SHINER - The veer offense has often been called the triple-option, and never has that description more apt than with this season's Shiner team.
Shiner quarterback Garet Pustka, left, and running back Chris Baer have teamed with running back Quentin Wright to rush for 2,397 yards and 38 touchdowns in the Comanches' veer offense. No. 2 Shiner will meet Falls City tonight in a matchup of 8-0 teams. T.C. Baker
Victoria Advocate Staff Photographer
Opponents attempting to figure out a way to defense the Comanches are basically forced to pick their poison.
Shiner quarterback Garet Pustka and halfbacks Chris Baer and Quentin Wright have each compiled impressive statistics, but together they've turned the Shiner offense into an unstoppable force.
The Comanches (8-0, 3-0), ranked No. 2 in the state, have averaged 410 yards and over 37 points per game heading into today's 7:30 p.m. District 30-1A showdown at Falls City (8-0, 3-0).
"All three of them are capable of doing the whole thing on offense," said Shiner coach Steve Cerny. "But the three of them together are a dangerous combination. I don't know what you call that...I guess a triple threat." Shiner's "triple threat" has produced 2,397 yards of rushing and 38 touchdowns, while averaging over nine yards per carry.
"If you look at the carries, they're all pretty even," Cerny said. "We've been mixing it up and there aren't any tendencies."
Cerny admits the veer begins with the quarterback, and he couldn't be happier with the performance of Pustka, a three-year starter, who has managed to avoid the injuries that have plagued him during his sophomore and junior seasons.
"He's so much stronger," Cerny said. "He may be small, but he's so solid and tough to take down. He's very deceiving and packs a lot more punishment than you think."
Pustka has rushed 97 times for 825 yards and 11 touchdowns, and passed for 330 yards and two touchdowns. "As it goes along, we just kind of go with the flow," Pustka said. "We know each other and we're there for each other. The experience we've had with each other over the years helps a lot. It feels like everything is clicking."
Wright has been there with Pustka and Baer for three seasons, although he's playing more offense as a senior than he has the past two seasons.
"I think what's so special about Quentin is his vision," Cerny said. "He makes moves and cuts that are unbelievable. He's just got those instincts."
Wright has 83 carries for 713 yards and 12 touchdowns, and has also proven to be a force at strong safety where he has a team-leading three interceptions with 113 return yards.
"I know what each one of us is capable of doing," Wright said. "I don't have to ask. I think everyone in our backfield scares defenses. We use our quickness and speed to outdo our opponents."
Cerny credits Baer, a junior, with making the biggest improvement from last season.
"He's starting to learn how to run," Cerny said. "He used to just run over people. Now, he's starting to make cuts and use his natural ability. That's one part of the game he's really improved on and it's starting to show up."
Baer has rushed 86 times for a team-leading 859 yards and 15 touchdowns, and has been one of the busiest Comanches, playing middle linebacker and returning kickoffs.
"We've been playing together since seventh grade, so we have a better knowledge of what we're doing," Baer said. "You hit the holes faster when you know what you're doing. It's all peaking right now at the time when we need it."
If Shiner's offense is peaking, opponents could be in trouble. The Comanches have scored a minimum of five touchdowns in seven of their eight games.
"We know that every drive we have the possibility of scoring," Baer said. "This offense is so unpredictable. No defense knows what's coming. We can be going along and we'll break a 20-yard run. That gets us going and we can be unstoppable."
NOTES: Shiner defeated Falls City 38-20 last season. Falls City missed the playoffs when it dropped an 8-7 decision to Louise the next week...Win or lose, Shiner must defeat Flatonia next week to be assured of a playoff berth unless Shiner wins and Flatonia loses to Runge...Shiner is first and Falls City is second in the district in team offense. Falls City is first and Shiner is second in the district in team defense.