SHINER - Shiner coach Steven Cerny found out what kind of player Matthew Hibbs was when he was a sophomore. Cerny learned what kind of a teammate Hibbs was when he was a junior.
Matthew Hibbs, left, will get his chance to direct Shiner coach Steven Cerny's veer offense this season. photo by Mike Forman, Victoria Advocate
Hibbs stepped in at quarterback as a sophomore when starter Kyle Condel was hurt in the final district game of the 2006 season.
Hibbs helped Shiner defeat Flatonia to win the district championship and went on to lead the Comanches to the Class 1A, Division I quarterfinals.
"It wasn't so much being amazed, I just really liked the way he handled himself," Cerny said. "He's a pretty energetic guy. He's a lot like his dad. He just bounces around. That's what we look for when you run the veer. You've got to have somebody who's steady. He doesn't get excited or get down and he keeps his composure. So we knew a quality quarterback was there and it was just a matter of when he got his chance."
Hibbs returned to the secondary as a junior with Condel back for his senior season. Hibbs didn't complain and filled in for Condel at quarterback when he missed the second game with an injury.
"That's just part of athletics," Cerny said. "You've got to wait to get your chance and, when you've got someone who is a great athlete in front of you, there's not much you can do about it. In this case, he just kind of had to bide his time."
Hibbs' wait is over and the fate of Shiner's veer offense this season will be in the hands of the 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior.
"You just have to stay calm," Hibbs said. "You're going to make mistakes. It's just a matter of if you're going to let that affect you on the next play. If you dwell on your mistakes, it's going to come back and bite you. A real big part is being able to shake off those mistakes and moving on to the next play."
Hibbs has already proven his ability to run the veer offense, which he's been doing since playing quarterback in junior high.
"We just know everything there is to know about the veer," Hibbs said. "When you get up to the varsity, you really have the experience of seeing it all. The only difference is a little quicker pace. After running it over, over and over again, it becomes like muscle memory. You know exactly what to do at the right time."
Cerny has no doubt Hibbs' time has come to be the Comanches' starting quarterback.
"We just knew with his quickness he would fit our scheme with the veer," Cerny said. "We don't care about a tall athlete, we're looking for that guy who is just quick and can keep his composure and run the offense.
"The biggest difference right now is he's put on some weight," he added. "It's not so much in the pounds, it's just he's bulked up a little bit and I think he's really going to add to his game. I think he's going to be a lot stronger runner. It's not so much flash and dash, he's going to be able to bring a little punch to it. With the veer, it helps to be strong."
Shiner quarterback Matthew Hibbs on running the veer offense
"You just have to stay calm. You're going to make mistakes. It's just a matter of if you're going to let that affect you on the next play."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.