SHINER - Call it telepathy, or ESP, but whatever it is, sophomore quarterback Nate Kowalik seems to know where sophomore wide receiver Trenton McGee is and where to put the ball when the Hallettsville Brahmas need a play.
"We're just around each other a lot and I think that helps," Kowalik said.
On Friday, the duo were around each other a lot celebrating Hallettsville touchdowns.
Kowalik found McGee five different times for scoring passes as Hallettsville beat the eighth-ranked Shiner Comanches 49-28 at Comanche Stadium.
"You got to give Hallettsville credit," said Shiner head coach Steven Cerny. "They made some great passes, great catches, they're offense was on tonight."
Hallettsville improves to 2-0 while Shiner falls to 1-1. The game marked the 10th time to two Lavaca County schools met and the first time since 1991.
The Brahmas hold a 7-3 series edge.
Kowalik took over the play calling duties for Brandon Kahanek this season.
The sophomore inherited a team that was 7-6 and went on an unlikely run to the Class 2A, Division I regional quarterfinals last season.
"He carried the team a lot on his shoulders and he's glad to do that," said Hallettsville head coach Tommy Psencik. "We expect him to do that."
Kowalik completed 17 of 25 passes for 395 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 45 yards. Three interceptions, including one that was returned by Shiner cornerback Evel Jones for an 85-yard touchdown, were his only statistical blemish.
After Shiner quarterback Trevion Flowers opened the game with an early 12-yard touchdown scamper, the Kowalik and McGee duo answered with touchdown strikes of 44, 49 and 9-yards out to give Hallettsville a 21-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Comanches fell behind by 14-points on four different occasions, but answered the Brahmas with scores of their own to cut the lead to within eight points.
Defensively, Shiner had trouble getting off the field and it couldn't extend drives offensively. Hallettsville 5 for 8 on third down and 1 for 1 on fourth down conversions.
Conversely, Shiner was 2 for 9 on third down and 0 for 1 on fourth down conversions.
Hallettsville made Shiner's offense one dimensional as the Comanches rushed for a team total of 121 yards, but completed just 2 of 11 passing for a single yard.
"We learned what some of our weaknesses are and what we have to do to make improvements" Cerny said.
McGee finished the night with six receptions for 231 yards and five touchdowns
After missing on his first two attempts, Kowalik completed seven straight passes and found McGee on a 35-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter.
His only blemishes in the first half were a pair of interceptions, including one deep in Comanche territory ono the second-to-last play of the first half.
Shiner fell behind by 14 points twice in the first half, but rallied with a 60-yard Flowers run on a counter option, then a 10-yard Jacob Stafford score on a sweep.
Senior running back Teidrick Smith led the Brahmas on the ground with 166 yards on 14 carries. His 14-yard touchdown scamper put the Brahmas up by 21 points and clinched the game with 3:52 remaining.
The Brahmas passed for 395 yards and rushed for 252.
"We've got a pretty balanced attack tonight," Psencik said. "I'm pleased with what we did, but we've got a long ways to go."
Flowers led the Comanches offense with 13 rushes for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Albert Alvarado is a sports writer for The Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
statistics source: http://www.advosports.com/games/football/hallettsville-at-shiner/108/
TEAM STATISTICS: Hallettsville Shiner First downs 27 5 Rushes-yards 37-254 26-115 Passing 17-27-3 3-12-1 Passing yards 386 9 Total offense 74-640 38-124 Punts-average 2-37 6-46.3 Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-0 Penalties-yards 8-74 3-35 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Hallettsville 15 13 13 8 -- 49 Shiner 7 13 8 0 -- 28 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter S - Trevion Flowers 12 run (Rigo Baray kick) H - Trenton McGee 46 pass from Nate Kowalik (Sam Barrerra kick) H - McGee 49 pass from Kowalik (Teidrick Smith pass from Carson Schindler) Second Quarter H - McGee 9 pass from Kowalik (run failed) S - Flowers 60 run (Baray kick) H - McGee 35 pass from Kowalik (Barrerra kick) S - Jacob Stafford 9 run (kick failed) Third Quarter H - McGee 72 pass from Kowalik (Barrerra kick) S - Evel Jones 85 interception return (Brady Cejka pass from Flowers) H - Schindler 17 pass from Kowalika (run failed) Fourth Quarter H - Smith 14 run (Tim Sheppard pass from Kowalik) INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Shiner: Trevion Flowers 13-98, Evel Jones 1-(2), Jacob Stafford 3-12, Caleb Curtis 8-11 Hallettsville: Nate Kowalik 12-45, Tim Sheppard 6-41, Teidrick Smith 14-166, Passing Shiner: Trevion Flowers 2-10-1-0 Hallettsville: Nate Kowalik 25-17-395-3 Receiving Shiner: Tyler Patek 1-6, Evel Jones 1-(5) Hallettsville: Carson Schindler 3-52, Jimario Grounds 1-13, Trenton McGee 6-231, Tim Sheppard 1-35, Dalton Herrington 2-15,