SHINER - Dalton Brooks has one state championship ring, and he'd like to have another.
Dalton Brooks runs past Hallettsville defenders to score a touchdown during Shiner's season-opening 21-6 victory on Friday, August 27, 2021 at Brahma Memorial Stadium. all photos by Emree Weaver, Victoria Advocate photojournalist
[ click on any photo to enlarge ]
But Brooks hasn't forgotten the work Shiner put in to win the Class 2A, Division I state championship last season.
"You've got to come out hungry," said Brooks, a junior. "You've got to come out wanting to win every game. You've got to have it in the back or your head that it's win or go home. Once the playoffs hit, you've got one opportunity every week. If you miss out on that opportunity, then it's time to go home."
The No. 2 Comanches (10-0) begin their playoff run with a bi-district game against Harper (7-3) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at San Antonio Davenport Stadium.
The game is a rematch of last year's bi-district contest, which Shiner won 72-12.
"Our kids expect to compete and get into the playoffs and give themselves a chance to make good runs," said Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker. "Obviously, they're not satisfied with where we are right now. We have higher goals and right now they're working really hard to accomplish them."
Shiner lost 24 seniors from last year's team and has steadily improved throughout the season. The Comanches extended their regular-season winning streak to 32 games.
"We've progressed a lot," said senior A.J. Patek. "At the beginning of the season, we started off with a new offensive line...We've really come together on the offensive line and started working together. We're working as a unit and starting to stay low. Defensively, we tackle a lot better than we did at the beginning of the season. All of it's coming together."
Boedeker knows the key to making another playoff run is to stay healthy and avoid distractions.
"There's not as much depth as we had last year, but the mentality is the same," Boedeker said. "They have high expectations of themselves and they come out to work and they enjoy being around each other so a lot of that is similar."
Brooks would love to end the season the same way he did last year, celebrating with his teammates at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
"We want to go down the same path," he said. "I want the people who weren't there to experience what it feels like to be there. It's not so much for myself, it's for the people who were not there."
Shiner's Doug Brooks breaks through Hallettsville defenders on Friday, August 27, 2021 at Brahma Memorial Stadium. Shiner's Eli Fric carries the ball after making an interception on Friday, August 27, 2021 at Hallettsville Brahma Memorial Stadium.
|Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org|
Emree Weaver is chief photographer at the Victoria Advocate.
Contact her at 361-580-6584 or email@example.com.