SHINER - Ask someone in Shiner how the football season's going and the answer is likely to depend on what side of town you're on.
Spirits couldn't be higher at St. Paul where the Cardinals are ranked No. 1 in the MaxPreps TAPPS Division IV poll after getting off to a 6-0 start.
The mood is more somber at Shiner High after the Comanches have begun the season 1-5.
The success St. Paul has enjoyed is hardly a surprise.
Shiner St. Paul
TAPPS Division IV, District 3:
7:30 p.m. Friday,
Shiner St. Paul
at Bryan Brazos Christian
The Cardinals returned a majority of starters from last season's team, which won the District 3 championship by ending a losing streak to Hallettsville Sacred Heart that dated back to 1989 and advanced to the regional playoffs before losing to Frisco Legacy Christian by one point.
"I think the kids were excited about the opportunity this year, but I also think they remembered the slow start that we had last year," said St. Paul coach Jake Wachsmuth. "They knew that it doesn't just happen. Beating Pettus in our first ballgame, that was really big because they turned out to be a really good football team.
"It's just a different maturity level as far as they have expectations but it seems like they know it just doesn't happen and you can attribute that to where we're at right now."
The Cardinals beat Pettus 37-31 before winning each of their next four games by 26 points or more, setting up last week's rematch against Austin Regents.
Regents was ranked No. 1 in Division III and had beaten St. Paul 35-20 last season.
The Cardinals got off to a good start against Regents and went on to a 55-34 win.
"It was a really big win confidence wise," said senior lineman Dustin Adamek. "They beat us last year pretty bad and we wanted to beat them."
Wachsmuth hopes the success the Cardinals have enjoyed will carry over into Friday night's district opener at Bryan Brazos Christian and beyond.
"We have to understand it's still a long haul and never to think that you're there," he said. "You always got to keep plugging away at it. There's so many little things that can keep popping up along the way. There's still a lot to be done and we've got to keep our concentration level."
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GO CARDINALS !
Shiner is off to its worst start in the 11 years it has competed in Class 1A.
District 15-1A, Division I:
7:30 p.m. Friday,
Shiner at Ganado
"We've lost people to injuries," said senior linebacker Joey Gamez. "We've had a number of people having to know different positions. Right when we think we're about to get a break, something else happens where someone else gets hurt.
"It's just a matter of getting used to each other and having to learn the spots better and getting more team chemistry."
With the exception of a lopsided loss to Class 3A Navarro, the Comanches have been competitive in every game.
"For a while it was our offensive line and they're starting to figure out our scheme and do a better job and now it seems like we're turning the ball over," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. "We haven't had any playmakers. There's been no big plays. We've got to start getting that. Somebody's got to start stepping up and getting big plays for us."
As difficult as the season's been, Cerny is proud of his players' effort heading into Friday night's District 15-1A, Division I opener at No. 5 Ganado.
He's also reminded them that the 2006 Shiner team started 1-3 before advancing to the quarterfinals.
"You see so many young guys and they have their heads down," Gamez said. "They have to realize when it's district, it's pretty much a new season."