SAN ANTONIO - A shaking leg is all that stood between Shiner and disaster Saturday at the Alamodome.
Instead the Comanches used their third goal-line stand to escape with a 20-14 win over the DíHanis Cowboys in a Class 1A bi-district playoff.
The pivotal play came with 3:05 left in the game and the Comanches clinging to their six-point lead at the Shiner 6. On a fourth-and-goal, Eric Estrada took the ball and was hit in the backfield. He shed two tacklers and made for the goal line.
However, Ryan Spann grabbed his leg while he furiously shook it at the 2 until a trio of Comanches led by R.J. Lester arrived to finish off Estrada and save the day
"I hung on for dear life," said Spann. "I knew it was do or die. I knew I had to hang on,because if I didnít, Iím a senior and this would be my last game."
Watching Estrada break free in the backfield was chilling to Lester. He said, "Thank God somebody grabbed his leg. I just thought I have to get there. Grabbing his leg gave us time to get there, because he would have walked into the end zone."
Spann added, "It was a very long time to wait."
That play reflected the best and worst in the game for Shiner. It showed the sloppy tackling but it also showed that Shiner refused to be beaten.
Estrada rushed for 175 yards on 21 carries as the Cowboys (7-3) compiled 305 yards of offense but were frustrated three different times by the Shiner defense. The Comanches (10-1) got 347 yards from their offense.
After Shiner lost a fumble on the second play of the second half, D'Hanis scored om kist fove [;aus pm a 7-yard run by Estrada with 9:12 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
Shiner instantly responded by driving 52 yards in 11 plays to Score on a 6-yard run by Steven Evans with 4:00 left in the third quarter. The conversion kick by R.J. Lester failed but the Comanches had a 20-14 lead.
DíHanis came right back and drove from its 35 to the Shiner 11, but this time the Comanche defense came up with the big play to stop the Cowboys with 11:55 left in the game.
Shiner then tried to run out the clock and was successful until quarterback Garet Pustka had a pass picked off and returned 29 yards to the Comanche 33 with 6:35 left. In five plays, the Cowboys reached the Shiner 5, only to have the Comanche defense come up with a big play on second down and throw Estrada back on second down for a 3-yard loss.
That set the fourth-and-six play that nearly saw Estrada score. Defensive coordinator Reggie Morgan said he sent everybody because he was expecting a pass.
"We had him in the backfield and he squirmed out of that," he said. "We didnít tackle well in the game. "But we survived," added Morgan. "We had some great big plays and we gave up some great big plays."
A goal-line stand sparked Shiner to its first touchdown after DíHanis dominated much of the first quarter, attacking with sweeps and then hitting between the tackles.
That got the Cowboys up and down the field and even to the Shiner 7 but the defense held.
The Comanches then embarked on a 93-yard scoring drive. Quentin Wright had a key 10-yard run for a first down and caught a 27-yard pass on a slant. That set up Eric Murphyís 59-yard scoring run with 6:38 left in the half. When Murphy turned the corner, there was no one there. Estrada came from across the field to catch Murphy at the 5 but he just carried the Cowboy into the end zone. Lesterís conversion kick failed.
A fired-up Shiner defense then pushed the Cowboys back from the DíHanis 36 to the 24 but a face-mask penalty gave them new life. DíHanis took advantage and went 64 yards in 12 plays to score on a 10-yard pass from Brandon Weimers to Arnold Gomez. Cruz Gauna added the conversion for a 7-6 lead with 2:02 left in the half.
Shiner responded by going 61 yards in just 74 seconds. The big play was a 36-yard pass from quarterback Pustka to Evans on a slant. Evans was hit by Estrada and Mitchell Rothe at the 8, but somehow slipped their grasp and shed both tacklers to score with 49 seconds left in the half. Wright ran in the conversion for a 14-7 lead.
Before the half ended, Lester picked off a halfback pass by Kyle Clary and Pustka had a pass picked off in the end zone by Weimers.
Before the interception, Pustka had completed seven straight passes.
Shiner advances to play Woodsboro in Edna on Friday, November 22nd at 7:30pm.GAME STATISTICS D'Hanis Shiner First Downs 10 16 Yards Rushing 37-243 40-226 Yards Passing 62 121 Passes 6-9-1 8-11-1 Punts 1-26 1-40 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1 Penalties-Yards 5-35 3-30 DíHanis 0 7 7 0 -- 14 Shiner 0 14 6 0 -- 20 SCORING DETAILS First Quarter none Second Quarter S -- Eric Murphy 59 run (kick failed),6:38 D -- Arnold Gomez 10 pass from Brandon Weimers (Cruz Gauna kick), 2:02 S -- Steven Evans 36 pass from Garet Pustka (Quentin Wright run), 0:49 Third Quarter D -- Eric Estrada 7 run (Gauna kick), 9:12 S -- Steven Evans 6 run (kick failed), 4:00 Fourth Quarter none INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing -- D'Hanis, Eric Estrada 21-175, Mitchell Rothe 4-43, John McCauley 3-16, Brandon Weimers; Shiner, Eric Murphy 10-95, Garet Pustka 17-75, Quentin Wright 10-42, Steven Evans 10-42. Passing -- D'Hanis, Brandon Weimers 6-9-0 62 yards, Kyle Clary 0-1-1 0, Shiner, Garet Pustka 8-11-2 121 Receiving -- D'Hanis, Eric Estrada 3-19, Arnold Gomez 2-26, Ryan Santos 1-17; Shiner, Steven Evans 3-52, Quentin Wright 3-42, Casey Coleman 2-27.