But being ranked in the pre-season poll is nothing new to Refugio football teams. They welcome the ranking. The coaches and the fans welcome the ranking. They take pride in that and make a positive out it.
Last season, the Bobcats spent the season as a ranked team in the Class 2A polls and even enjoyed a No. 1 rating for part of the season. This year’s team is ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press High School Football Poll and expectations are high to attain that No. 1 ranking again.
That’s the feeling of head coach Jason Herring and his coaching staff as they enter into the 2009 gridiron season with 90 prospects. Herring, in his third year as head coach, has an outstanding 26-2 season record at Refugio and he and the team are ready to do it again.
As usual, he has a three-step goal in sight. First, go through the pre-district schedule undefeated; second, go through district undefeated; and third, gain the playoffs and win the state championship.
That goal has worked for his past two teams, each of which went undefeated for 13 games and gained the Class 2A Division II quarter-finals.
Returning for Refugio will be 20 lettermen, 6 on offense and 6 on defense.
The team is loaded with talent but lost heavily on the offensive and defensive line. This year’s linemen will have to step up and prove themselves or as Coach Herring put it, “They will have to grow.”
Returning to anchor the offensive and defensive line will be standout player, Taylor Henning. Outstanding Rice recruit Dylan Klare will fill in on the offensive line as well as linebacker along with Charlie Henderson.
Play-maker Jourdan Ortiz will also go both ways as a wide receiver and free safety.
Despite some drawbacks, Coach Herring has great confidence in his team to win.
Tahe attitude of the team is excellent as could be attested by the summer workouts of the players. Workouts were purely voluntary and more than 50 prospective players showed up for the program.
The Bobcats will travel to Victoria to commence pre-season play against St. Joseph in Patti Welder Stadium at 7:30 Friday night.
Coach Herring lists his tentative starting offensive line up as follows: On offense – quarterback- Kyle Hendley, sr.; running backs – Terrence Smith, jr. and Draigon Silvas, fr.; wide receivers – Jourdan Ortiz, sr. and Cory Brown, Soph.; tight end –Brian Ramirez, sr., tackles – Dylan Klare, sr. and Michael Repka, jr.; guards – Rudy Solis, sr. and Taylor Henning, jr.; and center – Jared Sternadel, sr.
The tentative defensive line up will be as follows: Ends – Bryan Castellano, jr. and Henning, jr.; tackles – Sean Ponce, jr. and Repka, jr.; linebackers – Charlie Henderson, sr., Marquis Brown, fr., and Klare, Sr.; cornerbacks – Brown, soph, and Bryant Lewis, soph.; and safety – Aaron Perez, fr. and Ortiz, Sr.
Besides Victoria St. Joseph, other teams on Refugio’s testy schedule will be Hallettsville, Poth, Industrial, and Edna.
Refugio will once again be in District 30-2A along with Banquete, Odem, Taft, Skidmore-Tynan, and Bloomington.
An interesting note is the tradition that the Bobcats have built over many years. The first records kept on Cat football games started in 1931.
From 1931-1978 Refugio teams made the playoffs nine times. Of course for most of those years, only the winner of the district advanced to the playoffs.
Now three teams may advance but in different divisions. Starting in 1978 Refugio Bobcat football teams have made the playoffs every year except one, in 1991.
In fact, the Bobcats have advanced to the playoffs in 30 of the last 31 years. That is an outstanding accomplishment and a tradition every Bobcat hopes to continue.