“As soon as the realignment came out and I saw that five teams are in the top 10 in our region, we’ve been preparing the kids for the gauntlet,” Herring said.
At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, in Dub Farris Stadium in San Antonio, the Bobcats will meet the second team in the gauntlet - Lexington, which is the only team to beat Refugio for the past three seasons.
After going into the area round following a bye, Herring’s fears that the Bobcats might be a little rusty were soon quelled. The No. 1-ranked Bobcats went into the third quarter leading 55-7.
The Eagles scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter and the Bobcats’ scored three, making the final 76-35. Rogers was clearly out-matched.
Monday afternoon, minutes before the team arrived in the fieldhouse for practice, the athletic director was finishing up details of his game plan for Friday’s regional battle against Lexington in San Antonio.
“Lexington is a great football team,” Herring said. “They match up with us athletically as good as any team we’ll play. Lexington is always going to be a scary team.”
Lexington and Rogers have been in the same district for years. Earlier in the season, Lexington scraped by Rogers 58-53.
Refugio’s decisive 41-point shellacking of Rogers does not reflect Lexington’s capabilities, the coach said.
“I’m telling you, you can’t think that way,” Herring said. “Rogers lines up foot-to-foot, three yards and a cloud of dust to keep you off the football field. Lexington spreads it out, finesses it and throws the ball.”
Like Refugio, Lexington plays the spread.
“They’re all over the place, slinging it everywhere,” Herring said. “When the same team keeps showing up year after year in the playoffs, they’re quality.”
The Bobcats were firing on all cylinders against Rogers, Herring says. Playing with that same intensity will be required against Lexington.
“We have great senior leadership,” Herring said. “Our nucleus of seniors do all the right things - they work hard and make their grades. Our chemistry is second to none.”
The throwing, the kicking, the offense, defense and special teams are collectively the best of his career.
“This may be the most complete team I’ve ever coached,” Herring said.
The Bobcats are special to Herring in other ways.
“These seniors are my seventh graders,” he said
This is the first team that has been under Herring’s wing since he arrived six years ago. The affection is as real as it gets.
“He’s really great,” said stellar running back Draigon Silvas who made five touchdowns against Rogers and 10 tackles as linebacker.
Draigon said as long as he’s on the field and the team is winning, he’s happy.
“I love playing football and I love the game,” he said.
The controversy that muddied the waters last season over high scores has disappeared. At this point in the playoffs last year, the Cats had scored 710 points to this year’s 717. They’ve been averaging more than 65 points per game. Teetering on shattering more records, the Cats are not counting.
“I don’t look at the records,” Herring said. “I’d be lying if I told you its not special but my goal has never changed. My goal is to put the best football game on the field every Friday night and to win a state championship.”