The real winner in District 27-1A could be the fans.
The University Interscholastic League created a competitive district that includes three playoff teams and two teams dropping down from Class 2A. The UIL also set the stage for some intriguing games.
"We've got some true rivalries in this district," Shiner coach Steven Cerny said. "A lot of these teams played each other and now they'll be district games. It's going to be fun.
Shiner and Flatonia continued their long-running district rivalry last season. Ganado and Louise and Burton and Somerville will play district games this season after meeting as non-district opponents last season.
Shiner defeated Flatonia and Louise, but the Bulldogs and Hornets also made the playoffs and advanced to the area round.
"I felt like we were a really young team last year," Flatonia coach David Sine said. "Getting in the playoffs was our goal and we exceeded that. We've had two years of the coaching staff being intact and another year of experience. That should help across the board."
Louise coach Mark Stevens knows what's in store for the Hornets, who suffered a pair of close losses to Ganado after renewing the Battle of Highway 59 in 2006.
"We could have a better football team and it not show in wins and losses," Stevens said. "We've definitely got to raise the level of our play just because our schedule is so much tougher."
Ganado suffered some hard knocks as the smallest school in an eight-team Class 2A district the last two seasons and welcomes the drop to 1A.
"It's fresh," Ganado coach Mike Rabe said. "We're stepping down in classification, we're playing new people in the pre-district schedule so the whole thing has kind of changed right now"
Not much is new for Shiner, which will play one Class 3A and four Class 2A teams before beginning district competition.
"The No. 1 thing for us is to get through our non-district schedule injury free," Cerny said. "If we can do that, we could be pretty good." _
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at email@example.com.