Bobcats' offensive line helps power team into state final

Marcus Gutierrez By Marcus Gutierrez

Dec. 15, 2017 at 12:38 a.m.
Updated Dec. 15, 2017 at 12:38 a.m.

The Bobcats' offensive line helped power the team to its third straight state final.

The Bobcats' offensive line helped power the team to its third straight state final.   Olivia Vanni/ for The Victoria Advocate

CYPRESS — Trey Upton remembers when Refugio used its running game to win the Class 2A, Division I state championship last season.

This season, the Bobcats switched to throwing the ball more with sophomore quarterback Jared Kelley. But the senior offensive lineman knows that the running game will always be there when the Bobcats need it.

Refugio rushed for a 467 yards on the ground in a 63-21 rout of St. Augustine in a Class 2A, Division I semifinal game Thursday night at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium.

"We really took pride last year of pounding the rock," Upton said. "This year, we've been throwing the ball more with (Jared) Kelley, but we still have the mentality of pounding the rock all the time."

Refugio will face Mart, which defeated Stratford 33-13 at 7 p.m. Wednesday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

This will be the Bobcats third straight appearance playing in the state championship game.

Refugio running backs averaged 7.2 yards per carry and scored five of the eight touchdowns for the Bobcats, who have won 11 games in a row.

Senior running back Daryon Ramirez led the team in rushing with 235 yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns. Sophomore Ysidro Mascorro added 114 yards on 14 carries scoring two touchdowns, while Jacobe Avery had 16 carries for 90 yards and three touchdowns.

"We came into this week knowing that we can run the ball," Upton said. "The run was working so well that we just stuck with it the whole night. It's awesome when our line gets that surge to open up for our running backs to make plays."

Refugio head coach Jason Herring thought the offensive line did their part in the Bobcats' victory.

"I thought they did incredible because it was a game fought in the trenches," Herring said. "A bunch of our kids have been going both ways, but we have been doing that all year."

"We're peaking at the right time," Refugio offensive line coach Drew Cox added. "Last year we had five guys who all returned, and now I have three new lineman in there."

Refugio's passing attack has opened up options for the Bobcats' offense.

"We've been able to throw the ball this year, and that has opened up our running game some," Cox said. "When we're able to do both, it helps our offense move the ball. I was proud of how the team played tonight – it was the best game we played all year - and it came at the right time."

Refugio's running game controlled the clock for the entire game.

The Bobcats had the ball for 31:28 of the game to the Wolves 16:32.

Junior right tackle Armoni Brown likes to see his running backs break tackles for big gains, and getting in the end zone to put points on the scoreboard for the Bobcats.

"It shows that we're doing our job," Brown said. "Coach Herring said we're going to run the same play over and over again. He told us that they were going to be a good team, and they were one of the best teams that we played this year."

Brown and the Bobcats faced challenges this year with Hurricane Harvey and with teammate Casey Henderson's neck injury.

"It's amazing to be going back to state," Brown said. "We have faced so much adversity this year with the hurricane and Casey's injury. To be able to go back and to compete for another state championship is great."

Upton and the Bobcats have one game left in the season, and they're looking to end it in the right fashion.

"It's amazing, we're really blessed to go three years in a row," Upton said. "To win state last year was great and nothing would be better than to win it back-to-back for the first time."



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