It will now be Cat versus Cat as Refugio advances to the quarter finals to play the Blanco Panthers for the right to advance to the semi-finals..
The Panthers eliminated Industrial last Friday night, 42-21. The game will be played in San Antonio’s Alamodome this Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Brahmas won the toss and deferred to the second half. Refugio took the opening kickoff to its 15. Three plays later the Cats were forced to punt and East Bernard took over at the Refugio 40.
On the second play Lance Crump broke loose and scored from the 36-yard line. Chris Plunkett kicked the extra point and, as in the first two playoff games, Refugio found itself trailing 7-0.
Refugio took the ensuing kickoff to its 17. On the second play quarterback Kyle Hendley hit Jourdan Ortiz with a pass good for 19 yards. Hendley then found Christian Espindola racing down the middle of the field and hit him with a pass to the Brahma 36-yard line.
Two plays later Ortiz took a pass from Hendley and set sail for a 38-yard touchdown. Eric Martinez came on for the conversion kick and had a rare PAT miss, making the score 7-6 at 7:56 on the clock in the first period.
Refugio then tried an onsides kick and it was successful as Farrell Flowers came up with the ball, giving Refugio good field position at the Brahma 45. However, the Cats failed to move and punted. The punt was short and East Bernard took over at its 30.
The Brahmas moved up to the 49 where the Refugio defense forced a punt. Taking over at the 19-yard line the Cat offense then move for another score. Three plays later an 11-yard pass from Hendley to Ortiz moved Refugio to its 37.
Hendley then found Bryan Castellano going down the left sideline and passed to him. Castellano made a great one-hand catch to put Refugio on the East Bernard 35. Two plays later Hendley faded back; faked, and hit Ortiz going down the left sideline for a 30-yard touchdown.
The run for a two-point conversion failed but the Cats went into the lead at 12-7 near the end of the first quarter.
Moving into the second quarter the game was still tight. The defense still faced a good offensive unit in the Brahmas. The Bobcats kicked off and East Bernard set up at its 34. The defense began to toughen more and forced the Brahmas to punt again.
Refugio took the punt at its 34 and began its longest drive of the night. Using the passing game on every play, the Cat offense marched 65 yards to the Brahma 1-yard line and there faced a fourth down situation.
The Brahma defense set up a wall for the run but was surprised when backup quarterback, Aaron Perez leaped up and hit a wide open Irvin Fox with short pass that was good for the TD.
A pass attempt for the conversion failed but the Cats had some breathing room with an 18-7 lead midway with 6:30 left in the half.
The Brahmas took the following kickoff and started at their 25 and moved up to their 41. There the Cat defense led by Randy Harvey, Bo Adams, Taylor Henning, Bobby Arcand and Dylan Klare stalled the drive and forced the Brahmas to punt.
A good return by Cory Brown placed the Cats at their 44 Runs of 13 yards by Charlie Henderson and 16 yards by Terrance Smith helped moved the Cats to the East Bernard 7. Facing fourth down, Coach Jason Herring opted for Martinez to kick a field goal. Kick the field goal he did, a 24 yarder, which made the score 21-7 at halftime.
The Brahmas opened the second half by taking a short kick at their 40-yard line. With the aid of a fake punt on fourth down, the Brahma offense perked up and began to move. They got to the Cat 19 and on a third down play, Crump got loose again and scored on a run. Plunkett kicked the PAT and the score tightened once again at 21-14.
Refugio set up after the kickoff at its 27 and moved to its 30 where it faced fourth down.. Coach Herring chose to go with a fake punt to Fox but unfortunately he was stopped a yard short and East Bernard had great field position at the Cat 36.
The Brahmas would then take advantage of that and moved the distance in just five plays to score on Matt Stelzel’s 9-yard run. A bad snap caused the Brahmas to miss the extra point but now the pressure was on the Cats, with just a 21-20 score.
Refugio’s next possession following the kickoff made the hearts of Bobcat fans sink. After runs of 9 and 18 yards by Henderson, the ball was fumbled over to the Brahmas at their 38. Three plays later, though, the Cats had the ball back as Harvey recovered a Brahma fumble at the Refugio 30.
Refugio needed to add an insurance touchdown so they started a successful march of 70 yards to score. Smith opened the march with a big 39-yard run. Castellano added 13 more yards on a run and Ortiz made another one of his outstanding catches of a Hendley pass, good for 10 yards.
Finally the Cat offense reached the East Bernard 2 but a loss put Refugio back at the 8-yard line. Facing a third down situation. Hendley rolled out to his right, turned and heaved a tremendous throw-back pass across the field to Henderson who raced into the end zone for the TD.
The clock showed 22 seconds left in the third quarter as Martinez kicked the PAT to make the score, 28-20.
East Bernard took the following kickoff and moved from their 33 to the Cat 45 before being forced to punt the ball away. Refugio started at its 25 and with the aid of a 25-yard pass from Hendley to Fox, the Cats moved into Brahma territory. But the ball was fumbled away to the Brahmas who took over at their 38.
The Brahmas then started to march and moved to the Bobcats 31. There the march ended as Ortiz picked off a Brahma pass and the Cats had the ball again at their 12-yard line.
Time was beginning to run out as the Cats moved up to 38-yard line. There, though, they had to punt. Punter Jacob Garcia boomed one that landed and then skidded toward the Brahma goal line. The ball was downed at the Brahma 10-yard line.
The Brahmas began to move again. The Bobcat defense had to play tough and, although the Brahmas moved the ball, the Cat “D” did its job in holding off the Brahmas as the clock ran out.
This was another tough game for the Cats. They, however, prevailed under difficult conditions against a good ball club.
Refugio led in first downs 18-15 and in total yardage 477-333. The Refugio defense did a good job in shutting down the Brahmas passing game by allowing no completions in 10 tries.
On the other hand, Hendley, who is developing into a good passer, completed 22 of 31 passes for 327 yards and 3 TD’s. The running game is there as Smith rushed for 66 yards on 6 carries and Henderson added 55 more yards on 8 carries.
Now the competition gets even tougher. Refugio will play the Blanco Panthers, a team they played in the 1999 area playoffs and defeated 34-13.
Like Refugio, Blanco is 13-0 after defeating Industrial last Friday night. The Panthers are a very physical and big team with some speedy runners.
The game will be a big test for the Bobcats but they can handle it if they play their game. Remember game time was changed to 6 p.m..