Town preps for Refugio's championship game (w/ video)
IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Refugio Bobcats vs. Cisco Loboes state championship game
• WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday
• WHERE: AT&T Stadium, 1 AT&T Way, Arlington
How is the town of Shiner celebrating the Comanches' trip to the state finals? Read Wednesday's Advocate for the details.
REFUGIO - The secret to the Refugio Bobcats' success is out, but if you want to know it, you will have to ask Eva Tabor.
While the team's explosive defense and coach Jason Herring remain crucial to the team reaching state, there is one more weapon the Bobcats have - the town's overwhelming support.
Maybe it is not so much a secret though, as any passers-by can see the town's businesses and homes splattered in the team's bold black and orange colors.
"This little town may be a little town, but we back up our football team," said Tabor, whose daughter owns Greenhouse Cleaners and G-Tee Designs in Refugio. "Wherever they go, we go."
The business, owned by Debra Moore, has long been the hub for all things Bobcats. The shop is filled with Bobcats memorabilia, from clothing to jewelry to even mini-helmet noisemakers.
Football season, without a doubt, is the shop's busiest time, Moore said.
Customers trickled in Monday morning ready to pick up their shirts and other gear. Moore and her crew attempt to make a new shirt every week for Bobcats fans.
But creating memorabilia is easy when you're a huge supporter of the Bobcats, Moore said.
"We don't have anyone we know playing football," she said. "But it doesn't matter around here if you have a kid in football or not - everybody supports the Bobcats."
Enter Ronnie Henning, a broad-shouldered former player ready to purchase more shirts.
Henning, 61, a diehard Bobcats fan, helped take Refugio to state in 1968. Henning remembers that day well, he said. They lost to Lubbock Estacado, 13-7, and he was playing guard.
"We were inside the 5-yard line four times," he said about the team's 1968 attempt to take home the championship.
"We never did make it back in there, but we went for it. We went there to win it."
Now, Henning and his other football buddies, some who went to state the same year as well as in 1972, make it a point to go to most - if not all - the games.
He and his friends already have plans to attend the game, especially since it is against the Cisco Loboes, the team the Bobcats beat in the 2011 state championship. Henning and his friends even have state champions shirts ready.
"By 11 p.m. that night, we'll either be sad and drunk or happy and drunk," he said, laughing.
Ida Turner, the county's tax assessor/collector, is also a lifetime Bobcats supporter - so much of a supporter that for the past 21 years, she has had charter buses take the town's fans to big out-of-town games.
This year, three buses will meet by the courthouse and take fans to watch the Bobcats face Cisco at 8 p.m. Thursday.
"This is home," Turner said. "We're proud of our kids, and we support them."
Thursday and Friday, you can expect much of the town to be shut down, Moore said.
Her business will be closed as well as others throughout the town.
"I think we're winning state; there is no doubt in my mind," she said. "This town will be a ghost town."