Former Concho Valley Football Coach Leads Storm Recovery in Refugio
REFUGIO, TX-- Hurricane Harvey was one of the worst storms Texas has ever seen, there's no two ways about it. In it's wake the sprawling metropolis of Houston was left underwater from historic flooding and small coastal towns around Corpus Christi were practically destroyed while Corpus also bore the brunt of the hellacious storm. All of this came just one week before the 2017 high school football season started.
Refugio, a small town situated between Corpus Christi and Victoria, took Harvey's punch right on the button as the storm's eye made direct landfall over the coastal town with 140-mph winds. The town's high school suffered extensive damage. Taking stock of the aftermath was Robert Lee High School and Angelo State University alum Jason Herring, who is the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach for the four time state champions and no. 1 ranked Refugio Bobcats.
"Life was already kind of tough for our kids," Herring told a Fox Sports Southwest reporter. "When something like this hits, it just compounds that problem."
Herring graduated from ASU with a Kinesiology degree in 1992, where he started dating his wife Lisa, who also went to Robert Lee High School. Herring, as Head Coach, led the Sonora Broncos to a 2A state title in 2000. Ten years ago, Herring was hired to the same position at state power Refugio.
The Bobcats were scheduled to face Hebbronville in Hebbronville on Sept. 1 in the season opener, but the game was cancelled because of Harvey. Herring and his family then evacuated Refugio to San Angelo before the storm hit. "There was just tremendous guilt," Herring said about leaving his community. "All while I was [in San Angelo] I just felt guilty that I had the means to get out of town when many of my kids don't. It crushed me."
Herring's stopover in the Concho Valley lasted three days before the urge to assist his community overpowered him and sent him back to the ravaged coast. "I tried to get back as soon as I could," Herring added. "Honestly, that's all I'm worried about. I'm worried about our boys and our girls. I love them like their mine." Herring also went on to explain that a lot of his athletes had suffered significant property loss as a result of the storm, with some losing their entire houses.
Despite their own devastation, the community of Refugio has been tremendously involved in aiding other communities affected by the storm.
"None of us are too mindful of our own problems," Herring noted. "Everyone is chipping in."
At the time of the Saturday interview, the town of Refugio had filled two supply dropoff points and were in the process of opening up a third.
Sports teams have a special way of aiding the rebuilding process following a disaster such as this. Teams lift up their communities by getting their hands dirty to complete the tasks necessary to fix any damage left. Teams give a sense of normalcy back to a shaken town when they put their jerseys on and step back on the field. Refugio will look to do just that, as they take on Goliad Friday Sept. 8, just two weeks after Harvey made landfall.