Shiner and Refugio have played four times, and each game has had great consequences.
Shiner's Collin Bujnoch is tackled by Refugio's Jamel LaFond during last season's game in Shiner.
[ click on any photo to enlarge ]
photos by Bonnie Arbittier for The Victoria Advocate
Three times the game has decided the district championship, and the other determined which team would advance to the state semifinals.
A District 15-2A, Division I title and the top seed in the playoffs will be on the line when the Comanches (7-1, 4-0) and Bobcats (7-1, 4-0) play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Refugio's Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium.
"Except for a couple of years, it's always been like a war," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "No matter we come in ranked, they come in ranked, it's just like a war."
Shiner has repeated its usual success despite beginning the season without an offensive starter playing the same position as last season.
"We started out with a lot of new faces and not a lot of experience," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. "But their hard work paid off. It was a combination of a lot of work in a lot of places. It was a matter of staying simple early and then becoming more complex as the season went along and they began to grasp the offense."
Herring noticed the improvement after looking at tape of Shiner's season-opening loss to Hallettsville and last week's win over Ganado.
"Based on what they lost, I was way, way impressed with them," Herring said. "But what do you expect? Those kids do everything right, they're well coached, they're very disciplined, they're very hard to run the football on. You're going to have to throw the ball to move the ball on them."
Refugio has had success throwing the football, but the Bobcats aren't one-dimensional.
"Coach Herring goes by what an athlete can do," Cerny said. "They still have the ability to line up and pound you. But with a quarterback like (Jared) Kelley, you're going to throw the ball."
Neither coach likes to look too far ahead, but the ramifications of the game are obvious given what has happened in the past.
"This is a huge, huge, huge game because the loser of this game gets Mason in the second round," Herring said. "You either catch Mason second or Mason or Shiner fourth and that's a huge difference, especially for our team which is pretty young. We feel like we get better each week and I'd rather play them in Week 14 than Week 12.
Shiner's lone loss came to Hallettsville, which is ranked No. 8 in the Class 3A state poll.
Refugio's lone setback came against Class 4A, Division II Navarro.
Both teams are prepared for a test in the district finale.
"We really haven't faced a team that passes a lot since we played Hallettsville," Cerny said, "and nobody we've seen has the speed Refugio has."
"I'm telling you they can play," Herring said. "They're a real good football team. What I'm most impressed with is how far they've come since Week 1."
Notes: Shiner-Refugio is one of three area games with the district championship at stake.
Bay City at El Campo and Woodsboro at Riviera will also decide the district title.
Shiner Comanches at Refugio Bobcats
Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 7:30pm
Jack Sportsman Stadium, Refugio High School, Refugio
Radio: KYKM, 94.3 FM, Texas Thunder Radio (Shiner, Texas)
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- Facebook: Shiner Comanches Sports
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|Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org|