SAN ANTONIO – For a half, the Refugio Bobcats found themselves trailing Mason mostly of their own doing.
It started as a defensive battle for both teams but ended in a 38-14 blowout that was closer than the final score indicated.
The first four drives each ended in a punt, until Mason (13-1) figured things out.
On its third drive, with just under three minutes remaining, quarterback Otto Wofford took it 43-yards to the house. His score put the Punchers (12-1) up 7-0 with 2:41 left in the first. It was the teams first time to grab a first down in the game.
The Bobcats answered fast, though. On their next drive, quarterback Jared Kelley threw a beauty. He dropped back and hit receiver Jamel LaFond for 53 yards, tying the score with 1:57 left in the first.
“It was everything,” coach Kade Burns said. “Our kids are better when we’re in front. If we get down and our dauber goes down, our chin goes down, you know what I’m saying? When we’re rolling and scoring, our kids are up, they play a lot more enthused and get after it a lot more. We like to be in front.”
The second quarter should have been more of the same for the Bobcats. Instead, they just kept shooting themselves in the foot. As the Mason offense struggled on its next two drives, the Bobcats did on their next three. One drive ended in a punt, while the other ended in a fumble and interception.
“I wasn’t down on the way we played, I’m telling you, I watched them all week and that’s one of the best defenses I’ve ever played against,” Burns. “They are lightning quick and it was all we could do to find a way to move the football, I’ll be honest with you.”
The Punchers found a way to score on its penultimate drive of the half, as Wofford found receiver Jake Comey open for 34 yards. Up 14-7, it would only needed to hold onto the lead going into half.
Herring would next find his team on the Mason 16-yard line with five seconds remaining. The Bobcats elected to kick the field goal, which was a good idea as Diego Gonzales hit a 33-yard kick to lessen the grip the Punchers had, 14-10.
The strange thing was, despite losing, the Bobcats were dominating this game. After running 34 plays in the first half, they had 230 total yards to the Punchers 108. It was running a cool 50 percent on third down compared to the Punchers zero on six tries. But something wasn’t clicking.
Second Half Comeback
“When we got into the locker room, we had a talk,” linebacker Sylvester Henderson said after the game. “The talk was, no matter how bad we’re down, we’ve been down before. It’s not going to kill our ego or anything.”
The Bobcats came back firing in the second half.
After one drive it had taken the lead, 17-14. Mason looked lost and was unable to do anything and would ultimately turn the ball over or punt on its final six drives.
Fourth Quarter Explosion
Refugio had hit its groove. With the Bobcats up by three heading into the fourth quarter, it seemed one more Bobcat score would sink the Punchers. It realized it too, as it added 21 to its section of the scoreboard in the fourth.
The first score, a 28-yard rush from senior Daryon Ramirez, stretching the lead 24-14. Mason’s defense looked tired and confused, having not allowed more than seven points all year and a total of 47 through the season.
The next score, Kelley hit Jake Tinsman four yards and a score. After that, it seemed it would be over with the Bobcats up 31-14.
But then, Wofford threw another interception, his second of the day at this point which senior Jacobe Avery took it to the house for the final score of the night.
On top of that, the Refugio defense had kept the Punchers from picking up a single first down on any third down attempt. The 0-for-10 showing from the Punchers is a big reason it came up short.
“That’s and incredible job by our defensive staff,” Burns said. “That’s the difference in the game right there.”
Refugio is tentatively set to meet San Augustine next Thursday at the Berry Center in Cypress, Texas.
- Senior Jamel LaFond had seven catches for 171 yards and one score. He led all receivers and helped his team secure the win with an interception near the end.
- Refugio quarterback Jared Kelley started perfect, completing his first seven passes. He ended up 19/32 for 286 yards and two scores.
- Daryon Ramirez had the longest run with 28 yards. He finished with 46 total.
- If you take away the 43-yard and 34-yard touchdowns Mason scored, its offense totaled 76 yards.
Gerald Tracy is an assistant editor of Texas football for TexasHSFootball, covering prep football in the San Antonio region. Follow Gerald on Twitter, @GTracySports, and read more of his content here.
Brought to you by: