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Playoffs arrive for No. 1 Refugio

By MIKE FORMAN
Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:16 a.m.

Jason Herring runs his team through drills during a practice earlier this season. The Refugio Bobcats are 10-0 and coming off a bye week after winning District 16-2A, Division II. They play Three Rivers in the area playoffs on Thursday in Sinton.

Three Rivers Bulldogs vs. Refugio Bobcats

Class 2A, Division II Area round

7 p.m., Thursday

Pirate Stadium, Sinton

REFUGIO - Refugio defensive lineman Donald Trevino joined many of his teammates at Memorial Stadium in Victoria on Friday to watch Schulenburg play Banquete.

"I was telling a lot of my friends that was my first time watching a varsity football game in a long time because I'm always playing," Trevino said. "It was pretty neat. I liked the atmosphere and it made me want to play."

Trevino and his teammates will be back on the field Thursday at 7 p.m. when the No. 1 Bobcats (10-0) travel to Sinton's Pirate Stadium to take on Three Rivers (7-4) in a Class 2A, Division II area playoff game.

"We're really hammering to the kids that it's time to buckle down and focus," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "Everything we put into this year starting way back in August it's here. We need to worry about ourselves and make sure every kid is doing their job and than I think we'll be fine."

The Bobcats have been a virtual steamroller during the regular season, averaging 560.8 yards per game and outscoring its opponents 654-67.

The margin of victory has brought Refugio quite a bit of attention, some it of unwanted.

ESPN's Outside the Lines even sent a crew to tape the Bobcats' final two District 16-2A games.

"It was very weird at first, especially the ESPN thing," said senior running back Shiloh Whetsel. "Being in the locker room with us, getting taped with us, literally filming everything. It took a little bit getting used to, it was out of the ordinary for sure.

"We had a lot of publicity, a lot of it being negative. We've just become one as a team and we don't really listen to what everybody else says."

Herring admits he is not quite sure how much his team has progressed given its lack of competition in district play.

"We're a better prepared football team than we've ever been," Herring said. "I don't know how it's going to turn out. But I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt this football team is better prepared right now for the playoffs than we've ever been simply because we've let them play."

Refugio earned a first-round bye by winning the district championship.

"We used last week to work on things that are going to challenge us in the playoffs," Herring said. "Particular schemes that are hard like the veer, midline and slot-T. We used it to heal up. We did a lot of conditioning."

Three Rivers, which finished third in District 14-2A captured a 28-14 bi-district win over Coleman.

The Bulldogs are primarily a running team and will most likely attempt to keep the ball away from Refugio.

"Probably the scariest thing to me is what almost cost us our championship in 2000 in Sonora and that was a team that just went 3 yards, 3 yards, 3 yards and then go for it on fourth down," Herring said. "We punted the ball to Blanco in the championship game with 11 minutes left in the third quarter and the next time we go the ball there was 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

"That's the best defense against a great offense. I feel real confident about our offense. I feel really good about our throwing game and our running game. I'm anxious to see us against a good physical football team that is going to try and smash mouth us."

The Bobcats should find out in what they hope will be the weeks to come.

"We're very, very talented, but we have yet to be tested like we want to be," Whetsel said. "We're still waiting for that first big test."

NOTES: Refugio will be the home team...The Three Rivers-Refugio winner will advance to regional against the winner of Friday night's Poth-Schulenburg game at Memorial Stadium in Victoria. The regional game will be played Friday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Victoria...The Refugio edition of Outside the Lines First Report will air on ESPN on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m., and Outside the Lines Weekend on ESPN2 on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m.

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