Town supports Bobcats heading to state game

Amber Aldaco By Amber Aldaco

Dec. 19, 2017 at 9:36 p.m.
Updated Dec. 20, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Jared Kelley receives a hug from an attendee at the send-off for the Refugio football team's trip to the Class 2A, Division I final in Arlington.

Jared Kelley receives a hug from an attendee at the send-off for the Refugio football team's trip to the Class 2A, Division I final in Arlington.   Nicolas Galindo for The Victoria Advocate

REFUGIO - Cheers, chants and music echoed throughout the Refugio indoor football facility as a group of about 100 people gathered during the lunch hour Tuesday.

Sophomore Ember Glocar, dressed in the Bobcat mascot attire, walked over to the group of cheerleaders as her mother, Sharon Lowrance, watched the rally. In the sea of orange and black Bobcat shirts were also T-shirts with the words "Refugio Strong" - a message that runs deeper than football for the town. Lowrance couldn't help but get a little teary-eyed at the sight.

"They stayed here at the facility after the hurricane. They would practice, go out and help the community, practice, and go out to help," Lowrance said of the football team. "They've worked hard for this. Everything the team and coaches have achieved - if they could get it (the title) back-to-back, that would be something."

Though foggy, hazardous weather led to the cancellation of a stadium pep rally Monday evening, parents and community members showed up to the school Tuesday afternoon to see the state-bound Refugio Bobcats.

The team will take on the Mart Panthers on Wednesday evening at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington for the Class 2A, Division 1 championship.

At least two charter buses loaded with community fans will leave Wednesday for the state game.

While the football team has been a state contender and winner several times, this year's state tournament feels different to the community. The team has never had to play after such hardships in years past, said Joann Ross, a grandmother to two Bobcats.

Ross remembers praying for her grandson, football player Trevor Ross, during Hurricane Harvey. He was in town during the storm, she said, and the roof above him was caving in. Joann Ross said she prayed steadily for her grandson through the storm.

Fortunately Trevor, like the rest of the town, pulled through the storm. Ross drove to Refugio from Goliad Tuesday morning to see her two grandsons off. Ross has been staying in a hotel in Goliad ever since Harvey destroyed her home.

Her other grandson, Trenton Ross, also plays on the varsity team.

"It's amazing that they've come so far through that," Ross said. "The community has pulled through so much, and it's amazing to watch these boys continue to reach this milestone in their lives."

She added, "All glory to God, because things could have been real different for the Refugio community."

Senior Prentiss Jones spent a few minutes talking with his family before the team left to Arlington.

"After the hurricane, everyone was really broken because of it," Jones said. "Now we're all together for this."

In addition to dealing with the aftermath of the storm, the team faced another setback when junior Casey Henderson fractured the C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck during a September game.

"Football has really brought the town together. It is what Refugio is known for," said Jessica Lopez, Jones' stepmother. "Everyone came together to support one another after the hurricane and after Casey, too."

City councilman Lenny Anzaldua said the team's achievement has deep meaning for the community. The storm tore a lot of people's lives apart, he said, but the football team and coaches have helped the community. From sleeping in the indoor facility following Harvey to helping the town with clean-up efforts, the team and coaches are already champions, Anzaldua said.

"These boys do deserve it, not just because they're champions at heart, but because their hearts are in the right place," he said.



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