Shiner vs. Iola
Class 1A, Division I Quarterfinal
Today, 6:00pm, Burger Center, Austin
Shiner coach Steven Cerny usually looks at Texas Football magazine early in the week to check out the Comanches' next playoff opponent.
Cerny read about Iola this week but he passed by the Class 1A coverboy story, which really didn't matter since he already knew enough about Rex McDougald, Iola's 295-pound running back and linebacker.
"We're trying to figure out what we've got to do to tackle him," Cerny said of McDougald, who has committed to Baylor, where he is expected to play on the offensive or defensive line. "I know we've got to hit him low. You can't hit him high. It will definitely take more than one person."
Tackling McDougald will only be one of the challenges facing Shiner (8-4) when it takes on Iola (8-3) in a Division I quarterfinal game today at 6 p.m. at Austin's Burger Center.
"They've got a few more weapons to go with him," Cerny said of the Bulldogs. "They're pretty quick. They like to pound him (McDougald) in there and then go with those other guys."
Iola's "other guys" include running back Casey Giles, who has set the school career rushing record with 5,138 yards. Giles, who has rushed for 1,529 vards and 22 touchdowns this season, had six runs of over 20 yards while rushing for 226 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 28-21 regional win over Granger.
"We're going to have to be ready for everything." Cerny said, They have a lot of size. even on the offensive line. I'm sure we'll see a power game. But they like to throw in that misdirection. They're kind of like us when it comes to throwing the ball. They run, run, and all of a sudden, here it comes."
Cerny is concerned about moving the ball consistently against Iola's defense.
"They run a split (defense) but they like to mix things up." Cerny said. "I'm sure there will be times when they drop a linebacker and give us a nose (guard). They have more size than we have on the line. They should be prepared for us because Granger also ran a split back veer."
Shiner threw only once in its 22-19 regional win over Brackettville, but it was a l5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Hibbs to tight end Derick Richter. Hibbs, who was making his second start, also rushed 15 times for 104 yards.
"I never know what we're going to do until we get into a game and see what they're doing," Cerny said, "We put a lot of time into our passing game in practice. If we have to do it, we'll do it. But as long as we can keep running the ball, we're going to do it."
Iola, like Shiner, has been no stranger to adversity this season. McDougald, who is the nephew of head coach Randy McDougald and the son of assistant coach Roddy McDougald, missed four games with an ankle injury and the Bulldogs struggled to make the playoffs, finishing in a three-way tie for second in District 25-1A.
"Considering that Rex was out for four games, we're just thankful to be here," Randy McDougald said. "I've never been in this tough a district before. We had to win three of our last four to get in and a lot of kids stepped up with Rex out."
The Comanches have overcome the loss of six starters to season-ending injuries and have won eight of their last nine games to advance to the quarterfinals for the third time in the last four years.
"They've got a history of being tough every year," McDougald said. "This is sort of a down year to them, with the kids getting hurt. A down year to them might be a once-in-a-lifetime deal to someone else."
The Bulldogs advanced to the quarterfinals last season and are attempting to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1998. Shiner is looking to make its third semifinal appearance in the last four years.
"Our kids definitely feel like they have just as good of a chance as anybody," Cerny said. "You're not going to ever be satisfied, you're always going to want more. Whenever you get the opportunity. you want to seize it."
NOTES: Shiner will be the home team ... Tickets at the gate will be $6 ... The game will be broadcast on KYKM, 92.5 FM ... The Shiner-Iola winner will play the winner of Friday night's Alto-Wolfe City quarterfinal game in the semifinals.
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at email@example.com.