Falls City and Shiner have come a long way since their first meeting, but only one of them will go further.
Shiner running back Quentin Wright rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the Comanches' 49-7 win over top-ranked West Sabine last week. Shiner will face District 30-1A rival Falls City in a Class 1A quarterfinal game tonight. T.C. Baker
Victoria Advocate Staff Photographer
Over a month has passed since Falls City treated its home crowed to a 7-0 victory over the Comanches on Halloween night.
The Beavers (13-0) not only clinched the District 30-1A championship, but also evened the series with Shiner (12-1) at two games apiece.
The stakes will be considerably higher when the district rivals square off in a Class 1A quarterfinal game today at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Victoria.
The winner will advance to the semifinals against the winner of Saturday night's Chilton-Bosqueville game, which is being played at Waco ISD Stadium. Neither Falls City coach Mark Kirchoff nor Shiner coach Steve Cerny were bold enough to predict a rematch, but neither is surprised to see it become a reality.
"I figured Shiner would be there," Kirchoff said. "It was just a matter of us getting to them."
"I think we both kind of knew it could come to this," Cerny said. "We just had to take care of our business."
Falls City did what no team had done since 1997, when it the shut out Shiner, breaking a streak of 75 games in which the Comanches had scored. The Beavers limited Shiner to eight first downs and 134 yards of offense and forced three fumbles.
"It will be the same old song, second verse," Kirchoff said. "We'll have to use the same formula to win this game that we used to win the first. We'll have to play good defense and our offense will have to control the ball. I felt like we forced their turnovers in the first game and we'll have to do it again."
Cerny attributes Falls City's success against his team to the pressure it was able to apply at the line of scrimmage, which disrupted Shiner's offense.
"They got penetration and were able to force (quarterback) Garet (Pustka) to make quick decisions and they were also able to force some turnovers," Cerny said. "We had some missed blocks. We've got to execute better and hold our blocks better. They've got a good defensive line, but we've got to win that battle more times than not."
Shiner won just about every battle as it shellacked top-ranked West Sabine 49-7 in last week's regional playoff.
The Comanches' veer offense produced 373 rushing yards, including a 201-yard, two-touchdown performance by running back Quentin Wright.
"That was the best our guys have played all year," Cerny said. "It's hard to sustain that level, but the good thing is we are playing Falls City and our kids know they beat us. Besides, this is what you work for all year."
Falls City has become more of a running team since relying on the pass the past two seasons. Running back Joe Theis has rushed for 798 yards and 12 touchdowns in the playoffs, after gaining 777 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns during the regular season.
Theis rushed for 96 yards and scored the lone touchdown in the Beavers' win over Shiner.
"We've gotten a lot better," Kirchoff said. "We've evolved real well as a football team. We've played well and our offense has been rolling. We've found a way to win games. We're pretty pleased with where we are."
Shiner and Falls City will find out how much they've improved since their first meeting, but only one team will have a chance to get better.
"There's not going to be a lot of secrets," Kirchoff said. "We know Shiner will be physical, will play great defense and has great speed. They're not going to beat themselves. We're going to have to beat them."
"They beat us the first time, there's no doubt about that," Cerny said. "But we knew if we did a good job, we might get a second shot. Everybody likes second chances."
NOTES: Shiner will be the home team and its bench will be on the press box side of the stadium...Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students...The game will be broadcast on KAML, 990 AM, and simulcast on KTXM, 99.9 FM, and KYKM, 92.5 FM.