SHINER - The chill in the wind whipping across the practice field provides the only clue to the seasonal calendar.
Shiner athletic director and head football coach Steven Cerny Advocate Photo
The drills taking place suggest this could just as easily be a team getting ready for a scrimmage in August as a playoff game in December.
"One thing Steve has done is he's kept things pretty steady all year," Shiner defensive coordinator Billy Turek said of head coach Steve Cerny. "This team has not gotten too high or not gotten too low. It's worked out well for us."
Cerny's steady approach has helped Shiner compile a 13-1 record and advance to the Class 1A semifinals against Chilton (13-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Round Rock ISD Stadium.
Cerny moved from offensive coordinator to head coach last season when Turek temporarily retired because of a knee injury and led the Comanches to an 11-2 record and into the regional playoffs.
Shiner has done even better this season, advancing to the semifinals for the first time since it won the Class 2A state championship in 1986. "We're not really doing anything different," Cerny insisted. "We're just trying to get better at what we're doing. You've got to have some luck with you. You have to stay healthy and things have to go well on both sides of the ball. Everything has got to go your way."
Cerny was a part of Shiner's success even before taking over as athletic director and head football coach.
Cerny was not only an assistant coach in football, but he has been the head baseball coach for 15 seasons and led the Comanches to state titles in 1992 (2A) and 2002 (1A).
"The nice thing about being at a school this size is you really get to know the way the kids feel about things and their emotions," Cerny said. "You also learn what you've got to do to get them to perform. There are some you've got to yell at and others you have to talk to. You get to learn how to relate to them and they get to know what to expect from you."
The players have noticed few differences in Cerny's approach to coaching baseball or football. "He's pretty much the same," said quarterback Garet Pustka, who is also a pitcher on the baseball team. "He's taught us to do the little things right. He likes to have fun when we practice, but he also knows when it's time to get serious."
Cerny's experience as the head baseball coach has helped him when it comes to setting up playoff games and taking care of other administrative duties.
Cerny also remembers what it was like to work under Turek and as a result, relies heavily on Turek and fellow assistants Daniel Boedeker, Wendell Boner and David Goetz.
"When I was the offensive coordinator, Billy (Turek) would let me do what I wanted to do," Cerny said. "I found out you can't sit there and run the whole show. You have to let the coaches do their part."
Cerny couldn't be happier with the way the players and coaches have performed this season. He just hopes the Comanches get a chance to continue for another week.
"You have to practice hard, prepare yourself and go out and give your best," Cerny said. "That's one thing about Shiner teams. You know they're going to give their best and whatever happens, happens."