The town was abuzz about its Refugio Bobcats who defeated the Waskom Wildcats on Thursday night, Dec. 12, in Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
“Oh, man, I was very happy. When (Waskom) got the first 14 points, I was worried,” said Mayor Joey Heard. “But by halftime, they had it sewed up.”
Heard said everybody he’s seen is really happy.
“Ecstatic,” he described the environment in Refugio.
Heard added that parties were going on through Refugio on Thursday night ... thrown by those who couldn’t attend the game in Houston.
Predicting that Cisco would win its game Saturday, which it did, Heard said, “It’s going to be a grudge match. They already hate us,” he said.
In 2011, the Bobcats defeated Cisco for the state title. So Cisco well knows the potential of the Refugio Bobcats.
“This will probably be a good game,” Heard said.
“The Bobcats have a lot of heart, and they are playing good football. Like Coach Herring said, they came together at the right time. They’re going into the game with that confidence,” Heard said.
“If they get down, that doesn’t bother them. They are all cookin’ together,” Heard said.
The mayor, who was not at the game because of illness, said he plans on proposing something to the Refugio City Council to recognize the Bobcats.
Refugio County Judge Rene Mascorro was at the game. His son Christian, is a guard on the Bobcats team.
“I’m really excited. They’re so young to be going to a championship game. It came together in the last few weeks, and they will show everybody they are contenders for the championship,” he said.
The Bobcats defeated Rogers in overtime on Nov. 29, 73-72, and then East Bernard on Dec. 7, 40-34 – some of the toughest 2A teams in Texas.
Of course, the Bobcats dispensed with the Waskom Wildcats on Dec. 12, 69-33.
“Yes, they will win state. Once you get to the state finals, it’ll be a tough game. It won’t be a blowout. It will be a war,” Mascorro said.
“When they get behind, they won’t panic. They are used to playing in that environment. There’s no ‘quit’ for them,” he said.
Mascorro said the “expectation” of winning is a great psychological factor for the team.
“These kids don’t know the difference. When they walk onto the field, they can beat 5A or any team,” he said.
“It’s a huge advantage over competition. These kids have been playing together since the first grade. The bleed orange and black,” Mascorro said.
“They’re reputation precedes them wherever they go,” he added.
Do other teams “fear” the Bobcats?
“At this level in the playoffs, it’s respect, not fear. They know they have to bring their A-game because we’re going to play to the end,” Mascorro said.
He said after the East Bernard game, one youth turned up without his Bobcats sweatshirt.
“I asked him what happened,” Mascorro said.
Turns out a kid from East Bernard offered to buy the sweatshirt, so the Refugio kid sold it.
“They still respect us, even after we win,” Mascorro said.
The judge said he would be at the state finals, “God willing.” He expects the rest of the county and South Texas to be there, as well, to support the Bobcats.
“It’s not very often for South Texas to have a team win state,” he said.
Usually, it’s the northern or eastern teams ending up in the state finals.
Mascorro said the Thursday showing of fans was impressive at Reliant Stadium with five sections filled.
“That’s a little town in the middle of the week,” he said.
A place Bobcat team members frequent – El Taco Riendo – also was all smiles.
Oddly, the Spanish word “Riendo” appropriately means “happy.”
Rowland Patino, who owns the Mexican food cafe along with his wife, Mary, was holding a thumbs-up sign on Friday morning, Dec. 13.
“At the beginning of the game, it was scary,” Rowland said.
“But the Bobcats picked it up,” he added.
“The other team (Waskom)... they started getting tired,” Mary said.
“The Bobcats had that determination. They were set up in their brain that they were going to get it,” she said.
“It’s because I feed them ‘Bobcat Tacos,’” she added.
Mary is known to the players as “Mom.”
She promised to change the name of her James Bond Taco to the Bobcat Taco if the Bobcats won the 2011 state title, which they did, and she did.
She also changed the name of her Oscar Taco to the Eagles Taco because Woodsboro was doing so well.
Will the Bobcats win the state title again?
“Definitely,” Mary said.
She said her business has been in Refugio five years, and she has watched the players since middle school, particularly Travis Quintanilla.
She said she was impressed with the level of teamwork the Bobcats have demonstrated in the past several weeks.
And she plans on a treat for state champions when they return to Refugio after the final game.
Ray Quintanilla, Travis’ dad, said he was very proud of his son.
“We started kind of bad, but we managed to come back and do what we had to do,” he said of the game against Waskom.
“I’m really impressed with the whole team – offense and defense,” he added.
“And my son is still throwing to different receivers,” he said.
Quintanilla said his son set another record against Waskom ... most yardage in a single season.
As far as winning state, he said, “We’re hoping. We we have played in the cold and inside.”
And he said the team wants a win.
“I’m hoping for another victory,” he said.
Refugio school district Superintendent Jack Gaskins also was excited.
“I’m excited, and I couldn’t be more proud of the young men. They persevered. The work ethic is truly inspiring,” Gaskins said.
“We certainly believe they have the ability to win state. We have confidence they will,” he added.
Gaskins credited the Bobcats’ hard work for their success.
“It goes back to all the hours they put in. They worked all summer long to be in top physical condition. They’ve had sheer determination and a lot of sweat and tears,” Gaskins said.
“They tap into that work ethic when the score shows they’re down,” he said.
“It’s been an amazing season. We believe it’s a culmination of all that they’ve worked for.”
And Coach Jason Herring agrees that the successes are the result of a lot of hard work.
Herring said he couldn’t describe the feeling he had after his team defeated the Waskom Wildcats.
“It’s an awesome feeling. I’m thrilled to death for the team, and I’m thrilled to death for the community,” he said.
To the community, Herring had these words: “Thank you so much for all the support. We are very very grateful,” he said.
Herring said Cisco, who the Bobcats will compete against in AT&T Stadium Thursday, Dec. 19, will be a tough match.
“It will be a great game against Cisco. We always try to have a wrinkle or two,” Herring said.
“I just want to finish the job,” he added.