VICTORIA -- Shiner coach Steve Cerny knew his team would have to play a near-perfect game to defeat Falls City in a Class 1A quarterfinal game on Friday night.
Shiner back Chris Baer follows the block of teammate Chase O'Connor on Friday night in the Comanches' 16-14 Class 1A quarterfinal qin over District 30-1A rival Falls City. The Comanches avenged an earlier 7-0 loss to Falls City and advanced to the state semifinals to play the Bosqueville-Chilton winner. (photos by Kerri Spires, Advocate Staff Photographer)
"I was concerned from the first whistle until the end," Cerny said. "One little turnover could be the difference in the game. Something little might break it open or turn it around."
His assessment was dead-on, as his defense forced a key first-quarter turnover, allowed only 4 yards rushing and recorded seven sacks to defeat the Beavers 16-14 at Memorial Stadium.
Shiner (13-1) will face the winner of today's Chilton-Bosqueville quarterfinal next weekend at a time and place to be determined.
Falls City goes home 13-1 after its only loss of the season.
The game was a rematch of District 30-1A rivals in which both defenses yielded only seven points combined in Falls City's 7-0 win.
"People talk about it over and over," Cerny said. "I don't think it was revenge. We just knew we had to play good to beat them."
Both defenses finally let up -- to some extent -- in the final quarter of the sequel.
Shiner's Quentin Wright stiff-arms Falls City's Kory Dziuk on Friday night during a first-half carry in their Class 1A quarterfinal playoff game at Memorial Stadium.
Shiner quarterback Garet Pustka used the opening play of the fourth quarter to break two tackles and scamper 24 yards on a quarterback sneak to put the Comanches up 13-7. Ryan Kloesel's 22-yard field goal later in the quarter put Shiner ahead by two possessions.
Time constraints then forced Falls City quarterback B.J. Sixto, who ended the night with 248 passing yards, to move the ball through the air in an eight-play, 72-yard drive in which he completed seven consecutive passes, capping it with a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Sixto also hit a wide-open Derek Sturm on a 37-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-10 earlier in the fourth quarter for the Beavers' first points.
The extra point pushed them to within two, but Shiner ran three minutes off the clock with a crucial Chris Baer run up the middle on a third-and-short to extend the drive.
Three plays later, Cerny took the conservative route on a coaching decision that may have saved Shiner's season. He chose to punt the ball away on fourth-and- inches at Shiner's 38 with 1:35 remaining.
Pinned at its own 10, Falls City committed two penalties, was sacked twice by Steven Evans and could not complete the last pass on a fourth-and-long as its saw its season come to an end.
Shiner quarterback Garet Pustka tries to elude Falls City's Steven Creswell (28) and Travis Tessman (44) on a first-half carry.
"A lot of people going down 14-0 would've checked it in against a team like Shiner," Falls City coach David Kirchoff said.
"That's just Shiner and us when we play. It's always a war. We had some opportunities in the first half but we couldn't take advantage of them. We had a penalty (on the last drive) and got into a hole."
Kirchoff's team went virtually the whole game in a hole. With Falls City facing a third-and-10 from its own 20, Shiner free safety Trey Curtis went untouched on a blitz from Sixto's blindside.
While Sixto cocked his arm back, Curtis hit him in the back, causing Sixto to fumble. Evans scooped up the loose ball and dove into the end zone, but his knee was down inside the 1, and Pustka pushed scored from a yard out on the first play as Shiner took the lead within 37 seconds of the kickoff.
While Shiner's defense continued to pressure Sixto and hold the Beavers to 21 yards rushing in the first half, Pustka led Shiner to only one lengthy drive -- a 16-play, 31-yard march to the Beaver's 42. But an option pitch went astray and the lost yardage resulted in Shiner punting it away.
"In the first half, we didn't have real good field position," Cerny said. "We didn't want to do anything that would cause a turnover. Our defense was playing real good at the time, so we wanted to make sure they didn't score there."
Shiner's offense did not commit a penalty and only fumbled the ball once, but the Beaver defense made the Comanches run more east and west in the second half.
"It goes to show how good their defense is. They're very physical and so is ours," Cerny said. "We knew that to beat Falls City, we had to put a perfect game together. They've got a super ballclub."
GAME STATISTICS Falls City Shiner First Downs 11 11 Yards Rushing 24-4 51-158 Yards Passing 248 30 Passes 16-29-0 1-4-0 Punts 6-30.8 6-37.6 Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0 Penalties-yards 6-30 0-0 Rushing - Falls City, Joe Theis 12-41; B.J. Sixto 12-(-37). Shiner, Quentin Wright 14-63; Garet Pustka 11-19; Chris Baer 24-72; Steven Evans 2-4. Passing - Falls City, B.J. Sixto 16-29-248-0. Shiner, Garet Pustka 1-3-30-0; Steven Evans 0-1-0-0. Receiving - Falls City, Derek Sturm Joe Theis 6-97; Derek Sturm 3-46; Brandon Moczygemba 1-8; Joey Wiatrek 4-64; Steven Creswell 2-33. Shiner, Nick Evans 1-30. SCORING SUMMARY Falls City 0 0 0 14 -- 14 Shiner 7 0 0 9 -- 16 SCORING DETAILS First Quarter S - Garet Pustka 1 run (Ryan Kloesel kick), 11:23 Second Quarter no score Third Quarter no score Fourth Quarter S - Garet Pustka 24 run (kick blocked), 11:52 FC - Derek Sturm 37 pass from B.J. Sixto (Jim Ed Baugh kick),10:01 S - Ryan Kloesel 22 field goal, 6:32 FC - B.J. Sixto 1 run (Ed Baugh kick), 4:41