First place at stake for Shiner, Ganado
Shiner Comanches at Ganado Indians
7:30 p.m. Friday
Shiner and Ganado have spilt four games since moving into the same district.
The winner has gone on to win at least a share of the district championship.
The results have differed but not the intense, physical nature of the rivalry, which continues Friday when No. 7 Shiner (7-1, 2-0) visits No. 13 Ganado (7-1, 2-0) with the District 15-1A, Division I lead on the line.
"I was a starting cornerback in last year's game," said Ganado's Clay Vesely. "I felt it the next day for sure. More than all the others."
"It's pretty intense and they're usually close games," said Shiner's Trevion Flowers. "It's more physical because it is a rivalry."
Ganado won last year's game 22-21 when time expired with Shiner in possession on the Indians' 18-yard line.
"This is what high school football's all about," said Ganado coach Jimmy Thompson. "Even though we're Class 1A, the lowest class in the alignment, it can't be anymore fun than this.
"I've coached at all five levels and this is as good as it gets."
Ganado has won seven straight games since losing its opener to Hallettsville, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A.
The Indians have yielded a total of 29 points in the seven wins.
"I feel like we've improved tremendously since the first game of the year," Thompson said. "The first game we started 11 kids on offense that hadn't started at that position the year before. Two of them started, but hadn't started at that position.
"I think Hallettsville kind of opened our eyes to what we had to do to be a good team. I think we made tremendous improvement. We found out what our kids can do and tried to put them in situations to succeed."
Shiner's lone loss was also to Hallettsville in its second game of the season.
The Comanches have limited opponents to 12 points or less in four of their last five games.
"We've been pretty consistent," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. "I think the biggest improvement has been with our defense because early we were giving up a lot of big plays and that's one thing we've been able to prevent."
Shiner and Ganado base out of the veer offense, but they differ in their approach.
"They've got bigger linemen and go more straight at you," Cerny said. "We've got to use our speed and quickness on our line."
"The big thing is their speed, of course," Thompson said. "But their offensive line comes off the ball so well, so quick, so low that basically they're a yard up the field before you touch them.
"In a veer offense, if you can go make 3 or 4 yards and come back and do it again that's what you're trying to do. If you miss one tackle, they go 80 yards so there's just no room for error."
The team making the fewest errors is likely to be the one earning a share of the district title and the top seed in the playoffs.
"It's two good teams battling it out for first place," said Ganado's Kenny Kocian. "I think we've become a bigger and better team since two-a-days.
"The key will be stopping them on third down and when we have third down on offense getting a first down."
"It's not that hard preparing as far as technique," said Shiner's Jacob Stafford. "But the physicality is the one thing you really have to prepare for and you've just got to get used to it and be ready to dig your cleats in the dirt and play."