Coaches hate to look ahead and continuously caution their players from doing just that.
Shiner's Dalton Brooks heads for the endzone Friday ( November 27, 2021 ) during a Class 2A, Division I regional semi-finals game against Schulenburg at Hallettsville's Brahma Memorial Stadium. photo by Andy Tomek, special to the Victoria Advocate
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But Shiner and Refugio had a good idea their paths would collide when they got to the Class 2A, Division I regional final.
Two days short of a calendar year from when they left the Alamodome in San Antonio after Shiner's 24-13 win, the Comanches (13-0) and Refugio (13-0) will meet again at 7 p.m. Thursday ( December 2, 2021 ) at Victoria's Memorial Stadium.
Shiner won its fourth state championship less than two weeks after last year's win and would like a repeat performance this season.
"It's a long road to get to the point, but the teams that play the best football at this time of year eventually meet up in rounds like this," said Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker. "Refugio has always had a strong football program so we always anticipate them being around. We had to take care of our business to put ourselves in position to be in a big ballgame."
Refugio defeated Shiner in the 2019 regional semifinals and went on to win its fifth state championship.
"Honestly, I think everybody had this game circled," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "I think Shiner had a lot of business to take care of and Refugio had a lot of business to take care of to get to this point. But on paper, it looked like this was going to happen and I'm grateful that we took care of what we're supposed to and I'm sure they feel the same way. It's a game we looked forward to for almost 365 days since we walked off that field."
Refugio was ranked No. 1 and Shiner was ranked No. 2 in the state poll the entire season.
Neither team faced much of a challenge during the regular season or in the playoffs, but both teams expect their sternest test.
Refugio's Kelan Brown throws during Friday's Class 2A, Division I regional round playoff against Ganado at Sandcrab Stadium ( on Friday November 26, 2021 ). photo by Duy Vu, Victoria Advocate photographer
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"We look forward to this game every year," said Shiner junior Dalton Brooks. "It's a game both teams look forward to and both teams want to come out and compete the best they can."
The game figures to feature a contrast in styles with Refugio's uptempo attack going up against Shiner's ball-control offense.
"Playing Shiner in a big game, we have to step up on defense and give our offense a chance to get on the field," said Refugio senior Jordan Kelley. "Their offense runs the clock and gets 4 or 5 yards a pop. It kind of limits our offense. On defense we need to do our job and get a couple of three and outs."
"They're very difficult to defend defensively with the tempo," Boedeker said. "The main thing is getting lined up correctly to give yourself a chance to make a play."
Refugio leads the overall series 6-2, but what started as a grudge match between two of the state's most successful programs has become a rivalry of mutual respect.
"The respect has grown over the years," Brooks said. "That's just part of the game. Now, we have friends that play on that team that we talk to on that team. After this, we run track against each other and they helped us win the state track meet. You become friends over the years and I guess you could say things have gotten better between the two teams."
The good feelings won't be present once the game starts with a trip to the semifinals on the line.
"No. 1 is we have to take care of the football and score when we have an opportunity," Boedeker said. "They're going to be very difficult to slow down so we've got to catch some breaks on defense and get some big plays there. But the main thing we have to do to prevent a big play is really tackle well in space."
"We've got to play great defense and we've got to execute on offense," Herring said "Tempo is going to be huge. The last couple of years I feel like the kicking game has really decided the game. We kicked the field goal and they missed a couple of PATs in '19. Last year, I feel like those two punts that went out at the 1-yard line changed the game for them. In a game like this, it's going to be a play or two or three here or there that's liable to be on defense, offense or special teams. It's going to come down to who makes the plays."
NOTES: Refugio will be the home team...Tickets are only available online and no tickets will be sold at the gate...The winner will advance to the semifinals against the winner of Friday's Timpson-Centerville game.
Class 2A, Division I Region 4 Final
Shiner Comanches vs. Refugio Bobcats
When: Thursday, December 2, 2021 @ 7:00pm
Where: Victoria Memorial Stadium
Radio: KYKM, 94.3 FM & KTXM, 99.9 FM
Internet: txthunderradio.com & refugiosports.net
Twitter: @mikeforman21 & @PLScamardo2
|Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or email@example.com|
Andy Tomek is a student photographer at the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him on Twitter at @Andrew.Tomek.
Duy Vu is a staff photojournalist at the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-574-1204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.