Advocate editorial board opinion: Team, coach have justification for high scoring
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In the religion that is Texas High School Football, running up the score can be considered blasphemy.
The ideal of sportsmanship doesn't appear to allow for a more skilled football team to swamp an inferior opponent with touchdown after touchdown when the outcome of the game is already apparent.
In the past two weeks, the Refugio High School Bobcats have defeated Riviera 82-6 and Freer 91-6. In case you're not a football fan, those scores indicate the opponent was "taken to the woodshed," to use Texas vernacular.
According to Dave Campbell's Texas Football, the Texas team record for individual game scoring is 103 points by Valley Mills vs. Grandview in 1969. Two more touchdowns by Refugio against Freer last week would likely have eclipsed that record.
Many have cried foul over the massive margins of victory, and have questioned the Refugio program's sense of fair play.
After all, the refrain has gone, each game was over almost before it started.
Why did the coach keep "pouring it on" except to embarrass the opponent and inflate his team's reputation?
Many have asked if Jason Herring, the Bobcat's fifth year head coach, is guilty of the sin of running up the score. Many wonder if he should be held accountable for the perceived lack of sportsmanship.
After hearing directly from Coach Herring (in an extensive question and answer session in the Tuesday, Oct. 11 edition of the Advocate), we come to his defense because we recognize the conundrum he finds his team in.
Before condemning and vilifying the coach, it's important to fully understand the situation.
Refugio High School has a storied football program, but it currently plays in a weak district.
In years past, to avoid the criticism of running up the score, Herring has played his star players for only the first half against weaker opponents.
The result, he believes, is that his team has not been as well-prepared as its opponents come playoff time. Each of the past four years, the Bobcats have lost in the playoffs before achieving their goal of a state championship.
Herring says his evaluation of those losses pointed to lack of preparation for his starters due to having to "call off the dogs" early in a blowout win.
"When we looked at every little thing about our program that was the thing that stood out in my mind," Herring said. "I decided way back in the summer . we're going to play (our starters) three quarters."
"It's going to be miserable, and people are going to criticize us," Herring said. "But how can we cheat our kids and worry about other kids and worry about the score and do our kids wrong?"
We understand the situation the Refugio coach is dealing with.
It's clear to us that he's not attempting to embarrass the other team, but simply is doing what he thinks is right for his players and their success.
We think it's important to note that Herring says the Refugio district superintendent and board of trustees supports his coaching strategy to play his stars longer to try to improve their playoff fortunes.
It's unfair, we believe, to criticize the Refugio team and their coach for how they are responding to the situation not of their own making.
Meanwhile, Refugio travels to Hebbronville for its next game Friday night.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.