SHINER - Shiner and Industrial will open the season for the fifth consecutive year.
But Shiner coach Steven Cerny admits he is not sure what to expect from the Cobras and first-year head coach Jeff Rogers when the teams meet in Vanderbilt.
"The first game is scary even when it is the same coach," Cerny said. "The scrimmages are very vanilla, and anybody that's put new wrinkles in really doesn't show it. So you go in blind that first game, and they kind of do it as well."
Twenty-six area games are on the schedule Friday, and the reality has begun to sink in.
"From Monday starting school every week, that's what you look for is Friday night," said Shiner senior lineman Dillon Kalina. "Then, you start over again Monday."
The last time Shiner took the field was in December at the Class 1A, Division I state championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The Comanches lost to Stamford, but Cerny expects to reap benefits from the long playoff run.
"The thing is, you bring some of your JV kids up, and they're getting that extra work along with your guys who have been starting all year long," he said. "It's a big plus. You know some people get spring training. That was our spring training."
Shiner has traditionally been a slow starter and could be again this year as it plays five non-district games against teams from larger classifications with one of the smallest rosters in the 13 years Cerny has been the head coach.
"We try to create a lot of depth early, so we play a lot of people at different positions and make sure we have backups," Cerny said. "We're just real slow in our approach whether it's the conditioning or getting our playing in we just keep things real simple early. It's worked for us, so we haven't really changed it."
The game-time formula will also be the same for the Comanches. They will rely on their veer offense and a stout defense.
"We've got good balance on offense," Kalina said. "Defensively, we're real quick to the ball. You have guys flying to the ball on defense, and you're going to stop them."
Shiner goes into every season expecting to make a playoff run, and this season is no different.
"We got the taste, and we've just got to finish it off this year," said senior running back Tyler Patek. "I'm just ready for football. Fall is the best time of the year."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for The Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at email@example.com.