CYPRESS – Ysidro Mascorro had two options in the fourth quarter of Refugio’s Class 2A, Division I semifinal game against San Augustine.
Mascorro could either keep pushing forward or go home.
There wasn’t much doubt what choice Mascorro would make.
“Really, towards the end, it was just, ‘Ain’t nothing to it but to do it,’” he said. “That’s what coach always says. Excuse my language, but either nut up or shut up. You get told you’re going to be the man of the team, you’ve got go in and do the job.”
Mascorro carried 24 times for 160 yards and one touchdown to help the Bobcats grind out a 29-21 win over the Wolves on Thursday night at FCU Stadium.
Refugio improved to 15-0 and advanced to the state final for the 10th time and the fourth time in five seasons.
The Bobcats will play for their fifth state championship against Post, a 35-7 winner over Valley View, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“It feels crazy,” said sophomore Antwaan Gross. “I can’t believe it. It’s all I wanted. It just feels like a dream.”
Refugio had to battle to achieve the dream, falling behind 14-7 before tying the game with 53 seconds left in the second quarter and fending off San Augustine (14-1) in the second half.
“I told our kids at halftime we didn’t play great the first half,” said Refugio coach Jason Herring. “We didn’t score on the first drive, we threw two interceptions and we’re still 14-14, so I said, ‘It’s a blessing. We’ve got a great opportunity. All we’ve got to do is play; we’ve been stopping ourselves.’ Our defense came up huge. Those two interceptions were huge. They gave us a short field, and we scored just enough points to win.”
Mascorro, who played almost the entire game at linebacker, ran behind Refugio’s offensive line as the Bobcats chewed up the final 8:38 of the fourth quarter after stopping the Wolves on downs at the Refugio 8-yard line.
“We said keep our pad level low and just keep driving,” said center Thomas Keyes. “No matter what you do, stay on your blocks.”
Mascorro carried five times on the final drive and gained 37 yards while forcing San Augustine to use its final timeouts.
“It may not have looked like it, but you’ve got to show patience,” Mascorro said. “I was looking, and the hole was either inside or the hole was outside, and if there wasn’t a hole, you have to make your own hole.”
Herring wanted the ball in Mascorro’s hands during the final drive.
“There are certain games that are fits for different kids, and late in the second half this was a Sido-type game because he’s a bull, he’s strong, he holds onto the ball and he’s just a straight downhill runner,” Herring said. “I thought once we got lead by 15 points, I was determined: ‘I’m not going to change it up. I’m going to pound Sido, pound Sido, pound Sido,’ because I thought it was the best chance to win the game.”
San Augustine used its athleticism to score on runs of 37 yards by quarterback Jayden Hicks, 63 yards by Tijay Thomas-Davis and a 31-yard pass from Hicks to Javarius Miller.
“They had athletes,” Mascorro said. “They’re explosive. If we messed up, they were going to capitalize, and that’s exactly what happened. We just didn’t get down. We stayed in it. We knew what was coming.”
Refugio stops San Augustine on 4th down. Bobcats take over leading 29-21 with 8:24 left in the game. pic.twitter.com/zAsNY9t0iu— Rey Castillo (@reycastillo361) December 13, 2019
The Bobcats scored on runs of 3 and 11 yards by Ochoa in the first half but also turned the ball over on downs at the San Augustine 8-yard line on their first drive and had two passes intercepted.
“Coach tells us, ‘Don’t let the bad things get you down and don’t get too high on the good things,’” Gross said. “So we just stay balanced and keep going.”
Gross and Jordy Martinez had interceptions for Refugio in the second half and limited the Wolves to one score.
“Our kids have a little motto: “If there’s one second left, we’ve got a chance,’” Herring said. “I know that sounds crazy, but I’m starting to believe them. These kids find a way to win. They’ve got a goal in mind, and that’s what they’re trying to do.”
The Bobcats will try to take the final step in less than a week.
“No one panicked,” Mascorro said. “No one put their heads down. We have a saying: ‘You hold the knife.’ You drop the knife, the other person is going to pick up the knife. They picked it up and they did something, but they dropped it. They dropped it and we picked it back up and didn’t put it back down.”