LOBOES GO LOCO: Refugio falls short in bid for state title (w/gallery, video)
By BY MIKE FORMAN - MFORMAN@VICAD.COM
Dec. 20, 2013 at 6:20 a.m.
ARLINGTON - The clock struck midnight on Refugio's dream of a fourth state championship.
Actually, it was nine minutes before midnight Thursday when Cisco put the finishing touches on its 56-36 Class 2A, Division II state final win over the Bobcats before a crowd of 11,128 at AT&T Stadium.
"It's rough to see all the kids go through it," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "I don't know, a cat only has nine lives and we may have used all of our lives up. We've been living dangerously and it just wasn't in the cards. They did a great job. I thought they outplayed us. Not that our kids didn't try. They deserved to win. They made the plays. "
Refugio (14-2) was making its sixth trip to the state final and its second in three years after defeating Cisco 36-35 in the 2011 championship game.
The defeat was due in a large part to big plays by a Cisco team that won its first state title in its fifth appearance in the state final.
The Loboes (16-0) scored five touchdowns on plays of 40 yards or longer, and took the lead for good on a 73-yard pass from offensive MVP Colton Kent to Kotie Hoover with 8:43 left in the second quarter.
"To win that state championship everything has to be right," Herring said. "You've got to be lucky you've got to be good. You've got to get some breaks and they got the breaks tonight and that's the way it is. We got them two years ago. "
The game marked a bittersweet end to the career of Refugio quarterback Travis Quintanilla. The senior passed for 391 yards and two touchdowns and broke the state record for touchdown passes in a season held by Graham Harrell of Ennis with his 68th scoring pass, which went for 14 yards to Dana Franklin.
But Quintinilla also threw three interceptions, including two in the first half.
"I had a horrible game, especially when the game counted," Quintanilla said. "I just don't know what else to say. I'm really in shock right now. It was supposed to be our year. They came to five and not winning, I guess they were just hungry this time to win a state championship."
The Bobcats made it to the state final by rallying for playoff wins over Rogers, defending state champion East Bernard and Waskom with a team filled with underclassmen.
"We graduated 28 seniors and were picked to lose the last five weeks in a row," Herring said. "I think we did pretty cotton-picking good to get here, but we didn't reach our goal. I'm not going to make any excuses because we came here to win, but it was an awesome ride for this young of a team."
Refugio's youth showed against Cisco. The Bobcats were penalized nine times for 80 yards, and had six plays for negative yardage.
"We're pups. We're young," said sophomore running back Isaiah Perez, who rushed for 107 yards and three touchdowns. "We get inside a game and we hear all the yelling and stuff and we're not used to it. We just don't know what to do. But we can't have it. It's not a good enough excuse."
The Bobcats had a hard time stopping Cisco, which rolled up 608 yards, never punted, and scored on eight of its 13 possessions, including to end the half and the game.
Kent rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 218 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Mason Reed rushed for 149 yards and one touchdown and caught two passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Reed also had 12 tackles and was named the defensive MVP.
"We had some big plays," said Cisco coach Brent West. "Colton Kent, Mason Reed took the offense over. I thought we were extremely explosive. We had to match their speed, had to match them offensively. They were definitely the real deal. I thought our defense made plays when they needed to and our offense made some big plays to kind of match theirs."
The Bobcats can look forward to next season when they will be at the top of their classification instead of the bottom.
"Thank God," Herring said. "I'm tired of being the smallest school in the state. People have no idea. I don't even know what our record is. It's something like 100 and something and six and we've been the smallest 2A in the state and done that and now we get to be the big boy. I'm looking forward to it."
The Bobcats are determined to get another opportunity to return to AT&T Stadium.
"This can only make us hungrier," Perez said. "We've got to remember this feeling and get in the weight room and lift and lift. I'm starting Monday and I'm not even stopping with the first football game. I'm starting Monday and I'm going to keep on going.
"We'll be a good team next year just like this year," he added. "But we aren't stopping at the championship game."