SHINER — The seniors at Shiner St. Paul have known all about success when it comes to football.
The Cardinals’ physical, run-down-your-throat style of play has them eyeing a fourth straight state title and sixth in the last seven years.
Playing in its senior night game at Comanche Stadium against Hallettsville Sacred Heart on Friday, St. Paul got another chance to flex its muscles in TAPPS Division III/IV, District 3.
Led by a pair of 200-yard rushing performances from seniors Zak Johnson and Noah Boedeker, St. Paul earned a 47-20 victory in the 61st meeting between the Lavaca County rivals.
“It keeps us knowing that we’re going to go out and play hard,” Johnson said. “We’re going to beat people when we play. It gives us motivation beating our rival on our seniors last home game. Feels great.”
Johnson carried 18 times for 200 yards and five touchdowns.
After leading 19-12 at halftime, St. Paul (5-1, 2-0) took control in the third quarter.
Johnson scored on touchdown runs of 4, 53 and 4 yards on three straight possessions to push the Cardinals lead to 40-12.
“It was realizing our mistakes and fixing what we were doing wrong,” Johnson said. “Our line really took control in the second half and we just came out with an answer.”
Boedeker led the Cardinals with 278 rushing yards on 18 carries, scoring twice. While playing setup-man for Johnson’s touchdowns, Boedeker gained numerous first downs for the Cardinals.
“It was for sure our line,” Boedeker said. “I think in the beginning, the first half, we came out a little iffy, and that second half our O-line just came out with a different mentality and wanted to win the game on the line. That really helped me and Zak to achieve that goal.”
Sacred Heart (4-3, 1-1) had flashes on offense from running back Korbin Koehne, who rushed for 213 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
The Indians took the first lead of the game with Koehne’s 47-yard touchdown run on their second possession. Austin Kutac and Nick Angerstein added rushing touchdowns in the second and third quarters.
But Sacred Heart could not find an answer for St. Paul’s two-pronged rushing attack late in the game.
“I think we came off slow at first on offense and defense,” Koehne said. “Then we got something going on offense. First drive, everything was looking good, but then they just got the momentum and started running down our throats on defense. I think we just started wearing down.”
The talk pre-game for both teams was maximizing every possession. St. Paul won that battle with 16 first downs to Sacred Heart’s 10.
“I think it’s very important that we look at the things that we’re doing well and eliminate the things that we’re not executing well, both offensively and defensively,” said Sacred Heart head coach Brad Oden. “The big thing for us is we’ve got to stay healthy. We know we played the class of our division and we’re still standing and the sun comes up tomorrow and we get a chance to go to work and get better.”
St. Paul has now won 10 of its last 11 games against Sacred Heart, but the Cardinals committed 11 penalties in the win, giving them something to work on come Monday.
“We’re just going to have to go into next week better and pick up on those mistakes we did during the game and work on those during practice,” Boedeker said. We’re just going to have to continue on getting better and better and better. We can celebrate tonight and enjoy the win, but when it comes to Monday we’ve got to get our butts back to work.”