Scott O'Connor figures Shiner fans won't be getting much sleep Saturday night, so he's already making plans for a party.
Shiner's Chase O'Connor outruns the Big Sandy defense on a 42-yard TD reception in the first quarter Saturday. Shiner advanced to the Class 1A state final with a 21-17 win. Shiner faces Stratford on Saturday for the state title. photo by Kerri Besio, Victoria Advocate
"They had a parade for us when we got back," O'Connor said. "We're going to have one for them when they get back at 5 or 6 in the morning."
O'Connor and his 1986 Shiner teammates were greeted by a throng of supporters when they returned from Leander on a Saturday evening after winning the Class 2A state football championship.
O'Connor hopes to do the same for this year's team, when it returns from Wichita Falls in the wee hours of Sunday morning, assuming Shiner defeats Stratford in Saturday night's Class 1A state final.
"I've been excited about this since last week," O'Connor said. "You just think about what happened for us and you can't wait and go do the same thing for them."
O'Connor has a special reason to be excited about the possibility of winning a second state championship - his oldest son, Chase, is a member of this year's team.
Scott's wife, Pam, was pregnant with Chase, who was born in February of 1987, when the Comanches won the 1986 state title. "I was sure hoping this would happen," Scott said. "He played all the sports when he grew up and I'm glad he's getting this chance."
Scott, 35, got the chance to win a state championship as an offensive tackle on the 1986 team that was coached by Calvin Tucker. The '86 Comanches went 16-0 and captured an 18-0 win over Mart in the championship game. This year's team, which is coached by Steven Cerny, will take a 15-0 record into the state final.
"We felt like we could win a state championship," Scott said. "You have to remember we had 25 or 26 seniors on that team and nobody played both ways. The talk of that team was defense. We were known for our defense. But this year's defense is also pretty good."
The 1986 defense shut out nine opponents and surrendered a total of 69 points. This year's team has six shutouts and has yielded a total of 105 points, although 31of those points were scored by Class 2A Universal City Randolph.
"My dad's always telling me about how much better their defense was," said Chase, who starts at tight end and cornerback. "He was kidding me about how we've already given up 100 points. But I told him to look at the offensive stats (this year's team has scored a total of 564 points to a total of 520 for the 1986 team), and we've already got them beat."
Chase also points out this year's team has gone way beyond the 1986 team in passing yardage. Chase caught a 42-yard touchdown pass in Shiner's 21-17 semifinal win over Big Sandy last Saturday night, his fifth touchdown reception of the season.
"I think we threw it like twice all season in '86," Scott said. "They definitely throw the ball more than we did. I'm not really surprised to see him catch the ball. Chase and I threw the ball around all the time and we still do. He's real good with his hands."
Chase knows quite a bit about the 1986 team. He's not only watched tape of the quarterfinal, semifinal and championship games with his dad, he's also learned a lot from defensive coordinator Billy Turek, who was also the defensive coordinator on the '86 team.
"I know in 1986 coach Turek did a great deal for the defense," Chase said. "He also does it for us. We may be down in the first half, but when he makes adjustments, we're a different team in the second half."
"I don't think anything has changed when it comes to coach Turek," Scott added. "I've told Chase, 'Whatever coach Turek tells you, you take as gospel."
Turek likes to tease Chase by telling him his father is "a little faster." But with the exception of Chase's superior foot speed, Turek sees mostly similarities between father and son.
"They're both real coachable," Turek said. "They both play hard and they both want to win."
Chase has won Class 1A state titles as a member of the 2002 and 2004 Shiner baseball teams, and he earned a silver medal when the Comanches advanced to the 1A state football final last season before dropping a 28-27 decision to Windthorst in the championship game.
"He's always saying how he has three medals, two gold and one silver, and I have only one," Scott said. "But I told him until he gets a gold in football, he can't talk any mess."
Scott may tease Chase, but there's no doubt about how proud he is of his son. Despite working in Victoria, Scott has seen every game Chase has played during his high school career.
"I have much more fun watching him than when I played," Scott said. "I love it when I get to sit there and watch him play. The last two years, I've gotten to do a lot of it."
Scott is likely to spend the next four years watching the Comanches play football. His son Collin will be a freshman at Shiner next year, and don't think the thought of three state championships hasn't crossed his mind.
But Scott and Pam are currently preoccupied with watching Chase end his Shiner football career in what could be the ultimate manner. They're more than willing to spend most of Saturday on a bus to do it.
"I don't care if they were playing in Oklahoma or New Mexico," Scott said. "We'd still be there to see it."