Refugio receivers catching on quickly
Edna Cowboys at Refugio Bobcats
7:30 p.m. Friday
REFUGIO - Refugio's main concern coming into the season was at wide receiver.
The Bobcats lost their three leading receivers from last year's Class 2A, Division II state championship team.
Lynx Hawthorne, Shiloh Whetsel and Cory Brown accounted for over 69 percent of Refugio's catches, over 74 percent of its receiving yards and 39 of its 53 touchdown receptions last season.
"That was my biggest question are we going to get good enough at receiver to throw the ball like I want," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "They responded great."
Refugio quarterback Travis Quintanilla passed for a personal-best 502 yards and five touchdowns to lead the No. 1 Bobcats to a 62-27 season-opening win over Class 3A Ingleside.
"We throw the football a ton and over the last four or five years we've probably had a 1,000 reps," Herring said. "Every chance we get we throw the football and catch. I think we've developed 10 or 11 kids on our varsity who are pretty good little receivers."
Quintanilla completed 26 of 38 passes and threw to seven different receivers, including Louie Whetsel, who caught 10 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown.
"With Travis, he knows our receivers have speed," Whetsel said. "He drops back and reads us really well and we're open a lot and when he throws it, we're going to the ball every time. This year, you have multiple receivers to go to and it's not just deep balls every time."
Quintanilla is not afraid to throw deep and his target is often Marcus Thompson, who had seven catches for 175 yards and three touchdowns.
Thompson knew he would have to assume the role of Hawthorne, who caught 72 passes for 1,786 yards and 25 touchdowns last season and is currently at Baylor.
"It's a matter of me running my routes right and Travis putting the ball where it needs to be," said Thompson, who has an offer from Memphis. "We catch and throw and work on our timing and our routes and practice the deep ball a lot."
Quintanilla admits there has been an adjustment from last season when he threw for 3,945 yards and 53 touchdowns.
"It will happen over time with more practice and more pass plays and I'll get used to them," Quintanilla said. "I have no hesitation about throwing to any of them. I just have to get my timing down."
Refugio (1-0) will continue to work on its passing game in its home opener against Edna (1-0) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium.
"I think every little thing helps," Herring said. "Doing football during the athletic period in the spring and doing 7 on 7 in the summer. I mean all of that helps."
Edna coach Mike Pierce was impressed with Refugio's receivers against Ingleside.
"There's no drop off," he said. "They have a good program and they just reload. The guys they have can run and catch and they know what to do with it when they catch it."
Herring liked what he saw from Refugio's receivers against Ingleside and he hopes the trend continues.
"I was elated with the way our receivers stepped up," he said. "It looked like we hadn't missed a beat since last year."
NOTES • Edna quarterback Austin Kelley completed 9 of 12 passes for 160 yards in the Cowboys' 35-7 win over Needville. DeQuan Cantu and Traylin Davis each had three catches for Edna. "We played a pretty rough first half," Pierce said. "We did a lot better in the second half. We know we have to get better as a football team."
• Edna free safety DeRodrick Jones broke a bone in his foot before the season and is hoping to return in time for District 14-2A, Division I play.