Unbeaten Refugio, East Bernard square off in quarterfinals
Class 2A, Division II Quarterfinal
East Bernard (12-0) vs. Refugio (12-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos
Refugio coach Jason Herring is well aware of the athleticism of East Bernard's Ty Slanina.
Slanina has won two straight state long jump titles and has committed to play football at TCU next season.
The 6-foot, 185 pound senior has played quarterback, running back and receiver for East Bernard this season.
He has rushed for 861 yards and 17 touchdowns, passed for 449 yards and seven touchdowns, and has 216 receiving yards and four touchdown catches.
But Herring is also wary of another facet of Brahmas' game that has been just as productive, as Refugio (12-0) and East Bernard (12-0) collide in a Class 2A, Division II quarterfinal game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos.
"Slanina and their spread and their slot-T get a lot of attention," Herring said. "But where I think they earn their money is defensively. I think defensively they are solid as a rock."
East Bernard's defensive statistics bear Herring out.
The Brahmas have allowed a total of 1,787 yards and 66 points this season, an average of 148.9 yards and 5.5 points a game.
East Bernard has been even stingier in the playoffs shutting out Banquete and Blanco, while yielding a total of 262 yards.
The Brahmas have forced 29 turnovers, including 17 interceptions. Grant Aschenbeck has four, and Slanina, Trevor Long and Victor Pettit each have three.
"We've played lights out on defense," said East Bernard coach Jerry Long. "That's kind of what we've hung our hats on all year long. We decided that we were going to put our best 11 athletes on the field and that gave us a little more speed."
Long admits his team has yet to face a team with an offense as versatile or productive as Refugio. The Bobcats have gained 6,454 yards and scored 766 points.
Quarterback Travis Quintanilla has passed for 3,687 yards and 55 touchdowns and a rushing attack led by Draigon Silvas (938 yards, 21 touchdowns) and Louie Whetsel (805 yards, nine touchdowns) has produced 2,499 yards.
Refugio beat Rogers 76-35 in the area playoffs and defeated Lexington 49-21 in the regional round.
"They're the defending state champions and I think they are as good as last year," Long said. "We're going to have to play very well defensively. We're going to have to be very physical and limit what they do. Our offense needs to keep them off the field."
Herring believes the key for Refugio could be how well its defense plays.
The Bobcats have yielded 1,956 yards and 102 points, an average of 163 yards and 8.5 points per game.
"We have to limit the big plays," Herring said. "I think the defense has to do a good job on third down. We have to get them off the field when you've played your tail end off on first down and you've played your tail end off on second down. Those conversion downs when you either get the ball back or its starts a whole another series, that's the difference in a lot of games."
NOTES• Refugio will be the home team. Tickets are $7 at the gate.
• Refugio is making its sixth straight trip to the quarterfinals. East Bernard is making its first quarterfinal appearance since 1994 and its last quarterfinal win came in 1984.
• Refugio and East Bernard played in the 2007 and 2008 regional playoffs. The Bobcats won 21-14 in 2007, and 28-20 in 2008.
• East Bernard coach Jerry Long was an assistant at Refugio under coach George Harris.
• Harris is the grandfather of East Bernard's Ty Slanina.
• The winner will advance to the semifinals against the winner of the Hughes Springs (12-0)-Elysian Fields (10-3) game being played Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Longview.