SHINER — Plagued with injuries all season, the Shiner St. Paul Cardinals are close to full speed with their small roster as they travel to San Antonio on Thursday to take on the St. Gerard Royals in their district finale. With their eyes set on playoffs, the Cardinals coaching staff will tweak some things with their lineup to see what works for the postseason.
“We’re trying some different things,” St. Paul head coach Jake Wachsmuth said. “[There are] a few kids that need to play more. We obviously not had a smooth season with injuries, we’re getting people back and we’re trying to find ways to utilize everybody the best that we can.”
Instead of waiting after the season is over, Wachsmuth believes in-game situations would be better to work on the new “tweaks” rather than just the practice field.
The team the Cardinals will be working on new looks on offense is the St. Gerard Royals, a football program that’s had a bit of continuity recently with this being Head Coach Vincent Mendez’s fourth season with the team. With Mendez in place, the Royals have a firm system in place rather than having different coaches year after year.
On offense, the Royals will rely on their speed to make plays.
“We can’t give up big plays because they have the ability to do just that,” Wachsmuth said of the Royals.
Meanwhile, St. Gerard tends to adapt their defense to what works best against their team.
“They kind of work week-to-week based on the type of team they’re playing,” Wachsmuth noted. “They run everything from an odd to a split to an even look. I think we might see an eight-man look, kind of similar to what Sacred Heart [had last week]. They definitely look at what people have done.”
A win for the Cardinals clinches second place in TAPPS District 3-Div. IV. A loss makes things a bit more interesting, depending on the result between Sacred Heart and Temple Central Texas Christian.
But for now, the Cardinals are focused on themselves in hopes of a deep playoff run, despite their early season struggles.
Kickoff is at San Antonio on Thursday, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.