Bobcats soar to state title game (w/video, gallery)
Dec. 12, 2013 at 6:12 a.m.
HOUSTON - The location and the stakes change for Refugio, but the results remain the same.
Refugio faced another unbeaten team and another deficit, but it rallied for another win and earned another trip to the Class 2A, Division II state championship game.
The Bobcats fell behind 14-0 before roaring back to a 69-33 semifinal win over Waskom on Thursday night at Reliant Stadium.
Refugio improved to 14-1 and will return to AT&T Stadium in Arlington to play for a state title for the second time in three years. The Bobcats will face the winner of Saturday's Cisco-Leonard game next Thursday at 8 p.m.
"What a stinking feeling," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "I'm so proud of these kids. They just never give up. I've coached a lot of teams that probably would have folded the way we started."
Waskom (14-1) shocked Refugio with big plays on its first two possessions, but the Bobcats scored the next four touchdowns and never relinquished the lead.
"I kind of did," said quarterback Travis Quintanilla when asked if he was surprised with how quickly the Bobcats scored. "I'm not saying we were too intimidated playing against a 14-0 and a great team. We didn't think anything of it. We're going to score no matter what."
Quintanilla completed 23 of 31 passes for 425 yards and six touchdowns without throwing an interception. He threw touchdown passes of 6, 11 and 17 yards to Tyler Castellano, 30 and 49 yards to Devon LaFrance, and 17 yards to Dana Franklin.
Quintanilla also set the state record for passing yards in a season, bypassing Lake Travis' Garrett Gilbert in the first quarter.
"We were going to try and throw the rock," Herring said. "We found a good, little running play right there on the sweep. Once we were able to establish that I felt very good. Early on, we were having to press a little bit and they're real athletic. Once we were able to establish the run on the sweep I felt a lot better."
J.B. Brown scored on runs of 71 and 31 yards, and Isaiah Perez added touchdown runs of 25 and 5 yards.
"We just kept pushing and pushing and once we got one good thing rolling, I felt like we could keep going," said LaFrance, who had six catches for 153 yards. "I felt like we could score every possession."
Refugio surrendered 27 points in the first half, but only one touchdown in the second half. The Bobcats also forced two fumbles - recovered by Les Rhodes and J.B. Brown - and had an interception by Cameron Loveday.
"We were ready, we weren't mentally ready," said defensive tackle Jim LaFond. "After those two big plays shook us up, we got rolling and then everything started falling into place. They're definitely the fastest team we've ever played against."
The Bobcats compensated for the Wildcats' speed with their execution on defense and had tackles for losses on seven plays.
"Our defense in the second half of East Bernard and in the second half tonight is the reason we're still alive," Herring said. "Our offense is good. The only reason we were able to come back last week was because our defense in the second half and the same thing tonight."
The Bobcats will have a day to rest and two days of practice in Refugio before boarding the bus to Arlington.
"That's great," Quintanilla said. "I'm pretty sure all seniors at every school dream of this. It only happens to one team that wins a state championship. Going back was the thing on my mind and I won't forget."