GEORGETOWN - Shiner held Junction running back Dustin Stapp to 140 fewer yards than he ran for last week against La Villa, but the Comanches couldn't stop him from running for three touchdowns and leading the Eagles to the Class 1A, Division I semifinals.
Stapp finished the game with 216 yards rushing as Junction ended Shiner's season with a 21-14 Class 1A, Division I quarterfinal win at the Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex on Friday.
"My coach told me just to believe and keep running hard," said Stapp, who has now rushed for 2,561 yards on the season. "It was going to take patience against Shiner because they have a great defense. I knew that I was going to have to settle on some short gains, and try to get the big runs too. It gets tougher every week, but we really came out here and played hard."
Junction advances to play the winner of today's Alto-Mart game being played at 7:30 p.m. in Corsicana.
Shiner (9-2) saw its season end for the fourth consecutive season in the third round of the playoffs. The Comanches were held to 81 total yards of offense in the first half, and went into halftime trailing 14-0.
"Their defensive line did a great job of getting a push on us in the first half," said Shiner head coach Steven Cerny, whose team finished with 261 yards in the game. "They had a great scheme and crashed the corners really hard. We never could get past that in the first half until we started making some adjustments after halftime.
"We knew that if we just kept plugging away that we could probably wear them down, but unfortunately we were never able to get past them."
The Comanches broke through in the third quarter on their first possession after forcing the Eagles to punt. Shiner quarterback Matthew Hibbs capped a 51-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, but the extra point was missed to take the score to 14-6 in favor of Junction (10-3).
The two teams would fall into a field possession battle with a sequence of punts, but it looked as if Shiner would be the winner of the battle. The Comanches found themselves knocking on the door with the ball inside the Eagles' 10-yard line, but Hibbs was picked off by Junction's Ashton Thomas at the goal line to give the Eagles the ball back and take away Shiner's momentum.
"We had a chance right there but they came up with the play," Cerny said. "It turned into a one receiver route with our back getting taken out, so we didn't have all the options we would have liked on the play. Matthew just tried to make a play and put it where our guy could get it, but it just went the other way."
Stapp would seal the win for the Eagles a couple of plays later by taking a handoff down the visitor's sideline 79 yards to give Junction a 21-6 lead with 3:55 remaining.
"We kept doing what we've been doing all year long," said Junction head coach Cory Spivey, whose team fumbled six times but only lost possession once "Our offensive line did an outstanding job, and when we needed it there in the fourth quarter, our line did a great job of breaking Dustin on his run."
Hibbs finished off a 53-yard drive late in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run, but an onside kick failed and the Eagles finished the game with three kneel downs.
Hibbs led the Comanches with 83 yards rushing on 13 carries, while Adam Kalich ran for 65 yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an injury. Josh Greathouse ran the ball 14 times for 60 yards, while Drew Stafford led the team with two receptions for 32 yards.
"We are in our first year of this and our kids believe," Spivey said. "If you play with a lot of heart and you believe, then you can do a lot of things. Our kids have that belief right now."
GAME STATISTICS: Junction Shiner First Downs 11 13 Yards Rushing 20-240 40-214 Yards Passing 20 47 Comp-Att-Int 2-4-0 4-12-1 Punts-Avg 6-30.8 4-39 Fumbles-lost 6-1 2-2 Penalties-yards 2-10 5-45 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 F Junction 7 7 0 7 -- 21 Shiner 0 0 6 8 -- 14 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter J - Dustin Stapp 15 run (Ashton Thomas kick), 4:40 Second Quarter J - Stapp 42 run (Thomas kick), 1:58 Third Quarter S - Matthew Hibbs 2 run (kick failed), 7:08 Fourth Quarter J - Stapp 79 run (Thomas kick), 3:55 S - Hibbs 1 run (Hibbs run), 1:47 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing - Junction, Dustin Stapp 28-216; Kyle Wimberley 10-33; Jason McKinnerney 2-(-9). Shiner: Matthew Hibbs 13-83; Adam Kalich 11-65; Josh Greathouse 14-60; Drew Stafford 2-6. Passing - Junction: McKinnerney 2-4-0 20. Shiner: Hibbs, 4-11-1 47. Stafford, 0-1-0 0. Receiving - Junction: Ashton Thomas 1-12; Brad Sandlin 1-8. Shiner: Stafford 2-32; Trent Rabke 1-13; Greathouse 1-2.
Wes Bloomquist is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6509, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.