SHINER – Shiner will open the season with a new head coach, a number of new assistant coaches, a new offensive line and players in new positions.
Shiner head coach and athletic director Daniel Boedeker keeps a watchful eye on his offense during Thursday's practice in Shiner ( August 15, 2018 ). all photos by Howard Esse, Victoria Advocate contributor
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But as far as the Comanches are concerned, it’s business as usual.
“It’s basically the same,” said senior Devin Lehnert. “There are a few changes, but very slight. It’s easy to just jump right onto the train basically.”
Daniel Boedeker moved from defensive coordinator to head coach when Steven Cerny retired after last season.
But Boedeker has done his best to make sure the transition has been as smooth as possible.
“It’s been good,” Boedeker said. “I have good assistants on staff and that definitely makes my job easier. They take care of things. The kids have made it good with their work ethic, just knowing what to expect each day when they come out here.”
Shiner practices to take on opponents during Thursday's practice in Shiner ( August 15, 2018 ).
Shiner enters the season ranked No. 3 in the Class 2A, Division I state poll and will continue to run its veer offense.
“It will be our base package with what we’ve done in the past,” Boedeker said. “We feel like we have the backs and quarterbacks to do those things along with the linemen. We want to personalize some things for some of our other kids to get on the field. We have a lot of speed and we want to use that to our advantage.”
Lehnert, senior Donyai Taylor, and juniors Zane Rhodes and Trevor Haynes were members of the 400- and 800-meter relay teams that won gold medals at the state meet.
Either Lehnert or junior Tyler Palmer will take over at quarterback and will also be joined in the backfield by 240-pound sophomore fullback Doug Brooks.
“It (playing quarterback) feels pretty natural to be honest,” Lehnert said. “I played in the past and this year I finally get more reps at it. I feel like we’re going to hit it pretty fast. We’re hitting it pretty good right now.”
Shiner defensive back Devin Lehnert guards his opponent from catching a pass during Thursday's practice in Shiner ( August 15, 2018 ).
Shiner’s biggest question mark will come on the offensive line where right guard Gage Brooks is the lone returnee.
“We’re just watching a lot of film and watching the guys from last year and their techniques,” Gage Brooks said. “We’re not the biggest out there, but we have to be stronger and faster. We’re all moving as one unit. We’re all forming pretty well. We started off a little rough, but we’re getting better.”
The Comanches will be tested in non-district play with games against Hallettsville, Industrial, Burton, Tidehaven, Goliad and Lexington.
“We’re hoping it prepares us for later down the road,” Boedeker said. “It brings out your weaknesses. It will help us make adjustments from week to week on where we feel like we might need to improve to get where we want to go.”
The road out of Region IV will be a tough one with No. 1 Refugio, No. 2 and defending state champion Mason, Hearne and Holland standing in Shiner’s way.
But there’s been no change in the Comanches’ goals or expectations.
“We feel good about where we are,” Boedeker said. “The kids have battled the heat well. We haven’t had to stop much at all. As far as installment goes, there’s a lot of retention from last year. We have some guys who didn’t play a whole lot and were backups. They’re jumping in there and not missing a beat as far as knowing where to go.”
Note: Shiner’s final scrimmage will be Thursday at Luling.
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Shiner’s Donyai Taylor runs downfield during Thursday's practice in Shiner ( August 15, 2018 ).
Shiner’s Devin Lehnert takes a breather during Thursday's practice in Shiner ( August 15, 2018 ).
Shiner head coach Daniel Boedeker oversees practice during Thursday's practice in Shiner ( August 15, 2018 ).
Shiner’s Donyai Taylor warms up by throwing the football during Thursday's practice in Shiner ( August 15, 2018 ).
Mike Forman is the sports editor of The Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Howard Esse is a freelance photojournalist contributing to the Victoria Advocate.