SHINER - Shiner quarterback Garet Pustka delivered a message of caution when he spoke at a pep rally for the team before its 7-6 win over Boling.
"Everybody knows we're ranked high," Pustka said. "But we still have to practice our hardest and play our hardest. You can't take things for granted."
Shiner’s quarterback Garet Pustka has been one of the keys to the Comanches' early success this season. The Comanches, ranked No. 3 in Class 1A, visit Weimar today.
Victoria Advocate Staff Photographer
Pustka knows from personal experience how quickly one's fortune can change. He began his sophomore and junior seasons as the starting quarterback only to suffer injuries in both season openers that kept him on the sideline until district play.
Pustka is proud of the Comanches' 3-0 record and No. 3 ranking in the Associated Press' Class 1A state poll heading into today's game at Weimar, but he is also aware that fame can be fleeting.
"Staying healthy is one of my goals," Pustka said. "But I also want to guide the team and get us together and make sure we pay attention to what we need to be focused on."
Shiner coach Steve Cerny has been pleased with his team's focus in its wins over Class 2A Poth, Schulenburg and Boling. But he has cautioned his players about looking too far into the future. Cerny has reminded the Comanches of what happened to Falls City last season, when it was upset by Louise on the final week of District 30-1A play and knocked out of the playoffs.
"You can't get caught up at looking at the big picture," Cerny said. "It can sneak up on you and you can be in trouble."
Cerny knows the Comanches were fortunate to prevail against Boling after playing without four starters, including running back/strong safety Quentin Wright.
"Somebody was looking out for us," Cerny said. "But I'll tell you what, Steven Evans did a great job of punting and when you force a high school team to go a long way, a lot of things can happen."
The Comanches also overcame a 300-yard rushing performance by Boling running back Carlton Waddy, who reached the end zone only once. Cerny gives much of the credit to Billy Turek, Shiner's former head coach, who came out of retirement to become the defensive coordinator.
"We pulled off some miracles," Cerny said. "But once a team gets inside the 20, he (Turek) just seems to come alive and work some magic."
There's no hocus pocus to Shiner's offense, it's the same veer the Comanches have run for years, with a few new wrinkles.
"We're going to look for the run first and if we see something open, we'll go to the play-action pass," Cerny said. "We throw enough to make teams respect it."
Shiner has done a lot of damage with its running game. Pustka has rushed 408 yards and five touchdowns and running back Chris Baer has added 246 yards and three touchdowns.
"The whole key in running the veer is patience," Cerny said. "It may not be there early but once you find the correct blocking schemes, you can adjust to what they're doing."
With very few teams still running the veer offense, opponents have a difficult time preparing for Shiner.
"It does make it difficult to get ready to play us," Cerny said. "We also do so much with our defense that you can't just prepare for our offense."
Shiner's ability to prepare for each opponent could determine how long it plays this season.
"We have a lot of skill people back and some good people on the line," Cerny said. "But we can't take things for granted. We can't get caught up in being ranked. I don't think you can look too far down the road."