BEEVILLE -- Ray Gates wasn't overly impressed with the way he played against Benavides.
The Shiner running back was so nonchalant that he didn't disagree when his performance was described as just another day at the office.
"Yes," Gates said. "I guess you could say that."
It's a good bet a routine day for most people doesn't include running for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, throwing a touchdown pass and returning an interception for a touchdown as Gates did in the Comanches' 35-6 Class 1A area playoff victory over the Eagles on a windy Friday at Trojan Stadium.
No. 1 Shiner improved to 12-0 and advanced to the regional playoffs against the winner of Friday night's High Island-Milano game. Benavides ends the season at 5-5.
Shiner's next game will be vs. High Island at John Rhodes Stadium in Katy on Friday, December 1, at 7:30pm.
Gates, who carried 14 times for 164 yards, scored on runs of 68 and 30 yards, threw a touchdown pass of 10 yards to Jason Kaspar and returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown.
"Ray did a good job of running the ball," said Shiner coach Billy Turek. "We rely on him a whole lot."
Two of Gates' scores and his touchdown pass came in the second half when Shiner turned a close game into a runaway.
"We felt like we didn't play our best in the first half," Gates said. "But we got a lot of motivation from the seniors and did a lot better job in the second half."
Shiner had 254 yards to Benavides' 74 at halftime, but led only 14-6 after losing a fumble and being penalized twice on another potential scoring drive.
"They really weren't stopping us," Turek said. "We moved the ball, but had the fumble and the penalties."
Gates had his first touchdown run on Shiner's second play from scrimmage. Gates took a handoff from Travis Wright, broke through the left side of the line, cut to the sideline and raced 68 yards for the score.
Wright passed to Eric Murphy to give Shiner an 8-0 lead with 11:05 left the first quarter.
Shiner made it 14-0 with 49 seconds remaining in the opening quarter on a 72-yard run by Murphy, who had 135 yards on only seven carries.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Benavides ran a handoff that allowed Eric Perez to race 75 yards to the Shiner 10-yard line.
Two plays later, quarterback Raymond Ramirez threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Robert Lopez to bring the Eagles within eight.
"We had it going and that kickoff return hurt us," Turek said. "But they weren't moving the ball against us and when we scored first in the second half that kind of broke their back."
Shiner, which had the wind in the third quarter, got into position following a fumble recovery by Jason Kaspar at the Benavides 16.
Facing a fourth-and-four from the 10, Wright handed to Gates, who tossed to a wide-open Kaspar in the end zone.
"That was a new play," said Gates, who has now thrown three touchdown passes this season. "We just put that one in and worked on it this week."
A Brett Siegel interception set up Gates' 30-yard touchdown run and, after Kaspar had picked off Shiner's second pass, Gates completed the scoring with the Comanches' third interception.
Shiner limited Benavides to three first downs in the second half, two of which came on the Eagles' final possession.
"We did a pretty good job on defense," Turek said. "I know a lot of people around town looked at their record and thought it would be easy. But any win at this stage is all right."
SCORING DETAILS: Shiner 14 0 14 7 -- 35 Benavides 0 6 0 0 -- 0 First Quarter S -- Ray Gates 68 run (Eric Murphy pass from Travis Wright), 11:05 S -- Murphy 72 run (run failed), :49 Second Quarter B -- Robert Lopez 10 pass from Raymond Ramirez (kick blocked), 11:54 Third Quarter S -- Jason Kaspar 10 pass from Gates (kick blocked), 4:59 S -- Gates 30 run (Gates run), 2:34 Fourth Quarter S -- Gates 31 interception return (Kyler Johnson kick), 5:32 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing - Shiner, Ray Gates 14-164; Eric Murphy 7-135; Travis Wright 13-18. Benavides, Eric Perez 19-72; Ruben Perez 10-22; Oscar Goodwyn 2-1; Rene Ramirez 1-0; Phillip Vela 1-0; Albert Aguilar 2-(-2); Raymond Ramirez 5-(-24). Passing - Shiner, Wright 3-5-0 33; Gates 1-1-0 10. Benavides, Ra. Ramirez 6-14-3 79; Re. Ramirez 1-1-0 23. Receiving - Shiner, Jason Kaspar 2-24; Murphy 2-19. Benavides, Robert Lopez 3-25; Humberto Garcia 2-51; Perez 2-26.
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