Refugio's road leads to championship game
Dec. 14, 2011 at 6:14 a.m.
Updated Dec. 15, 2011 at 6:15 a.m.
REFUGIO - The Refugio football team will board a charter bus bound for Arlington on Thursday morning.
The Bobcats will check into a hotel and eat dinner before watching the Class 2A, Division I state championship game at Cowboys Stadium.
The real purpose of the trip comes Friday when Refugio goes back to Cowboys Stadium.
The Bobcats (14-0) will make their first state final appearance since 1987 and seek their first state championship since 1982 when they meet Cisco (14-0) at noon in the Class 2A, Division II state final.
"Many of our kids have never been to the Metroplex," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "They've never been out of Refugio. This is going to be a treat. Hotels and motels and eating out and getting to go to Cowboys Stadium, this is going to be a treat to myself. I've never been."
Herring is aware the trip will be much more memorable if the Bobcats return to Refugio with the school's third state championship.
"One of those two teams is going to be the most focused, the most disciplined, businesslike and that's going to be the team that wins it," he said. "What I told the kids is this is the way we're going to address it. It is a business trip, strictly business, no fun until Friday at 3. Friday at 3 is when we'll have fun."
Refugio's opportunity to celebrate at Cowboys Stadium and on the bus ride home will depend on its ability to contain Cisco's running game.
The Loboes have three players - quarterback Colten Gayle and running backs Hayden Lewis and Mason Redd - who have rushed for over 1,000 yards.
"The bottom line is we've got to make them punt," Herring said. "I challenged the defense and told them we need to make them punt three or four times. There's no question, there's no secret this game is going to come down to our defensive line being able to handle their offensive line.
"If our defense can hold up and our defensive front can win the battle in the trenches, then I think we've got a shot. If our defense can't, we're going to be in trouble. Every time they get another first down that's another three or four minutes off the clock. That's my biggest fear."
Refugio's defense had a difficult time in its area playoff win over Three Rivers, but has performed better in playoff wins over Poth, Sonora and Lexington.
"Three Rivers was like a wake-up call saying just get ready because it's not going to be easy," said senior defensive lineman Donald Trevino. "After that everybody started to buckle down and started playing lights out."
The Refugio offense has been a force all season, setting a state scoring record in last week's 63-33 semifinal win over Lexington.
Sophomore quarterback Travis Quintanilla admits he is excited about the trip, but insists he won't lose sight of what matters.
"It's a nice stadium, all the trips, staying in a hotel, but you've got to keep focused and keep those distractions away from you," he said. "You have to imagine things that other people don't have that are playing basketball. You've got to give all the effort that we've given to be at this point right now."
Herring won a state championship when he was the head coach at Sonora in 2000 and wants the Bobcats to enjoy one of their own.
"We're taking all the steps we can," he said. "We're taking every precaution we can, but I'm going to tell you there's nothing I can do to prepare them. It's drastically different. We've never played a 12 o'clock game, we've never played at Cowboys Stadium.
"The good news is the other team never has either. I fully expect our kids to go out and play the game of their lives. If you can't get focused and fired up for this game, something's wrong with you."
NOTES: Refugio kicker Aldolfo Cordero has broken the state record for single-season extra points set last season by Refugio kicker Cristian Padron.
Cordero has 101 extra points heading into the state final. Padron made 100 extra points last season.