Shiner and Refugio began practicing for their Class 2A, Division I regional playoff game Monday.
Shiner and Refugio watch the coin toss before last year’s (2017) District 15-2A, Division I game at Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium. photo by Angela Piazza, Victoria Advocate
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But the mental preparation started when the UIL released its reclassification and realignment in February.
“We had to take care of business obviously, but we knew if we won the district championship there was a good opportunity this would happen right when realignment came out,” said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. “We’ve been working for this.”
The Comanches (11-1) and Bobcats (10-2) will turn expectation into reality at 7:30 p.m. Friday at San Antonio’s Farris Stadium.
“I think it’s typical Shiner,” said Refugio coach Jason Herring. “The biggest difference I see is it’s the biggest, most physical front that we’ve played at Shiner and they seem to be playing with more confidence than in the past. They look more physical than the other Shiner teams because they’re bigger. They’re massive up front.”
The teams have played five times in the last five years, including once in the playoffs.
Refugio owns a 4-1 edge in the series, but for the first time, Shiner comes into the game as the team with the higher ranking.
“Rankings mean nothing,” Cerny said. “We’ve got a little rivalry going. They’ve beat us every time but the one, but we’ve played them close, and we got after them. Our kids are looking forward to this ballgame.”
Refugio has been getting ready for Shiner since beginning offseason drills.
The Bobcats originally went to an option offense before going back to the spread during their bye week with the Comanches in mind.
“That’s the reason we went to the other offense,” Herring said. “We went to that thinking it could be an equalizer — I’m just going to say; I think Shiner is the most talented team. They’ve got four senior linemen who have started three years in a row, they’ve got two of the best running backs in all of 2A, a three-year quarterback and of course, they play great defense. They’re a good, good football team.”
Cerny wasn’t surprised when Refugio went back to the spread, but was more concerned about matching the Bobcats physically.
“In those games we lost, we felt like we got physically whipped on the line,” he said. “It wasn’t that our effort wasn’t there. They committed to the weight room and that’s a big difference this year.”
Herring took notice of Shiner’s overall physicality and adjusted accordingly.
“When we made the change after Week 5, most coaches wouldn’t have done that,” Herring said. “In my mind, we had eight weeks, two months to get ready for Shiner.”
Shiner has been preparing for Refugio by following the same steady path.
“There are a lot of factors that can come into it,” Cerny said. “All you can dwell on is your team and the positives of what we’ve got to do. You can’t sit there and say, ‘If this happens or if that happens.’ You can’t worry about that. Just go out there and play your football and put it all on the line.”
NOTES: The Shiner-Refugio winner will advance to the quarterfinals against the winner of Friday’s Mason-Brazos game.
|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