ROUND ROCK - Shiner coach Steve Cerny knows you ride the horse that got you there. The Comanches' horse, though, turns out to be a Baer.
Shiner's Chris Baer (10) tries to elude a Chilton defender during Saturday night's Class 1A regional playoff game at Round Rock's Dragon Stadium. photos by Kerri Besio, Victoria Advocate
Senior running back Chris Baer rushed for 236 yards and contributed to all three of Shiner's touchdowns to help the top-ranked Comanches dispose of No. 4 Chilton for the second consecutive year 24-7 on Saturday night at Dragon Stadium in a Class 1A regional playoff game.
Shiner (13-0) moves on to the quarterfinals where it will face Brackett next Saturday at 6 p.m. at a site in San Antonio to be determined. Chilton ends its season at 11-2 after losing to Shiner last season in the playoffs 47-39.
"There's no doubt, he was tired," Cerny said. "It's that time of year that you have to lean on people. If you're going to make it, there's no choice."
Baer put Shiner on the board with a soaring 31-yard halfback pass to Bucky Boehm down the right sideline on its second possession of the game, then added an 8-yard scamper behind excellent blocking to put Shiner up 14-0 before Chilton could even record a first down. He iced the game by breaking two tackles and dashing into the end zone from 78 yards out with 3:52 left in the fourth.
Shiner defensive back Nick Evans, left, and Chilton receiver Josh Landrum go up for a pass during Saturday night's Class 1A playoff game at Round Rock's Dragon Stadium. Shiner won 24-7 to advance to play Brackett.
But Baer and the offense didn't dictate the game as they did in this matchup last season. The Comanches' defense caused Chilton to turn the ball over four times on downs, three on interceptions and once on a fumble. The Pirates were 2-for-6 on fourth-down conversions.
"I think defensively, too, we set the tone for field position," Cerny said. "We really played well early. They had a couple of drives, but we were always able to come up big in the red zone, and that was really clutch."
After Shiner allowed only four total yards of offense in the first quarter, Chilton took its first drive of the second quarter down to the Shiner 6. But on a fourth-and-1, fullback Lamar Simpson was stuffed by the front four of the Shiner defense.
"They're good," Chilton head coach Lucky Gamble said. "We get inside the five and we can't get in. We can't make six inches one time. ... They're just more physical than us up front."
Chilton came back with another long drive, this one starting from its own 29. But with a first-and-goal from its 6 and less than a minute left in the half, Shiner forced Chilton quarterback Justin McCormick to throw three straight incomplete passes -- the last a well defended jump ball in the corner of the end zone.
Chris Baer celebrates after his 78-yard touchdown run.
"The same thing happened last year," Cerny said. "It was almost identical. They came off the field on fourth down and I said, 'Remember last year, we came up with a big play last year and turned the momentum our way.'"
Shiner did allow Chilton's Travis Landrum to break free in the second half. The 15-year-old running back gained only 12 yards in the first half before racking up 129 in the second, including a 43-yard dash that put the Pirates within six points in the third quarter.
"I think he started pounding the ball," Landrum . That's not to say he wasn't in the first half. I think he wore us down a bit. When he outsizes you like that, it's easy to tell a guy to go stick him in the chest, but it's just not going to happen."
As time ran down, Chilton turned to its passing game and got nothing. McCormick missed on all nine of his pass attempts in the second half and finished with 12 straight incompletions and two second-half interceptions by Kevin Berger, sending Chilton home again at the hands of the Comanches.
GAME STATISTICS: Chilton Shiner First Downs 11 12 Rushes-Yards 36-185 35-311 Passing Yards 50 31 Comp-Att-Int 4-19-3 1-5-0 Punts 3-34.7 3-42.3 Fumbles-Lost 2-1 4-2 Penalties-yds 4-30 5-45 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing - Chilton, Travis Landrum 20-142, Josh Landrum 1-8, Justin McCormick 9-0, Corey Potts 4-4, Lamar Simpson 5-(-2). Shiner, Chris Baer 21-236, Trey Curtis 14-28, Dustin Mayberry 6-36. Passing - Chilton, McCormick 4-19-3-52. Shiner, Baer 1-2-0-32, Curtis 0-3-0-0. Receiving - Chilton, Simpson 1-11, Josh Landrum 2-36, Travis Landrum 1-3. Shiner, Bucky Boehm 1-32. SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 F Chilton 0 0 7 0 -- 7 Shiner 7 7 0 10 -- 24 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter S - Bucky Boehm 32 pass from Chris Baer (Scott Shimek kick), 5:48 Second Quarter S - Baer 8 run (Shimek kick), 11:30 Third Quarter C - Travis Landrum 43 run (Victor Flores kick), 6:25 Fourth Quarter S - Shimek 33 field goal, 9:22 S - Baer 78 run (Shimek kick), 3:52