SHINER — District titles aren’t decided in early October. But come late in the season when a champion is crowned, fans will point at this game as the decider as Shiner St. Paul knocked off the Boerne Geneva Eagles Friday night, 20-17, to stay undefeated this season.
St. Paul's Joseph Natal (20) leads the Cardinals football team onto the field at Comanche Stadium.
[ NOTE: click any photo to enlarge ]
all photos by José Torres, Gonzales Inquirer Sports
Last year, St. Paul’s lone district loss came against Boerne Geneva who hadn’t lost a regular season game in two years. Last Friday produced different results, with the Cardinals taking the win as they won the time of possession battle while also pressuring Eagles’ quarterback Will Langenbahn.
“[They’re] a very good team,” Cardinals’ head coach Jake Wachsmuth said of the Eagles. “They were the district champs last year, two years of the regular season without losing any regular season games, that’s a good team and we knew that.”
On offense, the Cardinals used their running attack by using up the clock and limiting Boerne Geneva’s possessions.
After forcing a punt, St. Paul went on a 10-play, 76-yard touchdown drive that took five minutes of game clock. The Cardinals’ defense forced a three-and-out the next possession, then the offense went on a 13-play, 55-yard touchdown drive that used up another six minutes of game clock.
“The end of the first half, each team had the ball three times,” Wachsmuth noted. “That’s kind of what we wanted to do with them as far as limiting possessions. I’m not saying it always works out that way but it did tonight.”
Up 13-10 at the half, the Cardinals defense began to break through Boerne Geneva’s line some more forcing four sacks in the second half.
“[We] mixed it up some [on defense],” Wachsmuth explained. “Brought pressure, sometimes played coverage, just tried to keep them in different waves and obviously they had a few [big] plays on us but they’re just too good of a team.”
“We got a little bit behind the sticks a few times with penalties but when we’re able to just do three or four yards, “ he continued, “just keep getting first downs, that was a big thing.”
Those big plays came in late when the Cardinals, up 20-10, drove down the field with five minutes left in the game. Shiner St. Paul made it to the three-yard-line before throwing a drive-ending interception, giving the Eagles the ball at their own 34 with 1:23 left in the game.
“That was probably not a great call by me down there, I think we had guys open but probably the thing to do was do what we do,” Wachsmuth said. The team ended with 268 rushing yards total, mostly from Conor Kresta who ran 30 times for 175 yards and three touchdowns.
“We got to get better passing the ball,” he continued. “When I say that, that’s not a criticism of River [Haynes], that’s blocking, catching, the whole thing.”
The Eagles then hit big play after big play, finally getting into the end zone with five seconds left on the clock. The Cardinals were able to recover the onside kick, ultimately winning the game 20-17.
This week ( Friday, October 13, 2017 ), Shiner St. Paul (5-0, 2-0) will take on Schertz John Paul II (2-3, 1-0) on the road, with kickoff set at 7:30 p.m.
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Cardinal cheerleader Lillie Bell leads cheers for the football team before the game.
Shiner-area first responders were honored before St. Paul's homecoming game at Comanche Stadium
St. Paul running back Conor Kresta looks for some daylight.
"St. Paul defensive back Kai Geise (2) lines up ready to cover a Geneva receiver.
St. Paul running back Tre'zell Jenkins-Perry (8) is tackled by a Geneva defender.
Shiner St. Paul head football coach Jake Wachsmuth addresses his team during a break in the action.
St. Paul quarterback River Haynes (17) evades a Geneva defender.
St. Paul running back Conor Kresta (7) breaks across the line of scrimmage behind his blockers.