GOTW: With Key Player Out, Can Central Beat Undefeated Midland Lee?
SAN ANGELO, TX-- The Central Bobcats are on pace for another historical season. The undefeated Bobcats will face another test this week when Midland Lee travels south in our Friday Night LIVE! Game of the Week.
Central is coming off a 38-20 come-from-behind victory over a good Odessa High team. The win didn't come without it's downsides, however. Senior Receiver Jesse Scott suffered an injury in last week's win and will be out this week against Lee. That could cause some problems for a Central team that relies on their passing game a lot. In fact, 132 of Central's 225 points this season have come through the air.
Offense: Slight Advantage to Central
Central can throw the ball well and Midland Lee (6-0, 2-0) can run the ball well. Both teams boast great offenses, as well, with Lee averaging 48.5 points per game and Central putting up 45 points per game.
Junior Quarterback Maverick McIvor has put up impressive numbers half-way through the season, throwing for 1,554 yards and 21 touchdowns while leading the Bobcats in rushing with 468 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The Junior gunslinger put up 309 yards and five touchdowns in the win over Odessa last week. McIvor can distribute the ball well to his receivers and that should compensate for the loss of Central's second-leading receiver. The Bobcats have six receivers with 10 or more receptions this season. Central also still has their leading receiver in Senior Henry Teeter (34 receptions for 564 yards, six touchdowns).
Midland Lee has an impressive ground game, which almost did Central in against Killeen Shoemaker who put up 719 rushing yards against the 'Cats in week four. So far, Midland Lee has put up 2,447 yards rushing for a 407.8 average per game and is undoubtedly the toughest rushing attack Central has faced so far. In their 56-42 win over Amarillo Tascosa last week, Lee put up over 500 yards on the ground. Anchoring the running Rebels' offense is Senior Quarterback Colby Standard, Senior Runningback Avery Akbar and Junior Runningback Josh Traylor. Traylor leads the Lee rushing attack with 1,075 yards and 16 touchdowns. Akbar and Standard have combined for 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017. Where Central has an edge is their ability to pass and run compared to the run-heavy offense of Lee.
McIvor and Senior Runningback Austin Barron, although not putting up the numbers Lee's trio has, have shown their ability to burn up the turf in 2017. The former Grape Creek Eagle, Barron, hasn't found his groove just yet, averaging 62.2 yards per game rushing, but can be an added weapon out of the backfield for Central. McIvor is averaging 93.6 yards per game on the ground despite being limited to just 17 yards a week ago.
Defense: Slight Advantage to Central
Both defenses have been good at stopping the other's strength this season and have put up similar defensive numbers. Both Central and Lee have put up 13 and 15 sacks respectively in 2017, along with almost the same number of interceptions.
Midland Lee, against the pass this season, is allowing an average of 203 yards through the air. The Rebels are also allowing 212 yards rushing per game and that should benefit Central with their dual-threat capability. In last week's barn-burner against Tascosa, Lee gave up 430 yards rushing against another run-heavy team.
However, over the last two games for Central, the Bobcats have allowed opponents to gash them in the running game. As mentioned before, Central allowed 719 yards in week four. Last week, Odessa put up 157 yards on the ground against the Bobcats. Halftime adjustments helped Central stop the Broncho's run game in the second half, where the Bobcats allowed just 30 yards rushing en-route to the 38-20 win. If those adjustments carry over into the week seven matchup, Central will do well.
While anyone involved with the Bobcats would love to have Jesse Scott back on the field for this week's game, Central should operate just fine this week with the corps of receivers they have. The running abiltiy for Central will also free up either the other receivers or space for McIvor and Barron to run. That being said, expect this one to be an entertaining game.
Prediction: Central 41, Midland Lee 37