Cardinals head to playoffs honing on consistent play


SHINER — At this point of the season, records don’t matter. What does matter is the Shiner St. Paul Cardinals got to the playoffs and have a shot, just like the other 11 teams in the TAPPS Division IV football tournament at going deep in the bracket. St. Paul (2-8, 2-1) has the worst overall record among the playoff teams in Division IV. But headed into this week’s game against the Woodlands Legacy Prep Christian Academy Lions (4-6, 2-2), the Cardinals know that the start of playoffs means a new season. And that new season for St. Paul Head Coach Jake Wachsmuth and the rest of the Cardinals begin this Friday.

The Lions have lined up in a spread formation with different numbers of running backs in the backfield, whether it was one-back, two-back or even three-back. The team relies heavily on their senior quarterback Jack Granack, who is best known for making plays with his legs.

“It kind of goes through him,” Wachsmuth said of the Lions’ offense and Granack.

Wachsmuth notes that the team is about 75 percent run.

Defensively, the Lions have lined up with a seven-man odd front using a nose guard with two linebackers in the middle and their defensive backs in either a Cover 2 or Cover 3 coverage. Normally, teams playing the Cardinals have stacked the box and changed up their coverages to stop St. Paul’s rushing attack, but Wachsmuth believes a team as good as Legacy Prep may not deter too far from what got them to the playoffs.

“Last year they had success and went all the way to the state game,” he said. “Sometimes, the better [the] opponent, the less likely they are to get too far away from what they do.”

The Cardinals coaching staff expects an odd front from the Lions with a few wrinkles.

They key to Friday’s game is consistency. The story of the season so far for St. Paul have been self-inflicted errors. Whether they be pre-snap penalties or missed assignments on defense, the Cardinals haven’t had clean games early on in the season.

“Every single ball game this year we’ve had plays or stretches of pay where we looked really good,” Wachsmuth said. “[We] just haven’t put enough of those together.”

The St. Paul head coach does believe the team has been doing more of that recently, hence the two victories in the last three games. If the team can put it all together on offense and avoid the pre-snap penalties and the alignment errors on defense, the Cardinals believe they have a shot at a deep playoff run, despite what their record may indicate.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Comanche Stadium in Shiner.