At first it didn’t appear that the game was going to be a blowout. The Cowboys took the opening kickoff at their 20 and, despite several penalties, moved to the Bobcat 12. But the drive stalled and Raul Gutierrez kicked a 30-yard field goal to put Edna up 3-0 midway through the initial period.
Things looked even worse for the Bobcats when, following the kickoff, Edna picked off quarterback Kyle Hendley’s first pass at the Cowboy 46.
From there the Cowboys started another march toward Refugio’s goal. Standing in the way was Refugio’s defense. After nine plays, the Cowboys were minus yards and had to punt from their 36.
Refugio took over at its 35 and on the first play, Hendley hit Brian Ramirez who threaded his way through the Cowboy defense to the goal line 65 yards away. Eric Martinez kicked the extra point and Refugio led 7-3 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
As he would do after each score in the game, Martinez boomed his kick into the end zone and Edna had to start from its 20. The Refugio defense, with Bobby Arcand, Cory Brown, Ramirez and Jourdan Ortiz leading the way, swarmed the Cowboy offense and forced a punt.
Refugio started at the Edna 47 and, despite a holding penalty, moved to the Cowboy 35. There Ortiz took a handoff, ran to his right, pulled up and hit Ramirez with a 35-yard scoring pass. Martinez made it 14-3 with his perfect kick and the rout was on.
Edna’s next possession moved to the Cat 21 but there the Cowboys fumbled and Dylan Klare came up with the ball at the Refugio 31. Four plays later the Cats punted to the Edna 48. A 15-yard penalty against the Cats gave Edna the ball at the Refugio 37.
Three plays later Arcand intercepted an Edna pass and Refugio was back in business. Four plays later, Bryan Castellano scored from the 14 on a reverse play around right end. Martinez kicked the PAT to make it 21-3 at 6:33 left in the half.
Edna went three and out on its next possession and punted to the Refugio 46. Five plays later Hendley found Ortiz open and hit him with a 31-yard scoring pass. Martinez kicked the conversion point and Refugio led 28-3.
With time running out in the half, the Cowboys needed to score and they moved from their 30 to the Cat 38 where they passed.
Jacob Garcia picked the ball off at the 35 and returned it 65 yards for another Bobcat TD. Martinez’s kick was good and the Cats went into halftime with a commanding 35-3 lead.
Refugio would come out and take the second half kickoff to its 40. A 21-yard pass play to Ramirez got the Cats to the Edna 39 and from there the Cats moved to the Cowboy 8eight-yard line. Brown then caught a pass from Hendley for a touchdown. Martinez kicked another extra point and the score upped to 42-3.
Refugio kicked off and Edna started again at its 20. On the Cowboy’s second play the ball was knocked loose due to a hard hit. Randy Harvey recovered at the Edna 17.
By now, Coach Jason Herring was substituting freely. A nine-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Perez to Irwin Fox put the ball at the Cowboy eight and Charlie Henderson tacked on the touchdown with a run. Again Martinez notched the PAT and the score was soaring at 49-3.
Martinez again kicked the ball deep and forced the Cowboys to set up at their 23.
On the second play, Fletcher Robinson broke up the middle on a 73-yard TD run. The PAT try failed and the score was now 49-9 in the third quarter of the game.
Edna would make another scoring threat late in the quarter but failed after fumbling the ball over the Cats at the Bobcat seven. The Cat offense moved from there in seven plays to score on Bryan Lewis’ 14-yard skirt around right end.
Martinez then added his ninth extra point with his successful kick to make the final score 56-9.
Refugio’s tenacious defensive unit was rock solid despite allowing 352 yards of total offense. The Cowboys made a few long plays that accounted for much of that total yardage.
Much of the time the Cowboy quarterback was running for his life as the Bobcat defense pressed him hard. The Refugio offense was balanced again as it amassed 293 yards on the ground and 241 yards in the air with Hendley passing for 194 yards and three touchdowns. The Cats led in first downs 18 to 16.
Refugio has won the first phase of three goals set by Herring and that is having gone undefeated through non-district play. The Bobcats now move into the second phase as they go into District 30-2A play after winning last year’s title in District 31-2A.
Friday night the Bobcats will travel to Banquete to play the Bulldogs (3-2) who are coming off an open week.. The Bulldogs return a good experienced group of players and are expected to contend with Refugio for the title.
Refugio played Banquete last year in the Class 2A Division II Region IV playoffs for the bi-district title and the Cats prevailed 42-21.
The two teams have met 11 times in the past with Refugio holding a 10-1 advantage. Game time is 7:30 p.m.