Shiner coach Steven Cerny admits he still is somewhat taken aback whenever he looks at the District 31-1A standings. "It's kind of weird to see Falls City and us last in offense and defense," Cerny said.
Shiner's Josh Nance (1) and the Comanches open District 31-1A competition on Friday against Louise. Districts 24-3A, 27-2A, 28-2A, 29-2A and 31-2A also begin league play this week. Contributed photo by Harry Reese
Falls City and Shiner were state-ranked coming into the season but will go into their respective District 31-1A openers Friday at the bottom of the standings with 1-3 records.
Shiner begins district play at home against Louise (2-2), while Falls City will travel to Woodsboro (3-1). The other district game has Flatonia (2-2) visiting Charlotte (2-2), while Pettus (4-0) has an open date before hosting Shiner next week.
"Our boys know that each week is going to be hard," Cerny said. "They know we're going to have to do all the little things right to win."
Cerny has done his best to maintain a positive vibe despite a number of critical injuries, which helped contribute to the rugged start. Shiner lost starters D.J. Pustka and Kevin Patek for the season before playing a game and dropped their first three games to Class 2A opponents Schulenburg, Brazos Consolidated, and East Bernard, who have combined 10-1 record, by a combined score of 135-62.
But despite losing lineman Michael Cowan to a leg injury suffered during practice, the Comanches bounced back for a 17-0 win over previously unbeaten Thrall last Friday night.
"It was good for the kids," Cerny said of the win. "They've worked pretty hard. We really stressed defense and being more aggressive and attacking more. Defensively, there's no doubt we made a big improvement. We've had somebody hurt each week and we've never had a full deck. But the kids have rebounded each week."
Cerny expects a stern challenge from Louise. The Hornets opened the season with wins over Danbury and Shiner St. Paul before losing to Class 2A Ganado and Boling.
"Louise is a lot more physical than it has been in the past," Cerny said. "They look a lot like the Thrall team we just played with a lot more speed. I'm sure they're going to get after us." Cerny looks for every game to be a challenge with three playoff spots up for grabs for the first time in Class 1A.
"I really don't know who would be considered the favorite," Cerny said. "I know Falls City is going to be good. They've got a lot of good kids. Woodsboro's always got speed and Pettus has been playing well. I think every team has got a chance. It's up for grabs."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.