Shiner's Trevion Flowers, center, escapes the tackle by Mart's Walker Love during first half action of a Conference 1A, Division I state semifinal playoff game at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Round Rock on Friday.
ROUND ROCK - Trevion Flowers had to be helped off the field in the second half in a serious amount of pain.
That wasn't enough to keep him out of the game. He was determined to return to the field.
The senior played last Friday and this one with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one knee.
"He gave it everything he had last week and (Friday), he tweaked it again," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. "There are not a lot of people who do that. He's a very gutsy individual. I was very proud of him."
Flowers finished with 108 all-purpose yards, but it wasn't enough, as the Comanches fell one game short of a state title berth, falling to Mart, 42-7, Friday night.
Shiner ends its season at 12-2.
Flowers ran for 26 yards on nine carries and caught a 14-yard pass from Jacob Stafford to set up Shiner's only touchdown. He threw for another 45 yards and returned a kickoff for 23 yards.
The problem for Shiner? Mart's De' Nerian Thomas ran for four touchdowns as well as scoring a fifth on an 86-yard interception return to lift the Panthers to a 42-7 victory over Shiner in the Class 1A, Division I semifinals.
"They are an outstanding football team," said Mart football coach Rusty Nail. "The score is not indicative of the football team they are."
Flowers opened the scoring three minutes into the second quarter when he plowed in from two yards away for his 15th rushing touchdown of the season.
Shiner's lead did not last long.
Before the game, the Comanches said they wanted to make the Panthers drive the length of the field. For 15 minutes, Shiner executed that goal. Mart didn't have a first down and wasn't a threat to break a big play.
Just as soon as the Panthers were able to extend a drive, the big play finally happened. Thomas escaped for a 51-yard touchdown run with 9:26 left in the second quarter to tie the game 7-7.
The teams traded punts until Thomas stepped in again. This time it was defensively.
Flowers lofted a pass, into the wind toward Jacob Stafford with just more than three minutes remaining in the first half with the score tied. Thomas ripped the ball away from him for an interception.
"He made a play, give him some credit," Cerny said about the interception. "Give Jacob some credit for getting up there and grabbing it. The other guy just came up with the ball."
The Panthers took over at their own 28-yard line. Thomas orchestrated a drive that culminated with his 32-yard touchdown run with 36 seconds left in the first half.
"I thought we played very well the first half, regardless of what people think," Cerny said. "We only gave up two big plays defensively. Other than that, we played really solid. Even with that, we came close to scoring right before the half to tie it up.
"In the first half, I thought it was a very good performance by us. In the second half, once they got the jump on us, you try to play catch up. It's tough when you go against a team with speed."
Thomas had plenty of that. He scored on runs of 50, 12 and 38 yards in the second half to finish with more than 200 on the night.
Friday's game was the fifth time in school history Shiner made the semifinals. Meanwhile, Mart, the 2010 Class 1A, Division I champions, were in the semifinals for the third straight year.
The Panthers averaged 60 points in three playoff victories, while Shiner conceded just 22 points on its path to the semifinals.
"They've accomplished a lot," Cerny said of his dozen players in his senior class. "Right now, we're all upset. You're so close to getting your goal, but at the same time, in a couple weeks, we're going to look back at it and say 'Guys not only did you have a great year, but you had a great year last year and your entire football career was great.'"