SHINER - Falls City's B.J. Sixto found himself in an unusual position Friday night. The Beavers' junior quarterback was sacked 11 times and was pressured constantly for three quarters as the Shiner defense sparked the Comanches to a 38-20 victory over the Beavers in a key District 30-1A matchup at Comanche Stadium.
The victory clinched a playoff berth for the eighth-ranked Comanches, who improved to 8-1 on the year and 4-0 in district. Falls City dropped to 7-2, 3-1.
Shiner's defense had entered the contest without having allowed a point in three district ballgames. Even though the Beavers ended that streak with just under five minutes to play in the first quarter, the Comanches' defense shut the Beavers down time after time.
"The main thing was we didn't give them any big pass plays," said a jubilant Shiner defensive coordinator Reggie Morgan after the contest. "For the most part, we did a great job containing him in the pocket and got a lot of sacks and hurries out of it. But you have to give them credit. They never quit. A lot of teams will shut it down after they get behind like that."
Sixto was sacked five times in the first half as the Comanches built a 20-7 halftime lead. The defense didn't let down in the second half, either, dropping Sixto for a loss on six occasions in the third quarter alone as well as scoring a touchdown. In fact, the Comanches took control of the game having run only one offensive play to start the second half.
Falls City took the second half kickoff and moved from its 42 to the Shiner But on fourth-and-10, Shiner's Robbie Pavelka was all over Sixto, dropping the Beavers' quarterback for a 10-yard loss.
The Beavers were flagged for offsides on the Comanches' first play, before Eric Murphy took a handoff from quarterback Garet Pustka, blasted up the middle and raced past the Beavers' secondary for a 50-yard touchdown.
On the Beavers' next possession, Chris Baer sacked Sixto for a 4-yard loss on the first play and then just missed picking off a Sixto pass on the ensuing play. Sixto was as unfortunate on his next try. Under heavy pressure from the Comanches, Sixto's pass was picked off by Baer and Baer raced untouched 21 yards for a touchdown and a 32-7 Shiner lead.
"That's the most pressure I've been under all season," said Sixto. "I was trying to make my reads as quickly as possible and tried to get rid of the ball, but they were coming from everywhere."
Despite the heavy pressure, Sixto still managed to turn in a fine performance himself. He paced the Beavers with 133 yards rushing on 23 carries and threw for 233 yards on 20-of-47 passing. He also scored all three of the Beavers' touchdowns.
"He did a great job competing," said Beavers coach Mark Kirchoff. "He did a great job down the stretch and never let up. In fact the whole team played hard until the end."
Despite the strong effort, it was not enough for the Beavers who knocked off the Comanches last season 23-18 to claim the district's top playoff spot.
The Comanches jumped out early as Baer finished off the opening drive in just three plays with a15-yard scamper. R.J. Lester's extra point made it 7-0.
Falls City got a break on their opening possession when the Comanches fumbled the punt and Chris Balser recovered a the Shiner 43 for Falls City.
Eleven plays later, facing fourth-and-17 at the 28, Sixto was flushed from the pocket and found running room down the left side for a touchdown. Jim Ed Baugh's point after tied the game with 4:47 left.
Shiner then opened up a 13-point lead in the second quarter, taking advantage of some key penalties.
Baer, who paced Shiner with 137 yards on 13 carries, hit pay dirt again with 5:32 left in the half on a 29-yard scamper and a 13-7 edge.
The Shiner defense pinned the Beavers back near their own end zone on the ensuing drive with a fourth-and-16 at the 4. Baugh got off a 40-yard punt, but the Beavers were flagged for interference of a fair catch and the Comanches took over at the 29.
Four plays later, Pustka broke several tackles on a 17-yard scoring run with 1:30 left in the half.
"We did an excellent job of keeping our legs going and running the ball," said Shiner head coach Steven Cerny. "And you have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line; they went up against some pretty big boys out there."
After their two scores in the third quarter, the Comanches all but put the game away with 8:29 to play.
The Shiner defense came through again as a Josh Burchell sack led the way.
Falls City had moved from the Shiner 46 to the 11. But two incomplete passes and Burchell's sack forced a fourth-and-18. Sixto's pass to Derek Strum fell incomplete in the end zone and the Comanches took over.
Shiner drove the field and, on fourth-and-goal at the 3, Pustka hooked up with Quentin Wright on his lone reception of the night for a touchdown.
Sixto added scoring runs of 8 and 6 yards, the last coming on the final play of the game, but it wasn't enough.
"You have to give a lot of credit to coach Morgan's game plan and the players executing it," said Cerny. "This is not a real easy offense to prepare for."
GAME STATISTICS Falls City Shiner First Downs 6 18 Yards Rushing 28-111 25-342 Yards Passing 25 91 Passes 5-17-2 4-7-0 Punts 5-31.6 1-37 Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-1 Penalties-yards 2-25 1-5 Falls City 7 0 0 13 -- 20 Shiner 7 13 12 6 -- 38 SCORING DETAILS First Quarter S - Chris Baer 15 run (R.J. Lester kick), 10:46 F - B.J. Sixto 28 run (Jim Ed Baugh kick), 4:47 Second Quarter S - Baer 29 run (pass failed), 5:32 S - Garet Pustka 17 run (Lester kick), 1:30 Third Quarter S - Eric Murphy 50 run (kick failed), 9:40 S - Baer 21 interception return (kick failed), 8:19 Fourth Quarter S - Quentin Wright 3 pass from Pustka (kick failed), 8:29 F - Sixto 8 run (Baugh kick), 6:19 F - Sixto 6 run (no extra point), 0:00 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING: Falls City - B.J. Sixto 23-139; Chris Balser 10-25, Joe Theis 1-(-3). Shiner - Chris Baer 13-137, Steven Evans 3-16, Garet Pustka 11-44, Quentin Wright 1-26; Eric Murphy 9-77. PASSING: Falls City - Sixto 20-47-2-233, Brandon Moczygemba 0-1-0-0. Shiner - Pustka 1-5-0-3. RECEIVING: Falls City - Derek Strum 9-116, Moczygemba 5-59; Theis 3-32, Matt Kiska 2-18, Joey Wiatrek 1-5. Shiner - Wright 1-3.