The sophomore running back is proving that talent runs deep in the Whetsel family of athletes.
His father Todd Whetsel, a physician, played football at the University of Oklahoma on scholarship. Older brothers Hunter and Shiloh are on scholarships at Texas State, Hunter for baseball and Shiloh as a football inside receiver.
“We played every day in the yard,” Chase said. “Hunter, Shiloh and I tried to see who could score the most touchdowns,” he said. “I beat Shiloh in 7th and 8th grade and Shiloh beat me last year with 26.”
Along with the competition for numbers, the mutual support also runs deep. Chase now plays with Shiloh’s number 5 on his jersey.
“Coach Herring and I talked over me changing numbers,” he said.
As much as Chase “loves football,” baseball is his first love. He’s already talking to the University of Texas. Spending the summer at camp in Ft. Myers and Jupiter, Fla. and another two weeks in Atlanta, Ga. were good experiences that honed his skills even further.
“Kids were there from everywhere - the Dominican Republic and other places,” he said. “Some didn’t speak English but we had a great time.”
Having Lunch with a Badge at Tejas BBQ with police officers Bill Schaefer and Bruce Radford, along with Refugio Councilman Dale Skrobarcek and Ron Lucich, restaurant owner, Chase said he was 100 percent glad he came to Refugio from Calallen.
“In Calallen, football is a school thing but here the whole town is behind it. I really like that,” Chase said.
Last year when Chase was a freshman varsity running back, a bit of confusion erupted in the stands as Refugio’s announcer, Dennis Bellows, called Whetsel Louie at times and Chase at other times. He answers to both. The athlete explained the origin of the nickname.
In Houston when Chase was four years old and playing peewee football, the team had several boys named Chase so the coach improvised.
“My Dad’s best friend started calling me Little Louie; then it became Louie and it stuck,” Chase said. “I can tell when I’m seriously in trouble, when my mother (Terri Whetsel) calls me Chase.”
Last season, a daily newspaper even listed his statistics twice in the same article, once for Louie Whetsel and once for Chase Whetsel.
After last year’s stellar performance by the freshman, little doubt remains that whether one calls him Chase or Louie, his record speaks for itself.
So far this season, Chase has accumulated 400 yards rushing with five touchdowns; 500 yards receiving with five touchdowns; and 3 punt returns for touchdowns, for a total of 13 touchdowns on the year.
As a sophomore who earned a state championship ring, Chase says that the talent on last year’s team that was lost to graduation is made up in discipline. Last year’s motto, “stay linked,” has evolved to “leave no doubt,” and Chase has no doubt.
“This team has 10 times more discipline,” Chase said.
The bar remains high for all the Bobcats, on and off the field.
“So many little kids follow us and watch what we do 24/7 so we don’t want to do anything stupid like cussing or acting dumb because they’re constantly watching us,” Chase said.
An honor student at RHS, Chase said, “My parents won’t let me play if I make a C.”
The controversy over last year’s high-scores stand to be repeated if the 80-0 score against Taft on Friday continues through the season. But the player contends the game is not about how high the score but how perfect the game.
“We go into the game to make a statement and play perfect football,” Chase said. “If it takes 100 points to make a perfect football game, then that’s what it takes. We pay attention to each play. Even if we’re ahead and someone makes a mistake or cuts wrong, we’re going to hear about it.”
Chase wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Coach Herring is right about everything,” he says. “He loves all of us — you don’t have to be a starter and ever touch the football because he loves all the kids. He makes sure they do their homework and are learning. He asks questions and takes time to make sure. He’s a coach and a dad, all at the same time and I love him to death.”
As far as the criticism last year, “We don’t pay attention. How are we gong to play four quarters in the playoffs if we don’t start now, so there’s no need to listen. Coach (Drew) Cox loves when people talk like that.”
“I can’t wait until Friday,” Chase said.