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Shiner looks to continue late-season success (w/video)

By MIKE FORMAN
Dec. 5, 2013 at 6:05 a.m.

Shiner's Jacob Stafford, right,  eludes a Ganado defender during the Comanches' District 15-1A, Division I, game.

Class 1A, Division I Quarterfinal

• Thorndale Bulldogs vs. Shiner Comanches

• 7:30 p.m. Friday, Buda Shelton Stadium

• Radio: KYKM, 94.3 FM

• Internet: texasthunderradio.com

SHINER - Shiner coach Steven Cerny wasn't upset when the Comanches entered District 15-1A, Division I play with a 3-2 record.

Losses to Hallettsville and Schulenburg knocked Shiner out of the state poll, but Cerny had bigger goals in mind.

"I never get too concerned early in the year," Cerny said. "I think sometimes with summer weight programs and everything that goes on, kids can get burned out. We don't put that much emphasis on the early part of it. We don't even condition that hard early. We come out slow, hoping that the kids will work themselves in shape, and then we get after it as the season goes along."

Cerny's philosophy has paid off in the past, and it has again this season.

Shiner has won six of its last seven games heading into its third straight quarterfinal appearance.

The Comanches (9-3) will take on Thorndale (9-2) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Shelton Stadium in Buda.

"I guess it kind of takes us a while to get in a groove and get used to doing stuff," said senior lineman Tanner Pietsch. "We're playing better. We've got a different mindset since Ganado."

Shiner dropped a 20-7 decision to Ganado, which cost it the district title and put it in what figured to be a tougher playoff bracket.

"When we lost to Ganado, it hurt," Cerny admitted. "We lost the chance to win the district. It hurt our pride a little bit. Our kids made a commitment to come back the next week and get after it and try to do the things right we were doing wrong."

Shiner completed district with a win over Yorktown and cruised past Santa Maria in the bi-district round before upsetting state-ranked Mason 14-13 in the area round.

"We were saying that was one of the biggest games we were going to have all year," Pietsch said. "We all came through and played as hard as we could."

Cerny knows Shiner will need a similar effort against a Thorndale team that has eliminated district foes Kenedy and Ganado.

The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Riley Schaefer, who has passed for 2,142 yards and 26 touchdowns, and receiver Colton Austin, who has 41 receptions for 780 yards and 14 touchdowns.

"Their quarterback is a great athlete," Cerny said. "They use a lot of timing with motion and stuff, and he does a great job of that. Not only can he throw the ball, he scrambles well. He buys time, and if needs to, he can tuck it and run."

The Comanches will rely on their veer offense led by quarterback Jacob Stafford (798 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns), Marcus Coleman (1,046 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns) and Chad Neubauer (799 yards rushing, six touchdowns) that has produced 2,935 yards of rushing behind a veteran offensive line.

"We kind of knew that we were going to be looked upon as the strength of the team," Pietsch said. "The whole line has come up and played its best and has been doing it all year."

If Shiner is able to defeat Thorndale, it could create a rematch with Mart in the semifinals.

Mart (9-3) plays Bosqueville (10-3) on Friday night at Waco LaVega.

The Panthers defeated the Comanches 42-7 last season.

"We've talked about it a little bit, not much," Cerny said. "The fact against Mart, we played them really well in the first half, and we kind of ran out of gas. That's what I've been preaching with each game. You've got to play four quarters. Don't take any breaks."

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