SHINER - The Shiner Comanches are hoping history repeats itself.
Victoria Advocate Photo
Seventeen years to the day since Shiner won the Class 2A state championship, the Comanches will have the opportunity to add another football title to their trophy case.
Shiner (14-1) will seek the Class 1A state championship when it takes on Windthorst (14-1) today at 7 p.m. at the Waco ISD Stadium.
"We're definitely playing to win and not just for the sake of being there," said Shiner head coach Steve Cerny. "Opportunities like this don't come around very often."
Cerny is well aware of how difficult it is to win a state championship. He led the Shiner baseball team to the 1992 Class 2A state title and waited 10 years before the Comanches returned to the state tournament and won the Class 1A championship in 2002. "We've been doing the same things week after week," said Cerny, who took over as head football coach last season. "A lot of these kids have been there in baseball so they know how to keep things in perspective."
The Comanches had to keep a level head to reach the state final for the first time since winning the Class 2A championship in 1986.
Shiner was denied the District 30-1A title when it dropped a 7-0 decision to Falls City, and had to beat Flatonia the next week to qualify for the playoffs.
The Comanches responded with a 34-8 victory over Flatonia that was the beginning of a six-game winning streak that included a 49-7 blitzing of top-ranked West Sabine in the regional round, a 16-14 quarterfinal win over Falls City, and last week's 47-39 semifinal triumph over Chilton.
Cerny gives much of the credit to seniors Garet Pustka, Quentin Wright, Todd Wenske, Jeremy Burchell, Casey Coleman, Brady Strauss, Desmond Brooks and Steven Evans, who have compiled a 33-7 record as three-year starters. "I think this team is more determined," Coleman said. "Every year I've been here we've worked harder. We go into a game with a lot of confidence. We have confidence in ourselves and confidence that our coaches will make the right calls."
Shiner overcame a five-touchdown performance by Jamar Green to defeat Chilton, and the Comanches will have to contend with a trio of Greens against Windthorst.
Senior Chad Green starts at quarterback and linebacker for the Trojans, his twin brother, Kyle, plays running back and linebacker, and brother Bradley, a freshman, starts at running back and cornerback.
"Windthorst is more balanced (than Chilton) so we have to focus on the whole team," said junior Chris Baer. "We need to get ourselves mentally prepared. This is a goal we've been working toward all year, so we can't get too excited."
Windthorst operates out of a wishbone offense but will often shift out of the formation, and isn't afraid to utilize the pass.
Bradley Green has rushed for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns, and Kyle Green has added 1,155 yards and 26 touchdowns. Chad Green has completed 74 of 142 passes for 1,555 yards and 17 touchdowns with four interceptions. Bradley Green has 21 receptions for 466 yards and seven touchdowns and is one of four receivers with 11 or more receptions.
"I think they're a lot like Falls City," Cerny said of the Trojans. "They run the wishbone, but they do a lot of misdirection and they'll break the bone quite a bit. We're going to have to play assignment football. Everyone has to take care of his assignment on each play."
Shiner will take the same approach with its veer offense that has produced more than 4,000 yards of rushing. The Comanches have added a few new looks for this week's game, but will go with what's working.
Shiner has relied on the running of Pustka (1,244 yards and 19 touchdowns) at quarterback and Wright (1,249 yards and 18 touchdowns) and Baer (1,572 yards and 22 touchdowns) at running back.
"What's helped us this year is our line has done a great job," Pustka said. "Our linemen are very smart and they know what we need to do."
Shiner's formula for success hasn't changed much since winning its first state championship. Playing aggressive defense and executing on offense worked for the 1986 team, and this year's Comanches believe it can work again.
"These kids have worked hard and gotten the most out of their God-given talent," Cerny said. "Everybody has done their part. It's really been a team effort."
NOTES: Shiner will be the visiting team...Tickets at the gate will be $8...The game will be simulcast on KTXM, 99.9 FM and KYKM, 92.5 FM...The Class 2A, Division II state final between Bangs and Garrison will be played today at the Waco ISD Stadium at 1 p.m.