the Shiner 4 before backing up on a penalty and then a negative rush.
Holland elected to try for a 28-yard field goal but the ball went just a little to the right.
On the first play of the next drive, Bishop gained 9 to his 29 but the Comanches later faced 4th-and-2 at their 28; Bishop took a toss, followed his blockers to the first-down marker and kept on going, racing 72 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 following the extra point.
A flag on the first play of the next Holland drive gave them 1st-and-21 at their own 29 before Cantu found Michalek for a 65-yard screen pass. This led to a 3-yard touchdown by Jared Garcia following a Shiner penalty.
The Hornets forced a turnover-on-downs at the Shiner 49 on the next drive and went 49 yards on eight plays, scoring on a 10-yard run by Garcia with 3:49 left to play.
Shiner got all the way to the Hornet 36 on the next drive, converting two fourth downs in the process but missed on their third fourth-down conversion attempt at the Holland 41 as the Hornets defended an end-around pass by Boe Boehm with less than a minute to play.
The first three possessions of the game ended in punts. Late in the fourth quarter, Cantu fumbled the ball forward and Shiner's Barrett Shelton got on top of it at the Holland 46. Shiner was unable to capitalize and a couple of punts followed until Holland started at its own 5, got a massive 28-yard rush by Gavin Cruz on the second play to his 35 and Tyler Johnson later got a 28-yard pass from Cantu to the Shiner 26. Grinnan capped the drive a few plays later with a 4-yard run out of the wildcat with 2:13 left in the first half.
GAME STATISTICSHolland 28, Shiner 14 Class 2A, Division 1, Area Playoff Game Friday, November 17, 2023, 7:00 p.m. Tiger Stadium, Smithville SCORING SUMMARY 1 2 3 4 F Shiner 0 0 7 7 -- 14 Holland 0 7 7 14 -- 28 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter no score Second Quarter H - Trey Grinnan 4 run (Jose Arzola kick), 2:13 2Q. Third Quarter H - Tyler Johnson 20 run (Arzola kick), 9:42 3Q. S - Kye Adamek 10 pass from Carson Schuette (Bode Werner kick), 4:45 3Q. Fourth Quarter S - Trace Bishop 72 run (Werner kick), 10:38 4Q. H - Jared Garcia 3 run (Arzola kick), 9:02 4Q. H - Garcia 10 run (Arzola kick), 3:49 4Q. TEAM STATISTICS: Shiner Holland First downs 14 17 Rushes-yards 43-244 40-223 Passing yards 49 121 Passes 4-17 4-10 Penalties-yards 7-47 6-70 Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1 Punts-aver 4-35.25 2-45.0 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing S: Trace Bishop 23-161, Carson Schuette 10-50, Quincy Jones 6-19, Jordan Harrison 2-7, Bode Werner 2-6, Kyle Muehlstein 1-1. H: Gavin Cruz 10-79, Trey Grinnan 7-40, Tyler Johnson 4-34, Jared Garcia 5-27, Christian Michalek 5-22, Ryan Steglich 5-14, Desi Cantu 4-7. Passing S: Schuette 4-15-0-49, Bishop 0-1-0-0, Boe Boehm 0-1-0-0. H: Cantu 4-10-0-121. Receiving S: Werner 2-1, Bishop 1-38, Kye Adamek 1-10. H: Michalek 2-73, Johnson 2-48.
Mark Lube is the sports editor for the Shiner Gazette.
Contact him at 361-594-3346 or email@example.com