Incredible Second Half Leads Central past the Bronchos
ODESSA, TX-- Just by the scoreline, you wouldn't think Central was in trouble in their 38-20 win over Odessa High on Friday night. But that's exactly how it looked under the Ratliff Stadium lights.
Central stumbled out of the gate, turning the ball over three times in the first half and allowing 20 points.
"The first half, I don't know if it could've gotten any worse," said Junior Quarterback Maverick McIvor. "It was a real slow start."
The Bronchos came out swinging, driving 69 yards down the field against Central. But the Bobcat defense would hold strong in the redzone, allowing Odessa just a field goal in each of their first two trips inside the 20-yardline.
Central would respond with a 38-yard field goal from Gage Smith in the second to narrow the Bronchos' lead to 6-3. Central's struggles to stop Odessa weren't over, however.
Odessa's Josh Lara would find the endzone from 37 yards out in the second quarter. The successful extra-point would put Central down 13-3 in the second quarter.
Going into Central's opening district bout, McIvor had yet to throw an interception. On the Bobcat's next drive, Central's signal caller did just that and found Odessa's Charles McLure who sprinted the other way for another Broncho's score to grow the deficit to 20-3.
That may have been the jolt Central needed. On the ensuing drive following a touchback, Central went 75 yards in 49 seconds thanks to a 71-yard pass from McIvor to Senior Receiver Henry Teeter. The score would put Central down by just 10 at the half.
Listen: Folwer's observations of the Central at Odessa game at the half:
The Bobcats managed just 182 yards of offense in a first half hampered by turnovers, while Odessa tallied 206 yards of total offense in the first half.
The second half was a complete 180-degree flip from the first, thanks to the jolt from Teeter.
"At halftime, we just had to settle down," said Coach Davis. "After all the bad things that could happen to us with special teams and turnovers, we kept giving it to [Odessa]." Davis would also go on to praise Odessa for their play in the game, saying he felt Odessa could make the playoffs.
Central in fact did settle down. So much so that they put up 216 yards of offense and 28 points in the second half. The Bobcat's offense wasn't the only star of the second half, though.
Central's defense came out better than the first half and pitched a shutout in a second half in which they limited Odessa to just 66 yards of total offense and forced two fumbles.
"Knowing that defense is there for you is like no other," said an exhausted McIvor. "That gets us going and it all works out."
While trailing 20-17 in the third quarter, and following a fumble recovery, Central would really get things going and take the lead on an eight-yard touchdown pass from McIvor to Philip Lupton to give Central an advantage they wouldn't look back from.
WATCH: Coach Brent Davis on the San Angelo Central win over Odessa on Oct. 6:
"A lot of these guys have a lot of poise," said Davis. "I'm just extremely proud of our effort in the second half. Being down 10 points and coming out on fire in the third quarter was a huge deal for us."
Teeter and Lupton finished the night with two touchdowns apiece. Senior Receiver Jesse Scott, who left the game on a stretcher early in the fourth quarter, finished alongside Teeter as the only Central receivers to reach triple digits tonight in receiving yards. McIvor finished with 328 yards passing, 17 rushing and five passing touchdowns.
Listen: Sam Fowler's immediate observations after the game:
Central (5-0, 1-0) will host Midland Lee (6-0, 2-0) next Friday night in a game that has postseason season implications on the line.