The road to the state championship is nearly wide open for the Big Sandy Wildcats, but just one more speed bump stands in the way.
The Wildcats will try to earn a berth in the state championship for the first time since 1975 when they face Shiner on Saturday in a Class A state semifinal at Baylor's Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Big Sandy (11-3) is coming off a 10-0 shutout of district rival Harleton last week in the quarterfinal round at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. The loss was Harleton's second of the year, with both coming at the hands of Big Sandy, which won the first tilt, 23-14, in District 19-A play.
The Wildcats forced five Harleton fumbles and recovered four, including a loose pigskin on their own 2-yard line to prevent Harleton from scoring.
Big Sandy's sophomore running back Brandon McCleveland paved the way for the Wildcats, rushing 20 times for 114 yards and the only touchdown of the game - a 9-yarder six seconds into the second quarter.
Jerry Tennison booted a 34-yard field goal with 2:38 left in the fourth quarter to extend Big Sandy's lead.
"It was a team win today," said Big Sandy head coach Scott Callaway following the win. "The kids played with a lot of heart. Our defense gave up some yards, but we made big plays when we needed them."
Big Sandy will need to perform several big plays to oust Shiner from the playoffs. The Comanches, who were ranked No. 1 in the state in the final Associated Press Top 10 Poll, have only allowed more than nine points twice after 14 games.
Shiner pulled out a 32-31 win over Class 2A Universal City Randolph, which lost to then No. 1 Rogers in the playoffs. Shiner allowed 14 points from district opponent Pettus, but the Comanches finished the game with a 36-14 victory.
The Comanches are averaging 38.8 points per game so far this season, and have recorded six shutouts.
The winner of Saturday's game will play either Stratford or defending state champion Windthorst in the title bout, which is set to take place at a time and location to be determined.
Game Notes: Saturday's game will be broadcast on KTBB AM-600 out of Tyler. To get to Floyd Casey Stadium, take Highway 31 West to Waco. From 31, get on I-35 South. Exit Valley Mills off 35 and go one mile. Floyd Casey will be on the right.