Refugio blanks Ben Bolt (w/video)

Mike Forman By Mike Forman

Nov. 16, 2017 at 8:23 p.m.
Updated Nov. 17, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

The Refugio team celebrates winning Class 2A Division I bi-district playoff against Ben Bolt.

The Refugio team celebrates winning Class 2A Division I bi-district playoff against Ben Bolt.   Olivia Vanni/ovanni@vicad.com for The Victoria Advocate

MATHIS – Refugio coach Jason Herring told his team that Casey Henderson would be at its Class 2A, Division I bi-district playoff game.

But Herring had no idea what to expect when Henderson arrived at Pirate Stadium.

Henderson severely injured his neck against Edna and had been in a San Antonio hospital until Thursday.

Henderson led his teammates onto the field and surprised them by getting up out of his wheelchair and walking ahead of them down the sideline.

“It was unbelievable,” said senior Jacobe Avery. “None of us knew that he was able to walk. Coach Herring usually keeps us informed, but he didn’t even tell us.”

Henderson then walked to midfield for the coin toss and back to the sideline where he watched the Bobcats roll to a 57-0 win over Ben Bolt.

“He just blew my mind by getting out of the wheelchair and walking in front of us,” said junior Jake Tinsman. “It was a great moment for everybody.”

Refugio improved to 9-1 and advanced to the area round against the winner of Friday’s Thorndale-Junction game.

The area game will be played at 2 p.m. Friday at Converse Judson’s D.W. Rutledge Stadium.

Refugio quarterback Jared Kelley threw for 236 yards and six touchdowns in his first playoff start.

The clock ran continuously from early in the third quarter to the end of the game.

“We had a lot on our mind, Hoss,” Herring said. “We knew Casey was going to be here, but we had no idea he was going to walk. We’re just thrilled. I knew he was going to lead us out of the tunnel, but the moment he got out of the chair and walked, that kind of put everything in perspective.”

Kelley threw touchdown passes of 11, 42 and 32 yards to Tinsman, 22 yards to Jamel LaFond, 21 yards to Jacobe Avery, and 55 yards to Trent Ross.

“I was overthrowing a little bit,” said Kelley, who completed 11 of his 21 passes. “When I see them wide open, I get a little excited. This is my first playoff game as the starting quarterback, and I can get that out. I’m good now. We’ve got everything out, and we’re fine.”

The Badgers (5-6) had only one first down and Refugo had a 28-0 lead at halftime, but Herring could sense his team’s focus wasn’t nearly as sharp as it had been for last week’s win over Shiner.

“Our focus probably wasn’t where it needed to be but for good reason,” he said. “We played great defense the whole game. Offensively, we were just a little out of sync. You’ve just got to win these things and keep on rolling.”

Tinsman added a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown, and Donavon Bailey threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to DJ Campbell to complete the scoring.

“All we could think about was Casey and everything that was going on around us,” Tinsman said. “You could tell the atmosphere in the locker room was a little off. But we came out in the second half and put it on them pretty good.”


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