The Class 2A, Division I regional final game between Shiner and Refugio drew a crowd of 11,000 to Memorial Stadium.
Fans won’t have to wait until the playoffs for the Comanches and Bobcats to play again.
Refugio and Shiner will square off as District 15-2A opponents for the next two years.
The teams moved back in the same district for the first time since 2017 in the UIL’s biennial realignment released Thursday.
Refugio and Shiner will be joined in the district by Ganado, Bloomington, Kenedy, Skidmore-Tynan and Three Rivers.
“Anything is always possible,” said Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker, after picking up his packet at the Region III Education Service Center. “We’ve been here before so we knew there was going to be that possibility. We’ve just got to get ourselves ready to go because it’s going to be a very competitive district and our offseason is going to be very important.”
Refugio coach Jason Herring has learned to be prepared for any scenario in realignment, and welcomed the challenge.
“Honestly, I’m excited because we will be way more battle tested hopefully when we get to them in Round 3 or 4,” Herring said. “We won’t have just played one half of football in a bunch of our games. Here’s the bottom line, they’re the state champs. Why would you not want to be in their district? We’re going to have to beat them to get to our ultimate goal.”
Herring and Boedeker were happy to be in a seven-team district instead of the five-team districts they’ve had the last two seasons.
“I like it because we struggle finding games,” Herring said. “We didn’t have to find as many games as being in a five-team district. All in all, I like it. Ganado’s going to make our district stronger and with Skidmore it’s going to be a much tougher district that will help us deeper in the playoffs because we have to play three or four quarters instead of just a half.”
Schulenburg, Flatonia and Weimar moved to District 13-2A with Hearne, Holland, Thorndale and Thrall. Perennial power Mason also remained in Region IV in District 14-2A.
“Our region has been that way for a while now and just realignment it’s not going to change,” Boedeker said. “We’ve definitely got a battle ahead of us.”
Different route for Cuero
Cuero’s district remained almost identical in realignment, but the Gobblers will be playing in a different region for the next two years.
The Gobblers moved from Region IV to Region III and into District 12-4A, Division II.
Cuero will compete against Gonzales, La Grange, Giddings and Smithville as it has for the last two seasons and Caldwell will replace Navasota.
“I think it’s a good, solid district,” said Cuero coach Jack Alvarez. “I don’t think it’s anything we can’t deal with. La Grange and those guys have been solid and they’re going to keep being solid.”
Cuero’s playoff road should get more difficult with West Orange-Stark, Silsbee, Jasper and Bellville in the region.
“It’s been a while since Cuero has been in Region III,” Alvarez said. “I was at the booster club last night and they were talking about being in Region III, I don’t know how many times back. I’ve been in Region III a number of times and you’ve got to play what you’ve got. But Cuero’s Cuero and we’ll be fine.”
Smaller district, just as toughHallettsville and Yoakum remained in Region III in District 12-3A with Columbus, Hitchcock and Hempstead. But the district lost Boling and dropped to five teams.
“It will be a challenge,” said Hallettsville coach Tommy Psencik. “We’re going to be young, age wise and experience wise. That region is going to force us to pick our game up throughout the district. I think all the coaches know. That first round of the playoffs is going to be tough.”
Psencik thought there was a chance of moving back to Region IV, but knew it was a long shot.
“We were kind of hoping to be in Region IV and I thought with them losing four teams out of that region that we had a chance, but the UIL saw it differently,” Psencik said. “We kind of expected to stay in Region III according to the predictions, but we were still kind of holding on to that little hope. It is what it is and we’ll be OK.”