Competitive fire still burns Refugio's Draigon
Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.
REFUGIO - Draigon Silvas left town for one day this summer.
He traveled to Kingsville to participate in a football camp.
Silvas spent the rest of his vacation getting ready for his senior season, which came as no surprise to Refugio coach Jason Herring.
"Lots of times when you get a stud athlete, they're not your hardest-working kids," Herring said. "They're not committed because things have come easy to them. What makes Draigon special is you've got a great, tremendous, phenomenal athlete who is also a great, tremendous kid who outworks everybody in the school."
Silvas has been around Refugio football his entire life.
His father, Manuel Silvas, and uncle, Willie Mack Garza, played for the Bobcats when they advanced to the 1987 Class 2A state final.
Draigon Silvas spent the last three seasons creating his own legacy.
He led Refugio to state semifinal appearances as a freshman and a sophomore before helping the Bobcats win the Class 2A, Division II state championship last season.
"I expected to get a state championship every year," Silvas said. "We got one and I'm happy, but I wanted more and we're going to try and go get another one this year."
Silvas did his part by attending every summer conditioning drill and working out on his own so he could begin the season in prime condition.
"He's been so consistent," Herring said. "He's gotten stronger, he's gotten faster. He's gotten better because of that. As far as his work ethic and his attitude and his leadership, that's never changed."
Silvas has rushed for 3,197 yards and 55 touchdowns and accounted for 4,127 all-purpose yards during his Refugio career.
His statistics are impressive, but nowhere near where they could be if he had not split time at running back during his three seasons on the varsity.
Silvas will share the position with Malcolm Franklin this season, but he wouldn't think about complaining.
"We've built the chemistry to where it doesn't matter who's getting the ball," Silvas said. "We're going out there to get a ring."
Silvas in not only a powerful runner, but an elusive one.
Herring likes to point out Refugio had only 10 players on the field when Silvas made what turned out to be a critical two-point conversion run in its 36-35 win over Cisco in the state title game.
"It was unbelievable," Silvas said. "When we finished that game, it was just crazy. When we won it, it was like like what's going on. It's a feeling you've got to work for and that feeling is like where's the next game. It still hasn't hit me yet. I still can't believe we won it."
Silvas has already started thinking about winning another state championship and as a team captain is doing his best to make sure his teammates do the work necessary to repeat.
"So what about that ring?" Silvas asked. "That was last year. The ring is there but what's it's going to do for us this year? I want people to come out and see nothing but the best and that's what we're looking forward to giving. That's what I live for."
Silvas doesn't talk a lot and often shies away from the spotlight. But his coaches and teammates know they can rely on him in critical situations.
"He's got a great work ethic that I haven't ever seen," Herring said. "He's been the best leader we've got but he's not vocal. He was voted captain almost unanimously as a junior. He's got the respect of the kids, the coaches, the community."
Silvas' primary position is running back, but Herring has used him at quarterback in the Wildcat offense, at linebacker on defense and as a kickoff returner.
"There's no question he's the best football player I've ever coached period," Herring said. "Probably the best I will ever coach. I'm talking about an all-around football player. Offense, defense, leadership, work ethic, weight room."
Silvas weighed 140 pounds as a freshman and will enter this season at 180 pounds, although at 5-foot-7 he can still be difficult to find in the backfield.
"You'd never pick him out as the superstar of Refugio," Herring said. "It's strictly business with him. I'm going to work my butt off to help my team. He doesn't have anything left to prove, but in his mind he does."
Silvas hopes his efforts pay off in another state title and the chance to play football again next season.
"It's my senior year and I want to make it my best yet," Silvas said. "Then it's about going to college and playing for however long I can and becoming a successful man."