SHINER - Drew Stafford had a strong wind at his back and the hopes of Shiner on his shoulders.
Drew Stafford threw a touchdown pass and kicked two field goals, including the game-winner with 3 seconds left, in Shiner's 20-18 District 27-1A win over Louise. photos by Frank Tilley, Victoria Advocate
Shiner was trailing Louise 18-17 when Stafford lined up for a 46-yard field goal attempt with 8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter last Friday night in Louise.
"I was thinking about my kicking coach in Fort Worth," Stafford said of former Dallas Cowboys kicker Chris Boniol. "I was just going over every little detail, especially on a far kick like that. You have to check the wind before you kick, everything's got to be square on your lineup and you just really, really got to be perfect."
The snap from Tyler Forest was right on target and Wesley Patek got the hold down without flaw and Stafford's kick cleared the bar with 3 seconds on the clock lifting the Comanches to a 20-18 win in the District 27-1A opener for both teams.
"We knew he could make it," Shiner coach Steven Cerny said. "Even in pre-game he was making them and he was accurate. He really looked good in warm-ups. He's been getting better each week.
"A kicker is not going to make them all. You expect them to but even the pros and colleges miss them. We knew that was our best odds. You can throw a Hail Mary up there and that's not even a 50 percent chance. With him kicking the odds are up there around 80 or 90 because he has the leg to do it and the wind was behind him. We had a lot of confidence in him."
Stafford had kicked a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter and had thrown a 17- yard touchdown pass to Curtis Shields and added the extra point for Shiner's other scores.
Cerny was hoping to give Stafford another shot after Louise had taken the lead on a 26-yard pass from Clint Berrera to Trey Koudela with 1:27 left.
"My main objective in the whole thing, I made a couple of decisions to run the ball and people probably thought what is he doing, but I wanted to get in field goal range," Cerny said. "If we think he's within distance and we have an opportunity to get points, we're going to utilize him."
Shiner's game-winning drive had its share of anxious moments. The Comanches were penalized for illegal procedure and Stafford completed a pass to Shields for a first down on fourth-and-eight to keep the drive alive.
"It was kind of hectic," Shields admitted. "We got in the huddle and we didn't know what to think and we all had our heads jumbled. We ended up calling a timeout and coach Cerny helped us kind of get our minds right and back in the mode of the game."
Stafford and Shields hooked up again for 10 yards and Stafford spiked the ball after a Josh Greathouse run to put them in the middle of the field.
"We were not near as focused on that drive until we called the timeout," Stafford said. "We kind of got our heads back on the swivel and basically went in and got the first down and put us in position for the kick."
Stafford's fourth field goal of the season sent Shiner (6-1, 1-0) into Friday night's showdown against Ganado (4-2, 1-0) with a new-found sense of confidence.
"It will help us when we get under pressure," Shields said. "It will help us to keep our minds right and be confident because we know we can pull it off."
Here's the winning 46-yard field goal in real time and slow-mo
on YouTube ... thanks to Patrick Roller of Shiner for providing
Sony HD HandyCam footage of the play recorded on the sidelines:
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at email@example.com.