SHINER — A young Lane Nevlud could only imagine what it would be like to play for Shiner when he sat in the stands at Comanche Stadium.
Shiner celebrates after defeating Hearne in the Class 2A, Division I area round in Giddings on Friday, November 23, 2018. photo by Angela Piazza, Victoria Advocate chief photographer
[ click on any photo to enlarge ]
The reality has turned out to be even more special than Nevlud envisioned.
“It’s a dream come true,” Nevlud said. “Growing up I had a bunch of cousins and role models. I looked up to guys like Jacob Stafford and Chad Neubauer and to finally get to play for my town means a lot.”
Nevlud has had an impact for four years and has made his senior season a special one by helping to lead the Comanches (11-1) into Friday’s Class 2A, Division I regional playoff game against Refugio (10-2) at San Antonio’s Farris Stadium.
“We’ve been saying since our eighth-grade year that this group could make a run,” Nevlud said. “We had a really good group of guys and now we have underclassmen who contribute. It’s just everybody working together.”
Nevlud has set the pace from his middle linebacker position. He recorded 80 tackles during the regular season, including 35 solo stops, had four sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered one.
“He’s one of those quiet guys who does everything right,” said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. “He loves the game. He works hard at everything he does and he’s just a good leader. He might not be one of the most vocal ones, but definitely his work ethic is unbelievable.”
Shiner had to work hard to navigate a difficult non-district schedule before rolling through District 15 play.
But the biggest lesson the Comanches learned came in their lone setback against Lexington, where they took a 14-0 lead before losing 35-21.
“We learned it takes four quarters to beat a really good team like Lexington,” Nevlud said. “We know that’s every week now in the playoffs were going to have to put together a complete game. We learned a lot about ourselves. How mentally tough we are and it’s definitely prepared us for a game like this.”
The Comanches recognized a third-round meeting with their former district rival was all but inevitable.
“We kind of planned on it all-year long,” Nevlud said. We knew the situation and we knew if we kept winning that Refugio was going to win so a potential great matchup in the third round.
“We know what Refugio’s all about,” he added. “They’re well coached, they’re physical and fast and they get after you. We know what to expect come game time.”
The Bobcats are well aware of Nevlud and his teammates.
“He’s a ballplayer, man,” said Refugio lineman Armonie Brown. “He’s a ballplayer. We know what we’re coming into.”
Nevlud knows if the Comanches get past Refugio, they’ll likely face a matchup with top-ranked Mason in the quarterfinals.
“That’s just part of being in Region IV,” he said. “All these powerhouse teams and all you can say is take it one week at a time and when the time comes we’ll be battle-tested and ready to play the next round.”
|Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Piazza is chief photographer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact her at 361-574-1222 or email@example.com