For the second year in a row, the Blanco Panthers were matched against one of the state’s top ranked teams in the Refugio Bobcats to see who represented Region IV in the state 2A semi-finals. After falling to the Panthers 27 to 7 last year at the Alamodome in San Antonio, the Bobcats got their revenge on a cold night in Victoria as Blanco would commit a season high six turnovers and suffer just their second loss of the season by a score of 22 to 14.
The first half of play was not kind to the Panthers, as Blanco struggled to move the ball while also having trouble hanging on to it. Turnovers allowed the Bobcats to establish control of the field position, while also shutting down the Panthers’ potent offense. In each of the first two quarters, Refugio managed to score TD’s on long runs with both coming on 4th and short yardage. In the first quarter, the Bobcats gambled from the Panthers’ 41 yard line going for it on 4th and 1. Although Blanco’s defense had been solid up to this point, the Bobcats’ Charlie Henderson broke away for the games’ first score. Refugio added a 2-point conversion run for an early 8 to 0 lead. It would not be until late in the second quarter when the Bobcats were faced with another 4th and 1. This time, from their own 38 yard line, Draigon Silvas pulled away for a 62 yard TD. After a successful PAT, Refugio led 15 to 0 at the half.
While Blanco was faced with their largest deficit of the season as the third quarter began, Blanco stormed back and threatened to take the lead as senior Layton Dworaczyk rushed for over 100 yards in the second half alone, as well as touchdown runs of 7 and 9 yards. Although Blanco converted on just one of its two conversion attempts with a Kyle Garrow run, the score going into the fourth quarter was now 15 to 14. However, one point was as close as Blanco would get. The Bobcats, who were shut out for almost the entire second half, finally mustered a long, time consuming drive to put the game away with a 2 yard Jourdan Ortiz run with only 1:21 left to play. After a successful PAT made the score 22 to 14, Blanco saw its hopes of a comeback fall short with a game, and season ending, turnover.
On the offensive side of the ball, senior Layton Dworaczyk ended his career with a game high 23 carries for 141 yards and the Panthers’ only two TD’s. As a team, Blanco managed to outgain the Bobcats in total offense 270 to 244. However, as stated earlier, turnovers simply proved to be too much for the Panthers’ to overcome.
Blanco finishes the year at 12 and 2 while Refugio, having improved to 14 and 0, will move on to face last year’s 2A Division II Champions Daingerfield. Daingerfield, who ended the Panthers’ season last year in the state semi-finals, advances to next week’s semi-final game after improving to 13 and 1 with a 26 to 6 win over Newton. Refugio will travel to Huntsville to take on Daingerfield at Sam Houston State University.