Shiner and Refugio know what's at stake in the Class 2A, Division I quarterfinals.
Refugio's Austin Moya, left, attempts to tackle Shiner quarterback Brandon Cerny during the District 15-2A opener.
[ NOTE: click on photo to enlarge ]
photo by Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate
No one understands the consequences better than the seniors.
"That's in the back of my mind how each one of these games could be my last," said Shiner's Alex Bujnoch. "It's just a matter of how I approach it."
"I want to make it last," said Refugio's Daidrin Dukes, "and make every second count."
One team will head to the semifinals, and the other will be done for the season when the District 15-2A foes meet for the second time this season and third time overall at 7:30 p.m. Friday (December 4, 2015) at San Antonio's Alamo Stadium.
"It was a preseason prediction, but at the same time a lot goes on in between that so you just kind of hope that you can hold up your part of the deal," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. "It just so happened this year that both teams did."
Class 2A, Division I
7:30 pm Friday, 12/4/2015
Alamo Stadium, San Antonio
KTXM, 99.9 FM
KTKO, 105.7 FM
The Comanches (13-0) left no doubt, capturing a 30-19 win over Refugio in the district opener (on October 9, 2015) and letting no other opponent come closer than 21 points.
"I think they're quite a bit better, especially when you have a bunch of kids playing both ways," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "You get in better game shape. I think both teams are playing extremely well. I mean, they've waxed everybody in the playoffs. They ran through a pretty good district and nobody really challenged them. I think they're here for a reason."
The Bobcats (11-2) lost to three-time defending state champion Cameron Yoe and Shiner during a three-week period filled with off-the-field drama.
But Refugio has won its last seven games by 29 points or more.
"They're very good," Cerny said. "They've been playing their up-tempo game and been able to do that. Everybody they've played since they've played us they've jumped on early and it hasn't been a close contest. I think they've really got things going."
Shiner lost starting quarterback Brandon Cerny to a foot injury a week after defeating Refugio.
Ty Boedeker moved from wide receiver to quarterback and filled in admirably.
Brandon Cerny practiced this week and Steven Cerny said the status of his son is day to day.
"It's going to be very important for us to capitalize offensively and control the clock," Steven Cerny said. "Defensively, we've to come up with some stops. They're a big-play team and you just can't give them those big plays."
Herring said the Bobcats have prepared as if Brandon Cerny will play.
But Herring's biggest concern is how his team performs on offense.
"Defense wasn't the problem that night," Herring said of the loss to Shiner. "We were horrendous on offense and a lot of the credit has to go to them. They do a great job on defense. We need to play the same way we did on defense and don't give up the big play. Offensively just do what we've been doing the last few weeks."
The players have had two months to reflect on the teams' previous meeting and have learned valuable lessons.
"Knowing that we beat them the first time, we know that it isn't going to be any cakewalk," Bujnoch said. "I don't think they're going to give up a pick six (one of three Shiner interceptions) like they did last time. They're going to come out madder, meaner and it's just going to be for us if we can weather the storm."
"We don't feel invincible any more," said Refugio junior Trace Mascorro. "We know we can be beat if we do not play how we should play."
The winner advances to the semifinals against the winner of Friday's Region III 2A final game between Shelbyville (12-0) and Lovelady (13-0) in Nacogdoches.
Refugio will be the home team. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. District 15-2A, Texas High School Coaches Association and senior passes will be accepted.
Mike Forman is a sports writer for The Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at email@example.com.