SHINER - Without the slightest bit of sarcasm or hyperbole Steve Cerny said his team has fumbled the football more than any team in America.
Shiner junior Austin Remmers rusn through defensive drills with Michael Lawrence on Monday. photo by Kaitlin Keane, Victoria Advocate
Injuries might have played some role, but the bigger concern to Cerny is holding onto the football going into Shiner's heavily anticipated district opener against No. 1 Ganado.
Shiner's 33 fumbles are the biggest reason the Comanches are 2-4. From center-quarterback exchange, to being taking a strong hit to mesh point exchange Cerny said his team has put the ball on the ground in every way imaginable.
"We have shot ourselves in the foot over and over," Cerny said. "Yes, we have played a tough non-district schedule, but if we cut our turnovers in half we should be above .500 right now."
Losses to Schulenburg and Weimar were by a possession, while in the season opening 20-7 loss against Industrial, the visiting Cobras scored their final touchdown after a Comanche interception.
Injuries and inexperience have combined to throw off the timing of the Comanches veer offense. Running back Evil Jones has a knee injury and will not play Friday. Meanwhile sophomore quarterback Jacob Stafford's introduction to the position at the varsity level has been against teams with a combined .612 winning percentage.
Stafford is a linebacker defensively and plays special teams so he rarely comes off the field. While that determination and effort inspires teammates, it prevents the first-year starter from receiving in-game coaching to eliminate some of the offensive miscues.
"We know he is going to give it all he has so we block as hard as we can every play," said Shiner right tackle Derek Duke about Stafford. "It doesn't matter who is back there, we will block for him."
To Duke it is simple, if his team plays hard things will eventually turn around. He added backups and others have stepped up to fill voids caused by injuries.
Marlon Wallace is one who has picked up his game. The senior running back is not going to let a minor injury stop him from taking the field against the Indians.
"I told myself I am going to have to step it up for my team," said Wallace, who has run for 271 yards and a touchdown. "I run hard, but I had to step up and have that mindset of helping the team."
The Class of 2012 knows this is its last shot to win Shiner's third state championship. Wallace said a victory over the favored Indians would create an opportunity to win District 15-1A Division 1 and perhaps more.
Though Shiner has not played flawless football in the first month of the season, Wallace said tight games against Industrial, Schulenburg and Weimar have hardened his team.
"We've fumbled any possible way you can imagine," Cerny said. "But it's a new season. We are 0-0 and we have zero fumbles."