All Shiner coach Billy Turek has to do is look around on the sideline to finally come to grips with what took place in February of 2000.
"I guess we're a true Class 1A school," Turek said.
Shiner may have officially dropped from Class 2A to 1A in the University Interscholastic League's latest reclassification. But for much of last season, it seemed as if the Comanches were still a Class 2A team playing a 1A schedule as they cruised through District 30-1A competition and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Burkeville.
Times have changed for Shiner, which will visit Charlotte on Friday in a battle for the district lead.
The Comanches dropped out of the Class 1A state poll after going 2-2 in non-district competition against three Class 2A and one 3A opponents.
Shiner has opened district play with two wins. But as last week's 22-8 victory over D'Hanis proved, the wins haven't come without a struggle.
"We're doing all right," Turek said. "It just hasn't been easy."
Shiner's biggest problem is one Class 1A schools have dealt with for years. The Comanches have very little depth and have been beset with critical injuries.
Shiner has played much of the year without five starters and three are gone for the season. Cornerback Josh Smith injured his eye in the season opener against Schulenburg, tight end Desmond Brooks injured his knee against Weimar and defensive end Josh Burchell is still recovering from a concussion he suffered in the Weimar game.
Shiner also lost center/defensive end Rudy Moreno for two games because of a concussion.
But the most critical loss was sophomore quarterback Garet Pustka, who dislocated his finger during the Weimar game and didn't return until Shiner's 58-7 district-opening win over Runge.
"Pustka was the only quarterback we had who has been brought up with the veer," Turek said. "We couldn't move the ball."
Shiner also had problems holding on to the ball. In its first four games, it fumbled 25 times and lost 16. In its last two games, Shiner has lost only two fumbles, leaving it with a turnover ratio of minus-10.
"I guess we're not doing too bad to be 4-2," Turek said. "We're kind of getting back on track."
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.
Shiner currently has 19 players on its varsity roster and has seven players going both ways. Among them are the tandem of senior Bryan Franklin and freshman Chris Baer, who have combined to rush for 758 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"We're not as talented as we've been," Turek said. "But with Pustka back, we're moving the ball. We've given up 82 points, but our defense is responsible for only 57 of those. Our defense has basically held its own."