SHINER - Shiner and Mason are three hours apart.
Shiner's Dadrian Taylor jumps over players during a District 15-2A, Division I matchup against Refugio.
[ click photo to enlarge ]
photo by Bonnie Arbittier, Victoria Advocate
But the Comanches have played the Punchers more times than District 15-2A, Division I rival Refugio.
"It's built up a good rivalry," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. "This hasn't been an ugly one at all. The players have gotten along well and it's been clean games on the field. The coaches talk. But at the same time, we both want to win, and we look forward to it."
No. 17 Shiner (8-3) and No. 11 Mason (9-2) will meet for the sixth time in the last seven years in an area round game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pflugerville's Kuempel Stadium.
"It's a huge rivalry," said Shiner senior Wyatt Rankin. "We're all going to come out prepared for what we bring because we all study and do our research. We have a good package, and I have a lot of faith in us."
Shiner and Mason played five consecutive times in the playoffs from 2010 through 2014.
Mason owns a 3-2 edge, including a 44-20 decision in the 2014 area round.
"I remember they were very physical and fast," said Rankin, who played in the 2013 and 2014 games. "They had some guys who got after it. We respect them because of that."
Cerny hasn't seen much difference in this year's Mason team, which lost non-district games to Iraan and Goldthwaite.
"It's a typical Mason team," he said. "They run multiple formations offensively with very, big strong linemen and physical kids and they like to just come at you and play physical football."
Shiner vs. Mason Playoff History
2010 regional: Mason 28, Shiner 21
2011 quarterfinal: Mason 55, Shiner 7
2012 quarterfinal: Shiner 21, Mason 3
2013 area: Shiner 14, Mason 13
2014 area: Mason 44, Shiner 20
2016 area: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pflugerville Kuempel Stadium
The Shiner players also know what to expect.
"They're a hard-playing football team," said senior Ryan Panus. "They were really big up front. You've got to play a lot of technique. You've got to play technique and play hard."
The Comanches should benefit from playing a non-district schedule that included Goliad, Hallettsville and Hitchcock and district foes Yorktown and Refugio.
"If we were coming into this game without having played a physical team, it wouldn't be too good," Rankin said. "But we've had experience so it should be fine."
The game will mark the third time Shiner and Mason have met in the area round.
They met once in the regional round and twice in the quarterfinals.
Cerny would prefer the teams play in a later round, but has no control over the bracket.
"It's a crazy matchup," he said. "How would you like to be Mason? They're getting first place and they're matched up with one of the teams from our district like that right away as well. To win it all, you've got to go through everybody. It doesn't matter if you meet them early or late, you've got to bring your best game."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org