Quintanilla in store for a record breaking season?


Aug. 29, 2013 at 3:29 a.m.

   Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate

REFUGIO - Travis Quintanilla attended a few quarterback camps during the summer, but he passed up the opportunity to attend more.

Quintanilla wanted to take part in summer conditioning drills with his Refugio teammates as he prepared for his senior season.

"I just remember when I was in junior high playing football, and now I'm at the last stage of football for Refugio," he said. "I'm just going to go out there and give it all I got because I can't ask for it again."

Quintanilla would have few reasons to seek a do-over. He's led the Bobcats to a 29-1 record and the 2011 Class 2A, Division II state championship since becoming a starter as a sophomore.

Quintanilla has passed for 8,681 yards and 118 touchdowns, while setting a state record by throwing 10 touchdown passes in a game.

"Starting as a sophomore, I had a lot of weight on my back," he said. "From then until now it seems like everything has progressed. My first year starting and leading the team to state was kind of crazy for a young pup like me. I'm more relaxed now because this is my last year. It's like I've been playing my whole life."

Quintanilla enters his senior season with a chance to eclipse state records for career passing yards (12,534 by Garrett Gilbert of Lake Travis) and career touchdown passes (167 by Graham Harrell of Ennis).

"We don't talk about records," said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "We do talk about state championships. We're going to rock along and do what we need to do win state and if the records happen, they happen.

"Obviously, when you get close, you want it to happen," he added. "Individual goals are awesome. He could pass up some of the greatest high school quarterbacks of all time. I'd like to see him get that for his sake because he's worked so hard and had so much success. But never, ever, ever would we let that get in the way of the team."

Herring leaves no doubt Quintanilla will be the focus of the offense this season. The Bobcats return only one starter on the offensive line, but are extremely deep at wide receiver.

"I told him he's got to be the man offensively," Herring said. "He's got to run the show. We're going to give him the chance. We've been about a 50-50 team, maybe even 60-40, with 60 run and 40 pass. We're probably going to sling the ball a lot more than we ever have. I think it's got a chance to be a real special year for him."

Quintanilla has prepared by spending more time in the weight room and working on his throwing motion with first-year assistant coach Cameron Cox.

"We work on not dipping the ball, but pushing it back and releasing up top," Cox said. "It will help because he's only a 5-10, 5-11 quarterback and we've got two tackles who are over 6 feet."

Neither Herring nor Cox are worried about a lack of motivation.

Quintanilla is still smarting from Refugio's 54-23 loss to East Bernard in last season's quarterfinals.

Quintanilla passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions in what was his first loss as a starter since he started playing quarterback in seventh grade.

"He's had so much success as a little kid," Herring said. "Obviously it was shocking and it was hard. It wasn't just that we lost, but the way we lost. We got our butts kicked. They took it to us. He's pretty resilient.

"I attribute this to his hunger this summer and being so committed to not wanting that to happen again. He never had it happen and he probably didn't know how to deal with it. I honestly think it's a good thing to get your eyes opened and wake you up."

Quintanilla is also an outstanding pitcher and he is unsure what sport he would like to pursue on the college level.

But he knows the pain he felt after losing in the quarterfinals last season, and the joy he experienced winning the state championship as a sophomore.

"After seeing the seniors, all of them were my best friends and I hung out with them every day, bust out in tears because it was the last game they'll ever play for Refugio, it just got me," he said. "That could be me or it could be me at Cowboys (AT&T) Stadium winning the championship. It's going to end either way."



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