The win sure wasn’t as pretty as others this season, but a win is a win and that’s what Refugio did last Thursday night in Victoria’s Memorial Stadium before approximately 4,000 fans. The Bobcats, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 2A with an undefeated 10-0 record, came into the game highly favored over the underdog Tidehaven Tigers.
However, the Tigers, who came into the game with a 4-5 record, didn’t play like that type of a team as they matched the Cats touchdown for touchdown and made it a scary contest which Refugio narrowly won 28-25. With the win Refugio captured another bi-district title and advances to the area playoffs against the Dilley Wolves.
From the very beginning, things did not go well for the Bobcats. The Cats took the opening kickoff at their 35, moved against a surprisingly tough Tidehaven defense to their 41, where quarterback Kyle Hendley’s pass was intercepted.
The Tigers made quick work of the mistake as they took over at the Cat 41 and moved in three plays to the Cat 21. Robert DeWoody hit Sean Daniels with a scoring pass. Cristiano Neto kicked the extra point and Tidehaven had a quick 7-0 lead at 8:48 left in the opening period.
Following the kickoff, Refugio started at its 36. That possession was no better as the Tiger defense pressed the Cat offense causing several losses. Refugio was forced to punt the ball away at its 34.
Tidehaven took over at its 20 and, on the very first play, star running back JaCory Fisher, broke numerous Refugio tackles and raced 80 yards to the goal line. Neto’s kick attempt failed but with only 6:39 gone in the game, Refugio trailed 13-0.
Realizing now that the Tigers were a formidable opponent, the Bobcats pumped up and would respond with a TD drive of their own. The Cats took the ensuing kickoff and, fighting for hard yardage, marched 62 yards to score.
Aaron Perez capped the drive with a short TD run of 2 yards and Eric Martinez came on to kick the all important extra point. Now the score narrowed to 13-7 late in the first quarter.
Martinez’ kickoff was not returned and the Tigers started at their own 20 for their next possession. With the Refugio defense shoring up and Bryan Castellano’s tackle for a 7-yard loss, the Tigers were forced to punt from their 8-yard line.
Refugio took over at its 50 and started another scoring drive that took 8 plays. After reaching the Tigers 5, Hendley passed to Brian Ramirez for the TD. Martinez kicked the PAT and Refugio finally gained a narrow 14-13 lead at 10:06 in the second stanza.
The two teams battled back and forth on their next three possessions and the half ended with Refugio in the lead 14-13.
Tidehaven took the second half kickoff; started at its 20, and moved up to their 40. There the Bobcat defense forced a Tiger punt to the Refugio 27.
Earning hard yardage, the Cat offense plugged away to the Tidehaven 23. Hendley hit Christian Espindola with a pass to the Tigers’ 1-yard line. Terrence Smith tacked on the TD with a run. Martinez’ kick was again good and Refugio took a 21-13 lead late in the third period.
Tidehaven’s moved into Refugio territory on its next possession but there Bobby Arcand picked off a Tiger pass at the Refugio 20 and the Cats were back in business again. Failing to move the ball, the Cats were forced to punt, but it was a good kick to the Tidehaven 18.
Three plays later Refugio had the ball back as this time Castellano intercepted a Tiger pass and returned the ball 31 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick by Martinez was good and Refugio had what seemed to be a comfortable 28-13 lead with 11:10 to go in the game.
But the Wolves’ weren’t dead yet. They took the following kickoff at their 20 and marched in 9 plays to score on an 8-yard run by Fisher. The Tigers went for two points but the pass was incomplete and the score tightened at 28-19 with 8:35 to play.
Cory Henderson made a good return of the ensuing kickoff to set Refugio up at its 37. The Cat offense started another drive but three penalties killed the drive and the Cats had to punt the ball away.
Tidehaven took over at its 36 and moved to the Refugio 27 where Jourdan Ortiz picked off another Tiger pass at the 5-yard line to shut down the threat. However, the Cats could not move the ball and had to punt from the end zone.
The punt was bad and the Tigers had the ball at the Bobcat 21. Four plays later, Fisher scored from the 2-yard line. A run attempt for two points was stifled by the Cat defense and the score was now 28-25.
Only 1:24 showed on the clock as the Cats lined up for the kickoff. Tidehaven attempted an onsides kick but the ball sailed out of bounds and Refugio took over at its 38. From there the Cats ran out the clock to record their eleventh win of the season.
Tidehaven was a much tougher opponent than expected due to the fact they were in a tough district. Game statistics showed the two teams pretty even.
Refugio led in first downs, 26-18 and in total yardage 359-352. Hendley hit on 23-33 passes with Ortiz leading receivers with 8 catches for 78 yards. Charlie Henderson had a good night rushing with 12 carries for 123 yards.
Refugio now advances to the Class 2A Division II Region IV area playoff against another familiar opponent, Dilley. The two teams have met in the playoffs twice before and even scrimmaged at the beginning of the season.
Refugio has won both games with the last being a 28-7 win in last year’s area finals Dilley (8-3), defeated Hebbronville, a very good team, in overtime 27-21 last week and can be expected to really battle the Bobcats. The game is to be played in San Antonio’s Gustafson Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
Note: Bobcat Brian Ramirez is out for the remainder of the season. He suffered a shoulder separation in the Bloomington game. He will be missed. The injury will heal, though, and Ramirez, a junior, can be expected to return to the Bobcat team next season.