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Kick off postseason play with 5 need-to-know facts

By MIKE FORMAN
Nov. 14, 2013 at 5:14 a.m.
Updated Nov. 15, 2013 at 5:15 a.m.

Five things to know about the playoffs

High school playoffs are underway.

Here are five things to know about the Crossroads area playoffs:

The second season

Former Cuero coach Mark Reeve had a favorite expression when it came to the playoffs. "You labor on Labor Day so you can give thanks on Thanksgiving," Reeve said. Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away, but the high school football playoffs have started. All the hard work during two-a-days in the heat of August and the practices during the season are geared toward this time of year. Twenty-three teams from the area will get a chance to have a second season.

More to the dance

The UIL increased the number of teams advancing to the playoffs in Class 3A and Class 2A from three to four this season. The area beneficiaries of the new format are Wharton and Gonzales in Class 3A, and Edna, Goliad, Tidehaven and Nixon-Smiley in Class 2A.

Been there, done that

Calhoun, El Campo, Cuero, Yoakum, Wharton, Hallettsville, Edna, Refugio, Ganado, Shiner, Weimar, Woodsboro, Runge and Hallettsville Sacred Heart went to the playoffs last season. El Campo advanced to the Class 3A, Division I state championship game; Shiner advanced to the Class 1A, Division I semifinals; Hallettsville advanced to the Class 2A, Division I quarterfinals; Refugio advanced to the Class 2A, Division II quarterfinals; and Hallettsville Sacred Heart advanced to the TAPPS Division III semifinals. This season will feature bi-district rematches between Calhoun and Floresville, El Campo and La Grange and Yoakum and Wharton.

Everything is magnified

The deeper teams go into the playoffs, the stiffer the competition becomes. The importance of special teams can't be overstated. The difference between winning and losing can turn on a single play. Turnovers and mistakes can doom even the best of teams. Coaches must also have their teams prepared each week and do their best to eliminate distractions and prevent mental fatigue. The most talented team doesn't always win, but the best prepared team usually does.

The ultimate destination

The stadium name has changed, but the desire to get there remains the same. Cowboys Stadium has become AT&T Stadium, but teams know to play for a state championship, they have to make it to Arlington on Dec. 19-21. Refugio was the first area team to make an appearance at Jerry's World and won the 2011 Class 2A, Division II state title. El Campo made the trip last season and lost to Stephenville in the Class 3A, Division I state final. Ask Refugio coach Jason Herring or El Campo coach Bob Gillis what it was like for the players to see their names on their lockers in the dressing room, to walk through the tunnel out on the field and to see themselves on the huge video board. They'll tell you it was an experience of a lifetime.

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