First, lets get a technical issue out of the way first before we get into this post. For what ever reason, the 'g' in Refugio is pronounced with the 'r' sound. So it sounds like you're saying Refurio. I have no idea where this came from or why people pronounce it that way, but I do know people from there get pissed when you say the name of the town wrong. But for some reason, I can't help but think that the townspeople are saying their own town's name wrong on purpose just so they can jack with outsiders.
Anyway, it was off to San Antonio with writer Mike Whitson last Friday to cover some 2A football as the Sonora Broncos played the Bobcats of Refugio for the state quartefianl title. This was a battle of the unbeaten with both teams sporting 12-0 records. Sonora was ranked in the top five of the state while Refugio was the number one team. Another cool facet to the story is that the head coach of Refugio, Jason Herring, was head coach at Sonora for nine seasons, including their 2000 state championship.
The Sonora players knew they were going to have their hands full as they tried to contain Refugio's explosive offense. Refugio has won all 12 of their games by an average of more than 54 points, receiving some unwanted national attention. Basically, people are pissed that Refugio runs up the score on teams that they are beating handily. Jason Herring said that he has even received death threats from people who don't like his style of play. Refugio beat one team 91-6! And this is 11-man football, not six-man.
Herring has been at the helm of Refugio for five seasons and has only lost four games, boasting a stunning 65-4 record heading into Friday's game. But even with such a dominating record, Herring and the Bobcats have yet to win a state championship, losing late in the playoffs each year. In the past, Herring has only allowed his starters to play the first half of every game so as not to humiliate the opposing team. But because his starters only have experience playing the first half of every game, he feels that's been the reason why they end up losing late in the playoffs every year. So this year he committed to playing his starters full bore for three full quarters, and if at the end of those three quarters they were ahead by 50 points or more, so be it. The sports writer on the story, Mike Whitson, wrote a great pregame story if you want to read more about it HERE.
I love football. I love everything about it. Eleven-man, six-man, arena, Canadian and European, I even love flag football! Everyone has an opinion about how the game (and that's exactly what it is, a game) should be played and this one is mine: Play the game as hard as you can until the clock runs out. Don't hold your best players back so the other team can save face and don't complain if you're getting the crap beat out of you. That's pathetic.
"But Patrick, don't you think a team should show some sportsmanship and mercy and not humiliate the other team by running them into the ground?" What the... what!? Sportsmanship is about going out there and leaving your guts on the field. Sportsmanship is about holding your head up high what ever the outcome of the game might be. Sportsmanship is about meeting your opponent at midfield after the fact and shaking their hand saying, "Good job, good luck and see you next year." We don't need to coddle high school football players. They will be just fine even if they play on a team that gets beat 91-6. Lets not forget that this is just high school football. It's not the end all, be all of everything. I sympathize with Jason Herring and his decision to play his starters and to field the backlash because of it. Its his team to lead.
Okay, back to the game. As you can probably tell from the above photo, Sonora lost. But if there was going to be a team to beat Refugio, it was going to be Sonora. As stated before, Refugio has a very powerful offense but Sonora ran their defense almost perfectly in the first half. The two touchdowns Refugio scored came off of defensive plays. The score was 14-6 at the half. But once the second half started Sonora's level of play dwindled. Refugio scored four more times in the second half to put the game out of reach for the Broncos. If you would like to read Mike Whitson's game story you can find it HERE.
After last Friday, we have just one team left in the playoff hunt. Mason High School, a Class 1A school, is burning up the competition so I will be heading to Waco this Friday to cover their state semifinal game against Garrison. I hope that Mason wins this game for two reasons because (1) I'm tired of shooting crying football players and (2) if they win this next game they will be playing for the state championship at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. That should be pretty cool!