The UIL added a fourth team to the Class 2A playoffs this season.
The change was well received in District 15-2A, Division I.
"Iím glad they added a fourth team to the playoffs," said Ganado coach Keith Wright. "There are easily that many good teams in this district."
The district was called "the little SEC" by many when it was formed before last season.
The teams went 19-11 in non-district competition Ė led by Refugio and Shiner, who combined to go 10-0.
"I think it was as tough as advertised," said Flatonia coach Chris Freytag. "I think some of the teams started off a little slow, but improved a lot. Honestly, thereís just a lot of athletes in the district. I expect every team in the district to be stronger this year."
With Wright returning to Ganado, he joins Refugioís Jason Herring, Shinerís Steven Cerny and Weimarís David Husmann as coaches who have led teams to state championships.
Refugio starts the season ranked No. 3 in the state poll, and Shiner is not far back at No. 7.
"We knew our big junior class was coming up, and we knew we would have a lot of speed," Cerny said. "But looking around the district, everybody had that same class that was strong. Weíve got our work cut out for us."
Refugio extended its district winning streak to 49 games last season, but had to go to overtime against Shiner to keep it alive.
"I think itís an awesome district from top to bottom," Herring said. "Itís one of the toughest districts Iíve ever been part of."
Refugio and Shiner displayed their dominance last season.
Weimar, Ganado and Schulenburg finished in a three-way for third last season, with Weimar claiming the playoff berth by virtue of the districtís points formula.
"Thatís the way it is until you knock off the big dogs and figure out how to get to that level," Wright said. "Weíre trying to figure out how to get to that level."
Refugio and Shiner each lost to Mason in the playoffs. Shiner fell in the area round, and Refugio was defeated in the quarterfinals.
The addition of a fourth team will eliminate the bi-district bye for the district champion, and Herring likes the change.
"I think with high school kids you like to stay in a rhythm and stay in schedule," he said. "We never liked a bye. We never play extremely well after a bye week."
2015 Shiner Comanches
Coach: Steven Cerny
Years at current school: 14
Record at current school: 133-41
Years as head coach: 14
Last yearís record: 10-2, 4-1 district
Last playoff appearance: 2014, area
Returning starters: WR/CB Justin Stovall, TE/DT Caleb Murrile, RB/MLB Chad Neubauer, OT Alex Bujnoch, OG/DE Marcus Rodriquez, OG Taylor Mraz, S Brandon Cerny, CB Ty Boedeker, NG Ryan Panus.