Matthew Hibbs' value to the Shiner Comanches is not as evident on the stat sheet as it is in the win column.
Hibbs didn't ring up impressive numbers last week. But the sophomore, making just his second start at quarterback, led the Shiner Comanches to a 22-19 win over Brackett in a Class 1A, Division I regional playoff to earn the Advocate Athlete of the Week award.
Hibbs ran 15 times for 104 yards and tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass. Two playoff starts, two playoff wins.
"My first start was a playoff, so it was very scary," Hibbs said. "The coaches helped me a lot and the team had a lot to do with it by encouraging me a lot. My team was always there for me. That made it better and, as the game went along, I lost the nerves.
"It's been a great experience," he added. "The team is there for me. I wasn't ready for this. It came to me, but it's been great to go this far in the playoffs."
Shiner coach Steve Cerny isn't surprised that Hibbs has thrived at the position in the playoffs.
"We push our kids on both sides of the football and we put pressure on the them in practice because you never know when you will get called," Cerny said. "He's a competitor and he works hard. He doesn't like losing. He has experience on defense, but he's more of an offensive player than a defensive player. It's just a matter of executing on offense. When you are a competitor, your true ability is going to come out and he's not afraid to take on a challenge.
"I think he gets that from his dad," the coach added. "Sports are important to his dad and his sisters were real good athletes. I can't explain it. Some people are born with it. I think most coaches like the competition and the challenges presented by sports. I can see his dad as a coach if he wasn't a Baptist minister."
Hibbs acknowledges the influence of his father, Kenny, the pastor of the Shiner Baptist Church.
"I think that's a big part of it," Hibbs said. "My dad isn't afraid of anything. I definitely get that from him. He does everything 100 percent."
Hibbs is enjoying the whole playoff experience as well as looking forward to Saturday's 6 p.m. regional quarterfinal showdown against Iola at Austin's Burger Center.
"I'm still enjoying this and I'll enjoy it as long as I'm in it," he said. "It's a good feeling. It's a little scary to have to control the offense and have everyone looking up to me, but there are a lot of people that are helping me out.
"At the beginning of the year, I wasn't really thinking quarterback," Hibbs added. "Now that I've done it, I'm getting comfortable with it and I'm liking it. It wasn't my first choice, but I like it a lot now that I have some experience and I've played a game."
The best part for Hibbs is trying to measure up to the challenge.
"I love the playoff intensity," he said. "When you lose, you go home. If you win, you keep going. It keeps you on your toes and you have to work harder and harder each week.
"I love having to step up and meet a challenge," Hibbs added.
Bill Hatch is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6509, or by e-mail at email@example.com.