SAN ANTONIO - Shiner head coach Steven Cerny warned his team the whole week that Brackett's offense revolves around misdirections.
Shiner running back Chris Baer breaks free of the Brackett defenders on the way to his second touchdown during Saturday's game at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio. photos by Howard Esse, Crossroads Legal Video
But with the game on the line, the Comanches gave the Tigers some deception of their own to remember in their Class 1A quarterfinal match on Saturday night.
With nearly 12 minutes left in a 7-7 game and the ball on its own 36, Shiner pulled off a Chris Baer 44-yard halfback pass to Nick Evans to set up the winning touchdown as the top-ranked Comanches pulled out a 21-7 victory over Brackett in front of 2,398 fans at Alamo Stadium.
"We thought it was open early because they were coming up quick on play support," Cerny said. "It's something we've been successful with this year. Chris has a great arm and we work it a lot. It's one of our plays. You've got to have luck, too."
Two plays later, quarterback Trey Curtis perfected an end-around to freshman lefty Kyle Condel, who led Chase O'Connor with a 20-yard pass into the end zone.
"I've been telling him his time is going to come one day," Cerny said. "I did that from the beginning of the season and he delivered in the clutch. I'm happy for him and I'm happy for our team."
Shiner (14-0) will now face Big Sandy (11-3), a 10-0 winner over Harleton on Saturday, in a Class 1A semifinal next week at a time and place to be determined. No. 2 Brackett finished its season at 12-1.
Shiner receiver Chase O'Connor hauls in a touchdown pass from Kyle Condel to give Shiner a 13-7 lead over Brackett.
The highly touted matchup did not disappoint as both teams went back- and-forth with few shifts in momentum.
Shiner held Brackett from crossing its 30 in eight of the Tigers' 12 total drives, while Brackett countered by holding the Comanches offense to one significant drive in the first two quarters.
That drive ended on the Brackett 10 when quarterback Trey Curtis took a sneak up the middle and coughed up the ball. The play cost the Comanches six points but gave them confidence down the stretch.
"The best thing that happened in that first half is that we had that drive that we fumbled because it got into our kids' heads that they know they could have success against them," Cerny said.
The Tigers got on the scoreboard on their first drive of the third quarter after a Brand Wylie end-around from 30 yards out.
But Brackett's next series proved to be the turning point of the contest. After a Shiner punt pinned the Tigers at their own 10, Brackett fullback Miles Braesicke fumbled the ball away to the Comanches.
On a fourth-and-goal from the 2, Shiner set up to attempt a short field goal, only to call time out and put the offense back on the field. The decision proved key as Baer took a pitch to the left side for Shiner's first score.
Shiner defensive back Kevin Berger dives for a touchdown-saving tackle on a Brackett runner during third quarter action Saturday at Alamo Stadium.
After Condel's pass gave the Comanches the lead, Brackett gambled but wasn't as lucky as Shiner. Facing a fourth-and-3 from its own 30 and down by seven points, Brackett head coach David Yeager called a fake punt, but Shiner stuffed the middle and stopped Noe Talamendes, Brackett's leading rusher, a yard short.
"I just thought we had to roll the dice," Yeager said. "I called it from the sideline and I thought we had a little bubble there. They just stuffed us. They probably were expecting it, but we didn't know if we were going to get the ball back. ... We didn't come this far not to take a gamble every now and then."
"We were expecting it," Shiner defensive lineman Clayton McCorkle said. "We had watched film on them. ... We knew they could use it at a critical moment and we just prepared for it."
Baer iced the game two plays later with a 29-yard dash to paydirt, and Ryan Klosel capped the night with an interception in the last two minutes to end any comeback attempt by the Tigers.
"It's not getting easier," Cerny said. "There's going to be a new No. 2 next week. Everybody's playing for a state title."
GAME STATISTICS: Shiner Brackett First Downs 11 6 Rushes-Yards 43-167 43-168 Passing Yards 64 31 Comp-Att-Int 2-5-0 2-7-1 Return Yards 45 (-)2 Punts 4-42 5-29 Fumbles-Lost 5-2 1-1 Penalties-yds 3-25 4-20 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing - Shiner, Chris Baer 20-102, Trey Curtis 22-70, Dustin Mayberry 1-(-)5; Brackett, Noe Talamantes 18-97, Brand Wylie 7-54, Charlie Slaughter 1-18, Clyde Adams 3-6, Myles Braesicke 6-5, Mark Kesteloot 2-3, Cody Edwards 1 (-)2, Kody Yeager 5-(-)13. Passing - Shiner, Baer 1-1-0-44, Condel 1-1-0-20, Curtis 0-3-0-0. Brackett, Yeager 2-6-1-31, Wylie 0-1-0-0. Receiving - Shiner, Nick Evans 1-44, Chase O'Connor 1-20; Brackett, Wylie 1-19, Slaughter 1-12. SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 F Shiner 0 0 7 14 -- 21 Brackett 0 0 7 0 -- 7 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter none Second Quarter none Third Quarter B - Brand Wylie 30 run (Kesteloot kick), 8:56 S - Chris Baer 2 run (Scott Shimek kick), 3:58 Fourth Quarter S - Chase O'Connor 20 pas from Kyle Condel (Shimek kick), 9:07 S - Baer 29 run (Shimek kick), 6:38