It’s been nearly two months since the Refugio Bobcats celebrated a state championship victory at at AT&T Stadium. Head coach Jason Herring said there was “nothing in the world like it.” As the fanfare has died down post-National Signing Day, Herring has to say goodbye to his senior class as they get set to leave high school and enter college.
Three of those players are heading off to college a mere 42 miles apart up I-10. Two of them, Kobie Herring (his son) and Trace Mascorro, are heading to El Paso to play for the UTEP Miners. The third, Jaylon Mascorro (no relation to Trace), is heading across state lines to Las Cruces and play at New Mexico State.
“I wanted it real bad this year especially for this senior class. Kobie, Trace, and Jaylon all started as freshmen for us. We went to the finals that first and lost to Cisco, made it back last year and lost to Canadian, so this group with 54 wins had been one of the most accomplished to ever come through here and I wanted to send them out the right way.”
On defense, it was Kobie and Trace that shined on the defensive side of the ball. Herring finished with 200 tackles on the year and was named MVP of the state championship game. Mascorro was a force in his own right at nose guard, piling up 200 tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss and a Texas State Player of the Year Award in 2A. Both of them are heading to El Paso to play for the Miners and Herring said that it was a place that he felt comfortable right away, particularly with UTEP coaches.
“The coaching staff helped make my decision really clear,” Herring said, “They really care about you and want you to get a good education and succeed. I just feel it was the best fit for me and I truly feel like they’re going to do what it takes to get it turned around. It’s going to be a great experience.”
It was a different story for Trace, according to Coach Herring. He had offers from Air Force and Stephen F. Austin but he wasn’t quite sure where he wanted to go. After Kobie had made his commitment, Coach Herring was trying to help make his decision That all changed after Herring called and sent in film of Mascorro to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Tom Mason.
“Within 15 minutes of me hanging up the phone, my phone rings and it’s Coach Mason. He told me, ‘I just showed his film to Coach (Sean) Kugler and he said ‘Offer that kid right now! That’s one of the best players I’ve seen on film in a long time.’’ They offered Trace and he committed just a few weeks later.”
Mascorro committed to UTEP before this past season. He says that he might opportunity to see the field early on and is excited for that opportunity. That said, a big factor in his decision to come to El Paso was his teammate since the third grade.
“That was a big influence on my decision,” Mascorro said, “I’m not as much of a social person so just being able to go to a college, get it paid for with a friend I’ve had for a long time is a real blessing.”
As for the third member in this group, Jaylon Mascorro might be one of the most recognizable names in the state. At 6-2, 225 pounds, Coach Herring called Jaylon “one of the most incredible athletes I’ve coached.” He’s moved around from running back to quarterback and back to the backfield this past year.
Now that his days playing football at Refugio are done, his next stop is Las Cruces with the New Mexico State Aggies…at linebacker.
“Jaylon has always gotten lots of attention at both quarterback and running back, but I’ve always felt his chance to really succeed at the next level is at linebacker,” Herring said, “He already looks the part.”
According to Jaylon, defining his role and finding that right fit were key in his decision and he feels ready to make that transition.
“I’ve talked to the coaches about possibly playing right away as a freshman,” Mascorro said, “I feel like with my size and physicality, that’s the best position for me at the next level.”
Besides going to college, there is one other big change that the trio will have to get used to: being on different sides of The Battle of I-10. It’s something that the three of them have talked about and realize that it’s going to be something they’ll have to get used to.
“We’ve all talked about how different it’s going to be,” Mascorro said, “We’ve never played a snap without each other since we were about nine years old. We’ve been playing forever. It’s just going to be different going against each other.”
As the three core players get set to head west, the three plan on continuing to build on the friendship with each other over the last several years.
“Trace and Jaylon were two of my first really good friends and we’ve been close ever since we were little. We have so many memories going all the way back to elementary school together and I basically get to take both of my best friends up there.”
Kobie later added, “I wish we all could have gone to the same place but this is just as good so I can’t complain.”
After finding success on the football field in high school, Coach Herring has full confidence in their ability to succeed.
“I think all three kids ended up exactly where they needed to be and they all have a great chance of being successful.”
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