Refugio goes back to work after regular-season streak ends
Sept. 16, 2013 at 4:16 a.m.
REFUGIO - No helmet stickers were handed out before practice Monday.
Instead, Refugio players and coaches watched tape of their 45-39 loss to Lago Vista.
The experience was a new one for the Bobcats, who had not lost a regular-season game since 2006.
Refugio's 63-game regular-season winning streak and its streak of 39 consecutive wins at Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium ended Friday night when the Vikings scored on a 71-yard pass with 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
"The first thing I told them is 'I don't want you to forget about what it felt like that night on the field,'" said Refugio coach Jason Herring. "A loss can either be a great positive or a great distraction. We're hoping that the loss helps our kids refocus and do a better job in practice and do a better job of growing up a little bit."
Refugio took a 39-22 lead into the fourth quarter but was hurt by critical mistakes and missed chances.
"We had 10 to 12 different opportunities to win the game, and we just didn't get it done," Herring said. "You can say it comes down to execution. We've got to learn to focus in practice and realize how important every second is."
Refugio quarterback Travis Quintanilla lost a regular-season game for the first time since he started playing football at Refugio in seventh grade.
Quintanilla passed for 336 yards and three touchdowns in the game, but those numbers were small consolation.
"You can say it's good because we took a loss, but who wants to lose?" he said. "To break the streak as a senior - I'll be with that the rest of my life."
Senior Devon LaFrance shares Quintanilla's sentiments but is more concerned about how Refugio's younger players respond to the loss.
"We lost to East Bernard last year, so we know," LaFrance said. "Our freshmen and younger guys - we have a lot of them - have never lost ever. This is definitely a wake-up call telling them we can lose."
The recovery process for the Bobcats started Monday.
Refugio has an open date before beginning District 16-2A, Division I play Sept. 27 at Riviera, but the players were on the field in pads.
"The biggest lesson to be learned is No. 1, you can't relax," Herring said. "This is so typical of a young team. The minute we got up 15-0, you could tell they went, 'Whew. We got it.' Next thing you know, it's 22-22.
"Then we get up 17, and you could see it in them. We can't let down. You can't relax. I think the only way you're going to learn is for something like this to happen."
The lesson Quintanilla learned from the loss is the importance of the team's veterans taking a bigger leadership role.
"We have a good team," he said. "The lack of focus or immaturity could kill us in the longer run. If we don't fix that and get focused in practice and just go through the motions, it's not going to help us at all. Seniors and upperclassmen need to step up and tell them what needs to be done."
Refugio doesn't figure to have trouble with its district schedule, but the Bobcats have much bigger goals.
"We have a lot of hard-working guys," LaFrance said. "We have a lot of talent. Our young guys have a lot of talent. We have to learn from our mistakes and move on. You've just got to think about it like we've got to get better."
Sandcrabs streak on
Calhoun currently has the area's longest regular-season winning streak.
The Sandcrabs have won 26 straight regular-season games following Friday's 63-42 victory over Somerset.
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.