SHINER — There’s no lack of motivation for either team this Saturday. In Columbus, both the Shiner St. Paul Cardinals (4-8) and the Hallettsville Sacred Heart Indians (9-2) have a chance at not only getting to the TAPPS Div. IV state championship game, but they have a chance at knocking off their rivals in order to get there.
This Saturday, the teams face off for the second time this season, in a high-stakes TAPPS Div. IV state semifinal game in Columbus. Interesting enough, the last time these two teams played twice in a football season was in 2012, where the Indians bested the Cardinals in the regular season, but St. Paul won the rematch and went on to win the state championship game. That year was also the last time Sacred Heart beat St. Paul before they did so a few weeks ago.
The story of the season for the Cardinals have been self-inflicted errors. Whether that were pre-snap or post-snap penalties, lining up in wrong assignments or even turnovers, the Cardinals did not help themselves throughout their eight-loss regular season.
“We were just making mistakes as far as blocking assignments and coverage mistakes,” St. Paul head coach Jake Wachsmuth said of his team.
Nov. 2 was the last loss for the Cardinals, a 28-7 victory by the Indians who will lean on quarterback Sam Brown to run the offense.
“They get into a one-back and two-back and they’re in shotgun,” Wachsmuth scouted, “[Brown] is a very good quarterback, he throws the ball well. They hurt us with the pass last time.”
Sacred Heart used their passing game to set up their running game, as Brown completed 11-of-22 attempts for 178 yards and a touchdown. Brown rushed three times for 34 yards and a score. The team would run 25 times for 121 yards combined.
Defensively, the Indians are aggressive and will stack the box to limit St. Paul’s rushing attack.
Overall, the Cardinals have helped themselves during this playoff run by taking away those mistakes they made earlier in the season.
“Everybody is going to make some during the game but they’ve been reduced by a significant amount,” Wachsmuth said. “[These are] things you’re in control of — your penalties, turnovers, things that I think are more of a result of what you do.”
“Now that we’re back to it again, seeing how we did things then opposed to now, [the film] has shown the kids how much better we can play,” he added.
In order to repeat the 2012 season’s success, the team needs to focus more on what worked the past few weeks.
“We just played with a greater sense of urgency, I don’t know what happened, but you can see it in practice and in games we’re just playing,” Wachsmuth said. “Maybe it just kind of hit us that where we are, playing one game at at time. Hopefully we do those little things execute and paly extremely hard [Saturday].”
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday in Columbus.