Sports-wise, Hurricane Harvey (late August 2017) was but a blip on the weather screen for the citizens of Refugio, Texas, although it inflicted the worst storm damage ever on the south Texas community with a population of about 2,800.
Far worse for the locals, at least for their pride, was the 2018 RHS Bobcat football record of 11 wins and 3 losses.
Refugians are known to be tough Texans who can coolly handle bad times, weather-wise or other-wise, except if "the bad" has to do with losing football games.
One loss in a season is terrible. Two losses are horrible. Three are total disaster.
And what made 2018 so bitterly disastrous was the 35-0 loss to the Goliad Tigers in Week 2, the first shutout of the Bobcats since 2001 (7-0, to Ganado in the playoffs).
Texas Football has predicted that the 2019 Bobcats will return to normal, which means 1 loss or none, meaning too that they are worthy of the #1 2A D1 preseason ranking.
But there are obstacles, big ones.
Take the opener, in Tidehaven, where the El Maton High Tigers will field an experienced team that was greatly improved at the close of the 2018 season (Regional finals) from the team that began its schedule losing to Refugio, 35-0.
El Maton returns 16 starters (8/8), including QB Blake Garcia, who, in June, carried his team to the Texas State 7 on 7 (D3) quarterfinals in College Station. The Tigers are #10 in Texas Football's 3AD2 preseason rankings.
Then comes a really big test on September 6th, against #8 3AD1 (preseason) Goliad on the Tigers' home turf.
After that, the Bobcats will host Aransas Pass, travel to Hebbronville, then on September 27th welcome the Mart Panthers into their Jack Sportsman Stadium
Mart's big guns from 2017 (2AD1) and 2018 (2AD2) state titles, have graduated. But 1st team all-staters, OL Cameron Atkins and DL Roddrell Freeman, are back to cause headaches for the Bobcats on both sides of the ball.
If the Bobcats hold to the "success" forecasts through September, they should not be seriously challenged again until the playoffs, where Mason and Shiner will, as usual, likely loom large as worthy opponents in Region IV.
Refugio started slowly in 2018, experimenting with new additions to its offense under a freshman quarterback. Their start this year has to be better if they are to fulfill their dream of earning another state title for their school and community, which seriously needs a boost from the pressures it's citizens have lived under since August 26, 2017.
QB/FS Jordan Kelley has a full year of experience behind him and showed late in the 2018 season that he is capable of being a huge stopper on defense, as should be DE Austin Ochoa, who will backup at QB.
In addition, OL Dareon Wills and LB Ysidro Mascorro are both pre-season 1st team All-State choices (Texas Football} backing up the notion that the Bobcats should be greatly improved in 2019, offensively and defensively.
Texas Football also picked Refugio head coach Jason Herring as its pre-season Coach of the Year.