Refugio quarterback not playing like a sophomore
Dec. 8, 2011 at 6:08 a.m.
Updated Dec. 9, 2011 at 6:09 a.m.
REFUGIO - Refugio quarterback Travis Quintanilla displayed another one of his talents in the Bobcats' 41-24 Class 2A, Division II semifinal win over Sonora.
Quintanilla punted twice, once for 50 yards and another for 42 yards that pinned the Broncos on their 8-yard line.
"I think he won the punt, pass and kick contest like eight years in a row," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "He can take a ball and drop-kick it 40 yards for a field goal. He's just an athlete. He can punt, kick. He's got great hand-eye coordination."
Quintanilla punted in seventh and eighth grade, but he was not happy about having to do it against Sonora.
"To punt to me is kind of bad," Quintanilla said. "That means we had to give it up to the defense."
The Bobcats have punted only 10 times this season, thanks in a large part to Quintanilla's ability to throw the ball.
The sophomore has passed for 3,180 yards and 46 touchdowns to help lead Refugio (13-0) into Friday's 7:30 p.m. semifinal game against Lexington (11-2) at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio.
"I knew he was going to be special," Herring said. "I had no idea he would be this complete of a quarterback at this early stage of his career."
Quintanilla made his first start in Refugio's 26-7 season-opening win over Rice Consolidated and has progressed throughout the season.
"I'm a sophomore and I do get a little jumpy," Quintanilla said. "I'm not really nervous, not since the Rice game. After that, I'm just going out and throwing like normal."
Herring noticed some nerves when Quintanilla's throws were off the mark early in Refugio's regional playoff game against Poth, which was played before a crowd of over 11,000 at Memorial Stadium in Victoria.
But Quintanilla went on to throw for 212 yards and two touchdowns in the Bobcats' 41-6 win.
"He'll still make mistakes, but that's just being a sophomore kid," Herring said. "He's got complete command of the offense. I trust him. There's never a time when I'm nervous about calling a pass play. There's a great trust and I think he's earned that trust."
Herring warned Quintanilla when he became the starter that he was extremely hard on his quarterbacks.
Quintanilla had an idea of what to expect after backing up Aaron Perez last season.
"It's changed a little bit," Quintanilla said. "He still gets on my butt and chews me out when I make a mistake."
Herring attributes most of Quintanilla's miscues to his lack of experience. But Quintanilla rarely makes the same mistake twice.
"Travis is a real sharp kid," Herring said. "Game plans you tell it to him once and he's got it. Travis has a good football mind. He knows exactly what I want him to do and all I have to do is tell him once."
Quintanilla has never lacked for confidence, as he showed in eighth grade when he wrote a caption for a yearbook picture he recently posted on Facebook.
"I love to play football," Quintanilla wrote, "and I want to move up and help win a state ring for Refugio."
The Bobcats are two wins away from a state championship and Herring isn't worried about relying on a sophomore in such a high-pressure situation.
"He's real cool-headed and he always comes around," Herring said. "I think every game he played, he got more confident and more confident. I think so even in the playoffs, which are a whole different animal."