Refugio defense ready for showdown


Nov. 29, 2012 at 5:29 a.m.
Updated Nov. 30, 2012 at 5:30 a.m.

Refugio's Cameron Sternadel makes a tackle against Rogers last Friday.

Refugio's Cameron Sternadel makes a tackle against Rogers last Friday.   Angeli Wright for The Victoria Advocate

REFUGIO - Refugio had 700 yards of offense in its 76-35 Class 2A, Division II area playoff win over Rogers.

But the most impressive number to Refugio coach Jason Herring was four.

Rogers had four first downs and 120 yards of offense at halftime, which allowed the Bobcats to take a commanding 42-7 lead.

"It was just our quickness and our discipline," said Refugio linebacker Alex Coronado. "We were playing fast. They came off the ball hard and we managed to stop them."

Rogers' slot-T offense rushed for 393 yards and scored more points against the Bobcats than any team has this season.

But 28 of Rogers' points and much of its yardage came in the fourth quarter after the Refugio starters had left the field.

"No. 1 was winning the line of scrimmage," said Refugio defensive coordinator Steve Heryford. "Then, it was the second level guys reading their keys."

Refugio's defensive performance against Rogers continued a season-long trend.

The Bobcats have limited opponents to an average of 7.4 points and 156.3 yards per game.

"We're really quick and aggressive," said defensive end Devon LeFrance. "We're always flying to the ball. We have a lot of hunger."

Refugio's defensive appetite will be put to the test when the Bobcats (11-0) travel to San Antonio's Farris Stadium for a regional playoff game against Lexington (9-2) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Refugio and Lexington will be playing for the third straight season.

The previous two meetings came in the semifinals. The Eagles won 45-24 in 2010 and the Bobcats claimed a 63-33 decision last season before winning the school's third state championship.

"They are a big, physical power team and what they really want to do is line up and pound you," Herring said. "What makes them special is they can not only do that, but they can pull the trigger and throw it too."

The trigger man in Lexington's spread offense is senior quarterback Kogan Garrett, who played against Refugio as a sophomore and junior.

Garrett has passed for 2,343 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushed for 671 yards and seven touchdowns this season.

"We're very familiar with each other," Heryford said. "I have tremendous respect for him. He's not only their quarterback, he's their best running back, everything goes through him. We've got to try and keep him from having his best game."

Garrett played a big role in Lexington's win over the Bobcats in 2010, but was limited to 57 yards of rushing in last season's game.

"The key is getting pressure on him," Coronado said. "We don't want him getting the ball off and we have to keep our secondary straight. If he gets hit a couple of times, it will change the game."

Refugio was able to reverse its fortunes last season when quarterback Travis Quintanilla threw for 393 yards and four touchdowns in the first three quarters.

Many of Quintanilla's passes were timing routes against Lexington's defense, which relies heavily on pressuring the quarterback.

"Most high school quarterbacks are used to waiting until a receiver gets open and then letting it go," Herring said. "If you do that against Lexington, you're pulling stitches out of your chin.

"You have to rely on timing even if you're throwing an out route or a comeback route. Everything has to be on time because the window of opportunity is about that big because these kids can run."

The Refugio defense has also shown the ability to run to the football and making its presence felt at the point of attack.

"As far as quickness and confidence and aggressiveness our kids play with there's not a lot of wasted movement and they're not shy about striking a blow," Heryford said. "If anybody's running full speed at them, they're not shy about meeting that horse with force."

NOTES• Lexington will be the home team.

• The Eagles' two losses were to Class 3A Navasota and Class 2A, Division I Cameron Yoe. Refugio has won 26 consecutive games.

• Quintanilla has passed for 3,502 yards and 52 touchdowns. Marcus Thompson has 55 receptions for 1,470 yards. Louie Whetsel has 40 catches for 907 yards and 12 touchdowns and has rushed for 765 yards and nine touchdowns. Draigon Silvas has rushed for 773 yards and 18 touchdowns.

• The winner advances to the quarterfinals against the winner of Friday's East Bernard-Blanco game.



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