Excellent running by Quentin Wright and a pressure-packed extra point kick by R.J. Lester lifted the Shiner Comanches to a 23-22 win over district rival Flatonia last Friday in Flatonia.
A lot was riding on the outcome of the game -- the district title for Shiner and a possible playoff spot for the Bulldogs.
The win gave Shiner the District 30-1 A title and set up a bi-district game against D'Hanis this Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Comanches celebrate following a fumble recovery by Josh Burchell. Shiner took advantage of the turnover to score their winning touchdown in the win over Flatonia. At left is Ryan Spann (58), Burchell holding the ball, Quentin Wright (4) and Clayton McCorckle (73) (all photos by Shiner Gazette)
Since Falls City seemed to be a sure winner over Louise, Flatonia, who lost to Falls City, had to beat Shiner by seven to make the playoffs.
But events favored the Bulldogs Friday. Despite the loss to Shiner, Flatonia celebrated as Louise upset Falls City, sending the Bulldogs into the playoffs.
Shiner's winning score capped a drive that started inside the Comanche 20-yard line after Josh Burchell recovered a Bulldog fumble with about 1:30 left in the game.
Carries by Chris Baer and Wright advanced the ball to the Bulldog 35. A holding penalty brought the ball back to the 45. Baer then ran it to the 35 but an offside penalty cost (he Comanches another five yards.
On second-and-15 Garet Pustka found Wright on the sidelines for a big gain to the Bulldog 22. Flatonia was flagged for defensive holding on third down and the walk-off gave Shiner the ball on the 18-yard line with the clock ticking away.
An incomplete pass stopped the clock at 40 seconds. Baer then carried twice to the 7-yard line and with just nine seconds left Wright broke through the middle of the line for the touchdown to tie the game at 22-22.
R.J. Lester, who had made two extra points earlier and kicked a 23-yard field goal in the third period, set up for the all-important PAT. The ball split the uprights and the Comanches led for the first time, 23-22.
When asked if he had talked to Lester about the kick, Coach Steven Cerny simply said "I didn't say a word to him. That's what he practices every week. He did some clutch kicking today though," he added.
Following the kick off, the Bulldogs got off one offensive play to the Comanche 30 but time ran out and the Comanche celebration began.
"Flatonia knew everything was on the line for them so they were ready. They had a good game plan," said Cerny. "But we hung in there with heart and character. We finally wore them down and Quentin turned it up at the end to pull it out."
Chris Baer (10) picks up seven yards on this sweep to the Bulldog 13-yard line.
After a scoreless first period, Kurt Kainer, who rushed for 49 yards on 25 carries, put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard on a 13-yard run to begin the second period. A.J. Florus was good on the PAT. The touchdown came after the Bulldogs recovered a Comanche fumble on the Shiner 29 late in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs had recovered a fumble earlier and could have had Shiner down by two scores but the Comanches got a break when Galen Dunk, who had beat the Comanche secondary on his way to the end zone, dropped a pass on the Shiner 15.
The Comanches closed the gap to 7-6 on the first play after Flatonia scored. Garet Pustka connected with Eric Murphy on a 78-yard pass play. Lester's kick was wide.
A good defensive effort by the Comanches stopped Flatonia on their next drive at the Comanche 28-yard Another Shiner miscue gave the Bulldogs another opportunity. A fumble on the snap on a punting situation gave Flatonia the ball on the Comanche 30.
Following a pass to Florus, the Bulldogs went to their bread-and-butter man Kainer who carried four times to the Shiner 10-yard line.
With 30 second left in the half, William Richter hit Dunk for a 9-yard scoring strike. Florus' PAT upped Flatonia's lead to 14-6.
Flatonia took the second half kick off but was forced to punt. A short punt gave Shiner good position at the Flatonia 47.
Baer carried twice to the 35. Two carries by Steven Evans and a 1-yarder by Pustka got a first down on the 20. The trio combined for another first down to the 9-yard line.
Pustka carried to the five but an illegal procedure penalty took away the gain and two plays later Shiner faced a fourth-and-goal from the six. The Comanches elected to try for a field goal and Lester was good from 23 yards out to cut the lead to 14-9.
The Comanche defense stiffened and a sack by Josh Burchell would have had Flatonia facing a fourth down. A face mask penalty, however, gave the Bulldogs new life on the Comanche 35. Kainer picked up four yards and then Richter found Dunk on the 5-yard line and a touchdown. The try for two was good and Flatonia led 22-9 early in the final period.
After an exchange of punts, the Comanches found themselves on their own 8-yard line with 8:38 to go and two touchdowns behind.
Quentin Wright (4) sweeps to his left in late game action to put the Comanches in scoring position.
But by this time the Flatonia defense had slowed and the Comanches went to work with Evans and Pustka picking up a first down to the 21. A pass to Wright and Casey Coleman, followed by three carried by Wright, set up Shiner on the 10-yard line of the Bulldogs.
Baer picked up eight and then Pustka went over from the 2-yard line. Lester's kick was good and Shiner was down by just six with 4:19 left in the game.
A short kick off gave Flatonia the ball on the Shiner 45. Still working for that 7-point lead the Bulldogs drove to the Comanche 18, where they lost the ball and Burchell recovered for Shiner.
With 80 yards to go and only 1:30 left in the game, the Comanches maintained their composure and pulled out the last minute win.
The Comanches were led by Chris Baer with 72 yards on 14 carries. Wright carried five times for 61 yards and Pustka had 21 yards on 13 carries. Pustka completed three passes for 96 yards and Baer had one completion for 35 yards. Todd Wenske, Wright, Eric Murphy and Casey Coleman had one reception each.
Shiner's defense held Kurt Kainer, who had been averaging 5.8 yards per carry, to only 49 yards on 25 carries.
Flatonia's William Richter completed l0-of-17 passes for 119 yards. Galen Dunk had five receptions for 82 yards and A.J. Florus caught four for 42 yards.
Shiner will play D'Hanis (7-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Alamodome. Flatonia takes on Center Point (8-2) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Wimberley.
GAME STATISTICS Shiner Flatonia First Downs 14 12 Yards Rushing 37-174 31-74 Yards Passing 131 167 Passes 4-10-0 12-19-0 Punts 2-33 4-36 Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-1 Penalties 8-55 7-50 Shiner 0 6 3 14 -- 23 Flatonia 0 14 0 8 -- 22 SCORING DETAILS First Quarter none Second Quarter F - Kurt Kainer 13 run (A.J. Florus kick), 11:48 S - Eric Murphy 78 pass from Garet Pustka (kick blocked), 11:30 F - Galen Dunk 9 pass from William Richter (Florus kick), 0:30 Third Quarter S - R.J. Lester 23 field goal, 2:43 Fourth Quarter F - Dunk 38 pass from Richter (Richter run), 11:51 S - Pustka 2 run (Lester kick), 4:19 S - Quentin Wright 7 run (Lester kick, 0:09)