Photo: Charlton Gladden/TexasHSFootball

ARLINGTON — The first day of the UIL Football State Championships came to a close with the highly anticipated battle between the Mart and Refugio High Schools, two of the winningest programs in the UIL Class 2A.

Even after a slow start, Mart came up with enough big plays and held off Refugio 34-21 to earn the sixth their school’s state title.

“Especially for the seniors, it feels great,” defensive MVP Jermaine Madkins said about winning a state title. “It’s great that the underclassmen got to experience this, and i’m hoping next year they can repeat.”

Madkins had eight total tackles and two pass breakups in the game.

Refugio got off to a dream start as quarterback Jared Kelley threw to Jamel LaFond who turned on the jets and scored on a 66-yard touchdown to put Refugio up early.

After a Mart punt, Kelley did it again on a 42-yard pass to Jake Tinsman to make it 14-0.

While Mart looked like it had a drive going, it stalled on fourth down deep in Bobcat territory. Refugio, however, could not take advantage and was forced to punt to end the first quarter.

Despite a slow start, Mart turned the momentum back in its favor — thanks to the running of Shatydrick Bailey.

Charlton Gladden/TexasHSFootball

He started the second quarter off hot, taking a handoff 44 yards for a Mart touchdown to cut the Refugio lead in half. After a big defensive stand, Mart went on a seven-minute drive that covered more than 75 yards and was capped by a fake field goal turned touchdown pass — a  Bailey reception via rifle-armed quarterback Jace Terry to tie the score.

After Refugio failed to get a drive going, it only took Mart two plays to take the lead right before half. Terry hit Jalon Kirven deep for a 45-yard gain down to the Bobcat 1-yard line where Bailey would take it in from there to make the score 21-14 at halftime.

After a defensive struggle in the third quarter with no points, Mart began to break the game open when Terry hit Kirven from 29 yards — his second score of the game — to give Mart a 28-14 lead with nine minutes remainning.

Refugio refused to go quietly as the Bobcats drove right back down the field and scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Jared Kelley to Jake Timsman to pull back to within a score.

However, Mart’s next possession effectively put away the defending champions as Jace Terry scrambled for a 64-yard touchdown run to make it 34-21 nearly midway through the fourth quarter.

Charlton Gladden/TexasHSFootball

Refugio Fell short on its last chance to rally, falling short in the a season-ending loss to Mart.

“This is the best team i’ve ever played with,” Bailey said about the overall team effort. “I’m confident that if we work hard we can be right back here next year.”

Bailey earned the Offensive MVP after gaining 84 total yards and three total touchdowns — including a short pass on a fake field goal.

Refugio ends its season with a record of 13-2 while Mart finished 15-1 and brought home the Class 2A Division I state title.

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