SHINER - Shiner coach Steven Cerny appreciates Dadrian Taylor's big-play ability.
Shiner running back Dadrian Taylor runs through the gap during a game against Goliad.
[ NOTE: click on photo to enlarge ]
photo by Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate
But Cerny would like to see the junior running back make more small plays.
"When Dadrian runs, he tries to make something out of nothing all the time and that's where he's got to be a little more careful," Cerny said. "Take what's there and when it's not there, be smart."
Cerny knows he's nitpicking, given what Taylor has accomplished for the Comanches this season.
The 5-foot-11, 150-pound Taylor has rushed for 1,560 yards and 29 touchdowns and has averaged more than 11 yards per carry while leading Shiner (13-0) into Friday's (December 4, 2015) Class 2A, Division I quarterfinal against Refugio (11-2) at San Antonio's Alamo Stadium.
Taylor had one of his best games of the season in the Comanches' 41-7 regional round win over Flatonia.
He carried 18 times for 245 yards and four touchdowns.
"Early in the year we thought that he danced too much," Cerny said. "That's one thing we still try to get on him about. There's a time when you have to lower your shoulder and go straight ahead when there's nothing there. He's done a better job with that."
Taylor admits his natural instinct is to go for a big play, but is learning the importance of making the most of every run.
"When it's short yardage, I know I can put my head down," he said. "When it's first and 10, I get open space that's when I try to do more."
Class 2A, Division I
7:30 pm Friday, 12/4/2015
Alamo Stadium, San Antonio
KTXM, 99.9 FM
KTKO, 105.7 FM
Taylor started at running back in junior high, but played mostly receiver last season.
He returned to the backfield this season and the move has gone smoothly.
"I practiced there all last year and it kind of helped me with the plays and it really wasn't much of a transition because I had played there in junior high," Taylor said. "I had to take conditioning a lot more seriously this year because I knew I was going to be taking on a bigger role in the offense. That helped a lot doing my conditioning."
Cerny wasn't worried about the transition, given Taylor's athletic ability and familiarity with the position.
"He's always been a running back," Cerny said. "He was a running back in junior high, and we worked him as a backup last year. It's not something that he had never done. We just knew that we could utilize him as a receiver last year."
Perhaps the biggest misconception about Taylor is he is strictly a finesse player.
Taylor also starts in the secondary, returns kickoffs and punts, and is on the kickoff team.
"He's very tough," Cerny said. "He's one of those athletes you've got to have on the field as much as you can."
Taylor carried nine times for 89 yards and had a critical 50-yard touchdown run in the Comanches' 30-19 win over Refugio in the District 15-2A opener.
He also intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards.
"They're going to come out fired up and so are we," Taylor said. "It's going to be a much closer, more intense game."
Taylor is looking forward to the rematch.
"I knew coming into the year we were going to do good things, and we've done it," he said. "In my eyes, we're living up to expectations."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for The Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.