WACO - Shiner was so close to a second state championship it could just kick itself.
Shiner running back Chris Baer breaks tackles Saturday night against Windthorst defenders in the first half of the Class 1A championship game at the Waco ISD Stadium. The Comanches missed a potential game-tying extra point late in the game in falling 28-27 to the Trojans. Associated Press
But it was Windthorst that got its kicks on a chilly Saturday night at the Waco ISD Stadium, coming away with a 28-27 victory in the Class 1A state final.
The difference in a game where the teams came within 2 yards of each other was a missed extra point by Shiner sophomore Ryan Kloesel after quarterback Garet Pustka had scored his third touchdown of the game with 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Windthorst, which won the Class 1A state title in 1996, finished the season with a 15-1 record. The Comanches, who won the Class 2A state title in 1986, ended the year at 14-2.
"It was a very close game between two good teams," Shiner coach Steve Cerny said. "We needed one more play and we didn't quite get it." Shiner led only once and had to battle back from seven-point deficits three times. The Comanches got their final opportunity when Desmond Brooks recovered a fumble by running back Casey Hoff at the Windthorst 45-yard line with 5:41 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Comanches used nearly every bit of the clock as they drove to the end zone, converting five first downs, including a 1-yard run by Quentin Wright on a fourth-and-1 from the 15.
Pustka scored the touchdown on a 3-yard run and the Trojans called a timeout before Shiner could attempt the point.
"We called the timeout because we weren't getting lined up right," said Windthorst coach Bill Green. "We were going to overload to one side, and then I thought maybe I had screwed up because they had decided to go for the win."
Cerny admitted Shiner considered going for the two-point conversion, but he decided to kick the extra point. "We thought about it," Cerny said of going for two points. "You can always second-guess yourself. But it was the high percentage play. We had a chance for overtime and we had the momentum. That's a tough play to make, even the pros miss some."
Pustka did a good job of handling a low snap and getting the ball on the tee, but the kick went wide to the left.
"I knew it would come down to who had the ball last," Bill Green said. "But I thought we might pull ahead by a couple of touchdowns there in the fourth quarter and then we put the ball on the ground. When he missed the kick, I must have said, 'Oh my God,' three times."
Shiner quarterback Garet Pustka tries to elude a Windthorst defender. Associated Press
Shiner did a good job of controlling the ball, getting 63 rushing attempts for 331 yards. Pustka led the way with 147 yards on 24 carries and scored on runs of 62, 1 and 3 yards. Wright had 20 carries for 104 yards, and Baer added 19 carries for 80 yards and scored on a 3-yard run.
"We felt like we needed to control the clock and force them to go against the wind in the fourth quarter," Cerny said. "It was a very physical game. We moved the ball, but we still got stopped a couple of times. We had the fumble (in the first quarter) and the penalty that put us in a long-yardage situation (in the fourth quarter) and that hurt."
While Shiner was moving the ball on the ground, Windthorst was getting big chunks of yardage through the air.
Quarterback Chad Green completed 10 of 14 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns.
"We knew we had to throw some, but it ended up being a major part of our game," Bill Green said. "We have good receivers who can catch the ball. We ended up throwing plays we didn't even practice."
Green threw touchdown passes of 66 yards to Kevin Hoff in the first quarter, and 38 yards to Ross Wolf in the second quarter.
He also connected for 50 yards to Wolf and 40 yards to Bradley Green to set up a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. Carlos Botello was successful on all four of his extra points.
"Once we figured out we could throw the ball," Bill Green said, "we decided to let Chad do the things we needed to do to win the game."
Shiner figured it would get the chance to win the game in overtime, but the opportunity never came.
"It was 11 guys going hard against 11 guys on every play," Cerny said. "I thought it was more of their big plays than anything else."
GAME STATISTICS Shiner Windthorst First Downs 23 15 Yards Rushing 63-331 27-103 Yards Passing 32 262 Passes 2-7-1 10-14-1 Punts 3-47 2-54.5 Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1 Penalties-yards 2-20 2-10 Rushing - Shiner, Garet Pustka 24-147; Quentin Wright 20-104; Chris Baer 19-80. Windthorst, Kevin Hoff 6-46; Bradley Green 9-34; Chad Green 5-28; Casey Hoff 4-4; Kyle Green 1-0; Team 2-(-9). Passing - Shiner, Pustka 2-7-1 32. Windthorst, C. Green 10-14-1 262. Receiving - Shiner, Casey Coleman 1-19; Wright 1-13. Windthorst, Ross Wolf 4-125; K. Hoff 2-63; B. Green 3-58; Beau Berend 1-16. SCORING SUMMARY Shiner 7 7 7 6 -- 27 Windthorst 7 14 0 7 -- 28 SCORING DETAILS First Quarter W - Kevin Hoff 66 pass from Chad Green (Carlos Botello kick), 4:29 S - Garet Pustka 62 run (Ryan Kloesel kick), 4:06 Second Quarter S - Chris Baer 3 run (Kloesel kick), 7:28 W - C. Green 1 run (Botello kick), 5:23 W - Ross Wolf 38 pass from C. Green (Botello kick), 1:31 Third Quarter S - Pustka 1 run (Kloesel kick), 4:48 Fourth Quarter W - C. Green 1 run (Botello kick), 11:23 S - Pustka 3 run (kick failed), :32