SHINER - Calvin Tucker has been reading a lot of old newspaper clippings lately to refresh his memory about a season he'll never forget.
Victoria Advocate Photo
Even as the former Shiner coach reviews details of the 1986 season, where the Comanches won the Class 2A state championship with a 16-0 record, he admits much of what happened remains a blur.
"It's still kind of like a dream," Tucker said. "Dixie (Tucker's wife) and I were talking about how quickly it went by. It seemed like the year had just started and then it was over."
The present season will come to an end for Shiner (14-1) on Saturday when it goes after the school's second state title in the Class 1A final against Windthorst (14-1) at 7 p.m. at Waco ISD Stadium.
While it's difficult to compare what the 1986 team accomplished with what this year's team has achieved, there are obvious similarities and connections between the two teams. Billy Turek was the defensive coordinator for the state championship team and holds the same position this season.
Junior Chase O'Connor, the son of Scott O'Connor, is the only player on this year's squad whose father played on the 1986 team. But a number of this season's players have brothers, uncles and cousins who played on the state championship team.
"It's definitely been all the talk at my house this week," Chase O'Connor said. "But I remember my dad talking about winning state since I was in elementary school. I used to think about that team when I was on the playground tearing people up."
"You do hear about it all the time," added senior Casey Coleman, whose uncle Michael Mayberry played on the 1986 team. "We've talked about it a lot, especially lately. He's told me we've made it this far and this could be my last game so we might as well go out on top."
The 1986 Shiner team established itself as the top Class 2A team in the state by outscoring its opponents 520-69 and recording nine shutouts, including four in the playoffs. The '86 Comanches were one of the few Class 2A teams to completely two- platoon and still have a strong bench.
"I had 27 football players I didn't feel bad about putting any of them on the field," Tucker said. "That group was extremely talented, not necessarily as individuals, but as a group. I think they were also a little more dedicated from coming so close before."
The 1984 Comanches advanced to the area round and played to a 20-20 tie with Liberty Hill after a Shiner extra point was disallowed by a dead-ball offside penalty on Liberty Hill. Overtime wasn't played at the time, and Liberty Hill wound up advancing by virtue of more first downs. Shiner made it to the semifinals in 1985 before dropping a 21-8 decision to Groveton.
"Those kids came right back home and went to work," Tucker said. "We knew we had problems with our schedule (in '86), but we also knew we had a good ballclub."
Members of this season's team have also experienced playoff disappointment. Burkeville captured a 38-22 win over Shiner in the 2001 Class 1A regionals, and Thorndale defeated Shiner 47-27 in last year's regionals.
"They've been there before and been hammered," said Shiner head coach Steve Cerny. "They've paid their dues. It's nice for them to see the good side of things."
The 1986 team had to come from behind to defeat San Antonio Cole (21-9) in the quarterfinals, and this year's team had to rally for a 47-39 semifinal win over Chilton.
"This year's team is a real competitive group," Tucker said. "They seem to do what they have to do when they need to do it."
This season's team has scored 545 points, and its backfield of quarterback Garet Pustka and running backs Quentin Wright and Chris Baer has compiled almost as many yards as the 1986 backfield of quarterback Gilbert Price and running backs Shawn Carroll and Lennis Brooks did in Shiner's veer offense.
"I see a lot of similarities," said Price, who is Wright's uncle. "The biggest thing is how well these kids play together. I think they knew once they started winning, it was time for another (state title)."
Price rushed 156 yards and two touchdowns in Shiner's 18-0 win over Mart in the 1986 state final in Leander. He remembers the thrill of winning a state championship and hopes this year's team enjoys the same experience.
"It's a great feeling to know that you're the best team in that classification," Price said. "I don't think these kids know what it's going to feel like when they win it. But the best feeling I had is when we got back to town and saw all the people waiting for us. That was really special. I'll never forget that feeling."
NOTES: Tickets for the state final are $4 for students and $7 for adults. Tickets are on sale at Shiner High School, Patek's and Quality Pharmacy. All tickets at the gate will be $8.