SHINER - There are going to be quite a few new faces in the starting lineup for the Shiner Comanches this season, but head coach Steven Cerny is stopping short of using the dreaded "R" word.
Shiner head coach Steven Cerny, left, and defensive coordinator Billy Turek talk during a recent practice. The coaching staff has spent the preseason workout period retooling a roster that returns only seven starters. T.C. Baker, Advocate Staff Photographer
"I don't like the term rebuilding year, and we're not rebuilding this year," Cerny said, pausing briefly. "We're reloading."
The Comanches are reloading because they graduated most of last season's lineup that went 10-3 and 6-0 in district and made it to the regional round in the Class 1A playoffs. With only three starters coming back on offense and four on defense, there is plenty of reloading to do going into what should be a very competitive district.
"We have a lot to work on early on," Cerny said. "We're looking to be ready for district. This group has potential. It's just a matter of how bad they want it."
Junior Kyle Condel will take the helm at quarterback. At 200 pounds, Condel is as large as many of the linemen at the Class 1A level and has impressed the coaches in the opening weeks of practice. He'll be joined in the backfield by running backs D. J. Pustka and Dexter Mayberry
AT A GLANCE
HEAD COACH: Steve Cerny -- fifth season (51-7), all at Shiner.
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 10-3, 6-0 in District 31-1A.
RETURNING LETTERMEN: 16.
RETURNING STARTERS: 7 -- 3 offense, 4 defense.
LAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 2005 - lost to Chilton 24-0 in Class 1A regional
"Those guys in the backfield look real good, but depth concerns me," Cerny said. "We don't really know what we have in the young guys behind them."
Josh Nance is the lone returning starter at wide receiver, but the new starters aren't exactly green. Nance is joined by the senior trio of Cody Curtis, Jesse Lazano, and Cullan Cowen in Shiner's receiving corps.
2006 SHINER COMANCHE FOOTBALLDate Time Team Last Year Sep 1 7:30 at Schulenburg DNP Sep 8 7:30 at Brazos Cons. DNP Sep 15 7:30 East Bernard L 13-10 Sep 22 7:30 Thrall DNP Sep 29 7:30 * Louise W 24-21 Oct 6 7:30 * at Pettus W 21-0 Oct 13 OPEN Oct 20 7:30 * Charlotte W 21-6 Oct 27 7:30 * at Woodsboro W 41-6 Nov 3 7:30 * FallsCity W 20-14 Nov 10 7:30 * at Flatonia W 20-17 * = District 30-1A game CLICK HERE FOR TEAM ROSTER
The offensive line is a concern for Cerny with only returning starter Kevin Patek at center a sure bet. "It's open competition on the rest of the line," Cerny said. "We're trying to give people shots in practice and during the scrimmages."
Cerny has done some juggling of his returning starters on defense and hopes the moves will pay off. Derrick Richter moves from linebacker to defensive end to help bolster the pass rush. Mark Casteel will line up at the opposite end, with Michael Cowen at nose tackle.
Chase Veit moves from middle linebacker to the outside spot vacated by Richter. Cerny called Veit the most aggressive player on the defense and said that he's added some quickness in the offseason. Dalton Handley provides some size at 215 pounds from the middle linebacker position, and Patek will set up at the outside linebacker spot.
"This group has potential. It's just a matter of how bad they want it."
Steven Cerny, Shiner head coach
There is still some competition in the secondary, but Cerny said Nance and Kevin Blaschke should start at cornerback.
"We've got a big junior class this year, and they're the class we're counting on," Cerny said. "We look good now, but you can't see if you're really good until Friday night."
Billy Mau is the assistant sports editor for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6508, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.