SHINER - Shiner defensive coordinator Billy Turek insists there's no comparison between this year's defense and the defenders on the 1986 state championship team.
Shiner defensive coordinator Billy Turek, standing left, talks to his players before their 16-14 Class 1A quarterfinal playoff win over Falls City. The Comanches have limited opponents to an average of just over seven points per game. Advocate Photo
The 1986 defense featured eleven seniors, including four who were 19 years old and had played 43 games in three years. This year's defense includes two sophomores.
The defense on the state championship team surrendered only 69 points in 16 games and had nine shutouts. The Comanches yielded only 16 points in six playoff games and shut out four of their final five opponents. This year's defense has given up 110 points, two of which came on a safety, and has recorded four shutouts.
The 1986 team won the state title at the Class 2A level, while Shiner has competed as a Class 1A school since the 2000 season.
But radical changes in the game are the primary reason Turek has trouble finding similarities between the defense on the 1986 team and this year's squad, which will take a 13-1 record into Saturday's 7 p.m. semifinal game against Chilton (13-1) at the Round Rock ISD Stadium.
"People run plays now that we didn't see back then," Turek said. "We almost never saw a counter-trey and now people are running it all the time. And 15 to 20 years ago there was almost no such thing as a shotgun or spread offense." Just as offenses have evolved, so have defenses. But Turek's philosophy has changed very little. He instructs his players to get to the football as fast as possible and make the tackle when they get there.
"Coach Turek wants us to step up and make the read," said junior linebacker Jared Boedeker. "It's like there's an X behind the center and anybody who crosses it, you go chase him. In this defense, your linemen will take you to the ball."
After working as the defensive coordinator under Calvin Tucker on the 1986 state championship team, Turek took over as head coach in 1988 and had a 110-48-1 record that included 10 playoff appearances. But he resigned and temporarily retired before the 2002 season because of a knee injury.
Turek said the knee felt considerably better before this season and was welcomed back to the staff by head coach Steve Cerny, who had worked as Turek's offensive coordinator.
"It's been great thing for me," Cerny said. "I get the benefit of his experience and knowledge of the game. He'll give me his opinion and I respect it." Turek has been pleased with this year's defense, which has played particularly well in its four playoff wins.
"This defense is a little quicker and we're relying on our quickness because our linebackers are not very big," Tuerk said. "We're stunting a lot more and that's been a big difference from the past."
Turek wants his defense to put pressure on the opponent to force it out of its comfort zone. The approach paid big dividends in Shiner's 49-7 regional playoff win over top-ranked West Sabine.
"There's really not that much we've added," Boedeker said. "We do a few things differently. But we've become more of an attack-type defense. We want to make things happen before the other team can get things going."
The Comanches have limited five of their last six opponents to one touchdown or less and have surrendered more than two touchdowns only once this season.
"The good thing about this defense is it hasn't given up many points," Turek said. "It bends a little, but it's usually able to keep the opponent out of the end zone."
Shiner's defense will be severely tested by a Chilton offense that has rung up big numbers behind quarterback Jamar Green, who has accounted for over 2,500 yards.
"They like to keep the quarterback running and he'll carry the ball over 50 percent of the time," Turek said. "We're going to have to tackle well. Whoever is assigned to make the tackle, better make the tackle."