HEWITT - Shiner St. Paul was simply looking for one stop at a time against the high-powered Arlington Grace Prep offense in Friday's ( December 2, 2016 ) TAPPS Division IV state title game at Waco Midway Panther Stadium.
Shiner St. Paul's Conor Kresta jumps over Arlington Grace Prep defenders during Friday's ( December 2, 2016 ) TAPPS Division IV state title game at Waco Midway Panther Stadium.
[ click photo to enlarge ]
all photos by Stephanie Steinhauser
And those stops came when it mattered most, including a pair of big fourth-quarter turnovers from the defense to help secure a 49-34 victory and the Cardinals' second straight state championship.
"We faced a very good football team today, and we were just trying to find a way to get a stop any way we could," said Shiner St. Paul coach Jake Wachsmuth. "We got some turnovers at crucial times, and we did what we needed to do to win a very tough ballgame."
The win gave St. Paul its sixth overall state championship.
St. Paul (11-3) got touchdowns off both turnovers, including a game-clinching 55-yard fumble return by Joseph Natal off a sack by Cole Brown to put St. Paul up by 15 points with under a minute to play.
St. Paul used that opportunistic defense and a bruising ground game to match Grace Prep (9-5) on the scoreboard, including a big day from halfback Conor Kresta.
Kresta rushed 42 times for 336 yards and five touchdowns, including a pair of scoring runs in the third quarter to help post a 35-34 lead going to the fourth quarter.
In that final quarter, St. Paul's defense turned up the heat in forcing a fumble near midfield with just under six minutes to play. The turnover led to a 4-yard scoring run by Kresta and a 42-34 lead with 1:48 remaining.
That set the stage for Natal's fumble return that allowed St. Paul to salt away the state title win.
St. Paul finished the game with three forced turnovers, all leading to touchdowns, while the team piled up 470 yards rushing to help control the game's tempo.
Austin Barton rushed 12 times for 62 yards.
The Cardinals finished with zero passing yards compared to Grace Prep's 332.
Jeremiah Tucker rushed for 107 yards on 13 carries for Grace Prep. He completed 20 of 22 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns.
|Shiner St. Paul's Joseph Natal, left, tackles an Arlington Grace Prep receiver during Friday's TAPPS Division IV state final game at Waco Midway Panther Stadium.||Shiner St. Paul's Conor Kresta runs against Arlington Grace Prep defenders during Friday's TAPPS Division IV state title game at Waco Midway Panther Stadium.||Shiner St. Paul's Alex Hull receives his medal (from former St. Paul assistant coach Jonathan Pesek) after the Cardinals won the TAPPS Division IV state title.|
|Shiner St. Paul coach Jake Wachsmuth holds up the TAPPS Division IV state championship trophy after his Cardinals defeated Arlington Grace Prep.||The Shiner St. Paul Cardinals celebrate their second straight TAPPS state title.||The Shiner St. Paul Cardinals gather to show off their second straight TAPPS state title. (photo by Lori Raabe)|
GAME STATISTICSsource: https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/sports/games/results/football/shiner-st-paul-at-arlington-grace-prep/6606/ Shiner St. Paul 49 vs. Arlington Grace Prep 34 December 2, 2016, 12:00 noon Waco Midway Panther Stadium, Hewitt SCORING SUMMARY 1 2 3 4 F Shiner St. Paul 7 14 14 14 -- 49 Arlington Grace Prep 7 20 7 0 -- 34 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter GP – Brendan Walters 4 run (Jay Sedwick kick good), 10:43. SP – Conor Kresta 13 run (Frank Benes kick good), 1:34. Second Quarter SP – Joseph Natal 36 run (Benes kick good), 10:03. GP – Jeremiah Tucker 14 run (Sedwick kick good), 8:46. SP – Kresta 1 run (Benes kick good;, 1:46. GP – M. Tucker 24 pass from J. Tucker (Sedwick kick good), 0:56. GP – Brendan Walters 10 pass from J. Tucker (Sedwick kick blocked), 0:08. Third Quarter SP – Kresta 53 run (Benes kick good), 10:03. GP – M. Tucker 14 pass from J. Tucker (Sedwick kick good), 7:29. SP – Kresta 5 run (Benes kick good), 3:38. Fourth Quarter SP – Kresta 4 run (Benes kick good), 1:48. SP – Natal 52 yard fumble return (Benes kick good), 0:40. TEAM STATISTICS: St. Paul Grace Prep First Downs 20 20 Yards Rushing 63-470 16-110 Yards Passing 0 332 Passes 5-0-0-0 23-21-0-0 Fumbles-Lost 3-0 3-3 Penalties-Yards 3-35 8-50 Punts-Average 0 0 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing Player Rush Yd Y/R St Paul Austin Barton 12 62 5.16 Conor Kresta 42 336 8.00 Joseph Natal 6 22 3.66 Ryan Malinovsky 3 22 7.33 Grace Prep Matthew Tucker 1 1 1.00 Brenden Walters 2 2 1.00 Jeremiah Tucker 13 107 8.23 Passing Player Comp Att Pct Yd Int St Paul Austin Barton 0 0 0.0% 0 0 Grace Prep Jeremiah Tucker 20 2 90.9% 312 0 Receiving Player Recv Yd Avg St Paul none Grace Prep Matthew Tucker 7 91 13.0 Brenden Walters 3 72 24.0 Jay Sedwick 0 4 - Jerry Davis 3 57 19.0