Shiner vs. Ben Bolt
Class 1A, Division I Bi-District Playoff
Today, 6:00pm, Harlandale Stadium, San Antonio
Steven Cerny wasn't happy when starting quarterback Kyle Condel broke his right wrist in last Friday night's game agains, Flatonia, but the Shiner coach wasn't exactly surprised.
Condel's injury was the latest in a long line of maladies that have befallen the Comanches this season. In addition to Condel, Shiner has lost Kevin Patek, D.J. Pustka, Michael Cowan and Dalton Henley to season-ending injuries and all except Pustka were two-way starters.
But the string of misfortune hasn't stopped Shiner (6-4) from gaining a share of the District 31-1A championship or advancing to today's 6 p.m. Division I bidistrict playoff game against Ben Bolt (6-4) at San Antonio's Harlandale Stadium.
"I have to give the kids a lot of credit," Cerny said. "Every time something's happened, they've rallied back and somebody's stepped up."
Shiner overcame a rugged start and a district loss to Pettus and won its last four district games, including a playoff clinching 42-7 win over Flatonia, where running back Dexter Mayberry, who has finally recovered from a severe ankle sprain, rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Cerny gives much of the credit for the Comanches' recent success to the defense, which under the direction of defensive coordinator Billy Turek has yielded only seven points in the four wins.
"Early in the year we were seeing a lot of speed and that has helped," Cerny said. "It helped us get quicker on defense and it also showed us we needed to be more physical. We've been a lot more aggressive lately and swarmed to the ball."
Cerny has also moved players in from the junior varsity to the varsity so he could continue to two-platoon as much as possible.
"Remarkably with all the injuries, we've still managed to have most of our players way," Cerny said. "That's been a big plus for us. We're fresher in the second half than most of the teams we play"
Shiner defeated Ben Bolt 16-0 in last season's bi-district playoff. Cerny expects the Badgers, who finished second in District 32-1A, to be very similar to last year.
"They're real aggressive." Cerny said. Their strength is in their defense. They're so quick."
Sophomore Matthew Hibbs took over at quarterback for Condel against Flatonia. Hibbs started at quarterback on the junior varsity last season and has played in the secondary this season.
"One thing we've done is run two huddles so Matthew got a lot of reps," Cerny said. "It's just the games where he hasn't got the experience. We'll stay with the same approach."
The Shiner-Ben Bolt winner will advance to regional round against Brackett, which had a bye in the bi-district round.
The regional game has already been set for Saturday, Nov. 25. at 6 p.m. at New Braunfels Canyon. ... The Shiner-Ben Bolt game will be broadcast on RYKM, 92.5 FM.
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.