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Comeback 'Cats headed to semifinal after win over East Bernard (w/gallery)

By MIKE FORMAN
Dec. 7, 2013 at 6:07 a.m.

Refugio head coach Jason Herring, left, reacts after defeating East Bernard 40-34 at Farris Field in San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO - Refugio had four turnovers, missed kicks and gave up big plays against East Bernard.

But the Bobcats never quit on themselves.

Refugio rallied from deficits as many as 14 points to capture a 40-34 Class 2A, Division II quarterfinal win over the top-ranked Brahmas on Saturday night at a cold Farris Stadium.

"We couldn't give up," said Refugio linebacker Alex Coronado. "Last year, we kind of gave up. Coming into this game, I told everyone not to give up; we're going to win this thing."

Refugio improved to 13-1 and moved into the semifinals against Waskom, a 24-22 winner over Corrigan-Camden on Friday night.

The Bobcats trailed 27-19 at halftime but in the dressing room recalled having a 23-13 lead on the Brahmas (12-1) in last year's quarterfinal and losing 54-23.

"We're only down by eight points, and we played terrible," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "We threw four picks, and we left at least 20 points off the board. I told them we got them right where we want them."

Herring also had a talk with quarterback Travis Quintanilla and told him to settle down and play more relaxed.

"I said, 'Pup, listen to me. You're pressing, and you're trying to play like the quarterback that's the quarterback that's got the state record for yardage. I want you to play like the pup,'" Herring said. "I said, 'Remember the loose little pup; that's what I want.' I said, 'You've got guys wide open; you're just hurrying it a little bit, relax.' I said, 'Be the pup that's got us here, dude.'"

Quintanilla completed 30 of 54 passes for 351 yards and four touchdowns. He threw touchdown passes of 21, 18 and 19 yards to Dana Franklin, and 15 yards to Tyler Castellano.

"We had to be the better team on the field," Quintanilla said. "We didn't wait 358 days for nothing. We were in the same spot as they were last year. This was our half like that was their half."

Quintanilla also ran 13 times for 80 yards and one touchdown - the first time he had run that much since seventh grade.

"We took the leash off the pup and ran him tonight," Herring said. "We knew everybody would be keying on Isaiah (Perez)."

Perez scored the decisive touchdown on a 2-yard run with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter and added the two-point conversion run.

The touchdown came after an interception by Les Rhodes, who also had a fumble recovery of a Grant Aschenbeck pass and returned it 6 yards to the 31.

"I knew deep in my heart of hearts we had to get some stops," Herring said. "I knew in the first half, we gave up too many big plays. Our defense the second half stoned them three times, and our offense was able to get it done. It was just a total team effort."

East Bernard drove to Refugio's 31 after Perez scored. But on a fourth-and-five, Coronado applied pressure on Aschenbeck, forcing him to throw an incomplete pass.

"We went to the nickel package, and I rushed off the edge, and I got a free shot at him and to hurry the pass, and we got it," Coronado said. "You know we gave up 72 points last week. We knew we had to make a statement against the No. 1 team in the state, and we knocked them off."

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