VANDERBILT — Industrial made its first playoff appearance since 2015 last season.

The Cobras have bigger goals this season.

Industrial won its first two District 14-3A, Division I games to put itself in position to win its first district championship since 2009.

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“I feel really confident since these last two games,” said safety Nathan Hammack. “They were big games we needed to win. Everybody’s confidence level and all-around hard work in practice will help us get that district championship.”

Industrial has three district games remaining, beginning with Friday’s game against Luling at Cobra Field.

“Last year, we had little questions, but this year we know what we’re doing,” said offensive guard Blaine Allen. “I think we have a good shot to win the district. We can’t overlook anybody.”

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Industrial coach Jamie Dixon is proud of the improvements the team has made from his first to second season.

“We had low turnover in our coaching staff,” Dixon said. “Ninety percent stayed so we didn’t change anything offensively and defensively. We added a few wrinkles because we returned a lot and that helped us. From the beginning the year, we came out firing on all cylinders.”

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Industrial entered district play with a 4-1 record and its only loss was to Shiner, which is ranked No. 2 in the state Class 2A, Division I poll.

“There’s a big difference in confidence from this year to last year,” Hammack said. “As long as the hard work is there through the week, you hope to win.”

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The players appreciate the changes Dixon made and have enjoyed playing in a completely renovated stadium.

“He came in and I think it really changed our attitudes as players and we kind started coming together more and it was more about the team,” Allen said. “Attitudes changed and when you see all this new stuff we got, it’s nice.”

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The Cobras have not only become more proficient running the offense and defense, there has also been a significant shift in expectations.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Dixon said. “Our numbers are high. We have more people than we’ve ever had out here. We have outrageous numbers at the junior high level. I’ve got kids wanting to watch practice. I’ve got five or six daddies watching in the stands. I mean it’s fun and the kids are enjoying it.”

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Dixon wants to make sure the good times last and continually stresses the importance of staying in the moment.

“These kids they’re excited for it,” he said. “There’s excitement in the entire program, the entire community right now. The biggest thing is still telling them Luling is at hand next. Don’t look to Hallettsville and don’t look to Edna and don’t look at the playoffs. At this point, we control our destiny. Last year at this time, we didn’t control it and we had to do some things. But right now, we’re in the driver’s seat and we’ve got to take it day by day.”

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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