Shiner is well aware of what it's up against in West Sabine.
Shiner quarterback Garet Pustka has the Comanches pointed in the right direction as they take on top-ranked West Sabine today at 7:30pm in Katy. T.C. Baker
Victoria Advocate Staff Photographer
The Comanches are making their fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs since being reclassified from Class 2A to 1A, and they have been eliminated twice by Burkeville, which is a District 25-1A opponent of the Tigers.
The task gets no easier when Shiner (11-1) and West Sabine (11-0) square off in a regional contest today at 7:30 p.m. at Rhodes Stadium in Katy.
The Tigers have nine starters on offense and 10 starters on defense back from last year's team that advanced to the quarterfinals and they have been ranked No. 1 in the state all season.
"Once it gets to this point, there are nothing but good teams left," said Shiner coach Steve Cerny. "You've got to play mistake-free and be on top of your game."
The Comanches were upended by Burkeville in the 2000 quarterfinals and 2001 regionals and lost to Thorndale in the regional round last season. Shiner had a pretty good idea it would meet West Sabine in this season's regionals after dropping a 7-0 decision to Falls City to finish as the runner-up in District 30-1A.
The Comanches set up the matchup by rolling to a 48-2 bi-district win over D'Hanis and a 35-0 area win over Ben Bolt.
West Sabine had a bi-district bye before walloping Bartlett 56-14 in area.
"We kind of expected it and it did fall into place," Cerny said. "You're going to have to play the best teams if your ultimate goal is to win state. If you don't win, you fall short either way."
Cerny sees a lot of similarity between his squad and West Sabine, which doesn't run a true veer offense, but like Shiner, lines up in a split backfield. "They are a lot like us," he said. "They have good size and a lot of speed. They're real balanced. They run multiple defenses and multiple offenses. They're good on both sides of the ball."
The Comanches have averaged over 36 points per game, while limiting opponents to an average of less than eight points per game. Shiner quarterback Garet Pustka and running backs Quentin Wright and Chris Baer have combined to rush for 3,311 yards and 48 touchdowns.
"We've worked on some things since we lost to Falls City and corrected a few details and added a few things," Cerny said.
"You'll have two good teams going at it."
If Shiner can get past West Sabine, it would advance to the quarterfinals and get another shot at Falls City or Burkeville, who play tonight at A&M Consolidated in College Station.
"We do have a little bit more experience than we've had," Cerny said.
"These guys have come to this game, but they haven't won. Maybe we can get over the hump and win the big game."
NOTES: The game will be broadcast on KTXM, 99.9 FM.