When the sweltering heat of two-a-day practices made dreams of playing football in sweater weather a welcome diversions Shiner football coaches spoke of taking things one practice and one day at a time.
Shiner players drill in preparation for Friday's playoff game vs. Mason in Georgetown. Victoria Advocate photo
At the time, the recent past, nor the near future, mattered much to the Comanches.
That is why they have won six straight games, and why no one is too concerned with revenge in Friday's Class 1A, Division I quarterfinal against undefeated Mason.
Playing in the present has allowed the Shiner defense to remain focused despite offensive inconsistencies through the first half of the season. During their winning streak the Comanches have allowed just 32 points, with 14 of those coming in Saturday's 42-14 regional win over Winters.
"There were times we were turning the ball over and they were asked to get right back on the field,' said Shiner football coach Steve Cerny. "They might have given up some points, but I would still attribute that to our offense not executing well and doing its job."
The secondary including senior safety Blaine Caka and junior Brady Cejka has produced more turnovers; the defensive line has occupied opposing linemen to the point that linebackers Jacob Stafford and Max Huth have constantly been able to rack up double-digit tackles during the streak.
Mason vs. Shiner
1986 Regional : Shiner 30-0
1989 Bi-District: Shiner 42-7
2010 Regional: Mason 28-21
Even on this playoff run the Comanches have fumbled the football 11 times and thrown a pair of interceptions. Only Winters was able to make the Comanches pay for those mistakes, scoring a pair of touchdowns off Shiner turnovers.
Mason might be greedier with the football than the Blizzards were last week. Though being held by Ganado to just seven points in their regional round victory, the Punchers still have one David Mora lining up for them.
Mora ran for 290 yards and three touchdowns when these teams met a year ago in the regional round. Despite trailing twice in that game, the Punchers wound up winning 28-21, largely due to Mora's 44 carries.
Though Mora hobbled off in the third quarter against Ganado, his coach Kade Burns said, in the aftermath of the game, his stud would be fine.
"He's one of the best kids I have ever coached. He's humble, he's a hard-worker. He knows what it takes to win," Burns said. ".He's not big, he's not fast, but he's a ball player.
SHINER COMANCHES VS. MASON PUNCHERS
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Birkelbach Field, Georgetown.
Radio: KYKM 92.5 FM & KTXM, 99.9 FM
"Teams know that they have to stop him. He's going to get his carries. Obviously he's going to get a lot of touchdowns, but he's one of the best kids I have ever coached - it's not about talent, it's about people."
Cerny said Mora might be one of the best in Class 1A, but he does not run for nearly 5,500 yards and 76 touchdowns the past two years without an excellent and physical offensive line. The veteran Shiner coach said Friday's victor might be decided inside.
"Their strength is their line, from tight end to tight end," Cerny said. "They are big, strong, quick and athletic. It's going to be a great challenge for our D-line this week."