Central Goes for Fifth-Straight District Title Against Pesky Midland Team
SAN ANGELO, TX-- When the undefeated Central Bobcats travel to Midland today, a lot will be on the line.
The Bobcats will have a chance to clinch their fifth consecutive district championship with a win over the Midland Bulldogs.
Midland, however, saw a bit of a resurgence in their 49-42 win over Amarillo Tascosa last week.
With a 2-6 record, Midland is surprisingly in the thick of the District 2-6A playoff hunt. The Bulldogs are winners in two of their last three games.
But Midland hasn't made their home-field the fortress it was a year ago. Midland is 0-4 at home and looking for their first home win against the top dog, Central.
Central has also had the Bulldogs number of late, winning the last five contests against Midland.
Offense: Advantage Central
Central's offense has been really good this year. But they struggled last week in their win over Permian, putting up just 239 yards of offense in that game.
Midland's offense has started to find a groove, averaging almost 395 yards of total offense over the last three games. Most of Midland's offense is through their rushing attack, something Central has been able to stop frequently this season. The Bulldogs run the ball about 63% of the time behind their three-headed attack of juniors Timothy Gates, DQ Harris, and Suddin Sapien. That trio has accounted for 1,657 of their 1,896 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns this season-- all of their rushing touchdowns have come from Gates and Sapien. When Midland does throw the ball, quarterback Sapien does well, averaging just over 14-yards-per-completion. The junior has tallied nine passing touchdowns this season, as well. If Midland wants to come out with a win, they will need to throw the ball a little more to try and open their rushing attack.
Central, despite their offensive struggles against a good Permian defense a week ago, still has an explosive offense and should have the advantage on this side of the ball. Junior Quarterback Maverick McIvor has been stellar, throwing for 2,215 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. What has truly made McIvor a weapon is his scrambling ability. The Bobcat QB has extended plays countless times this season and added 685 rushing yards and six scores to an already illustrious resume this season.
With reinforcements like receivers Jaden Coates, Jesse Scott and Henry Teeter, and running backs De'Marcus Cobb and Bobby Pena, the Bobcats have really opened up new dimensions to their offense throughout the course of a season beleaguered by injuries to key players this season. Receiver Jackson Timme and Running Back Austin Barron are out. Cobb and Pena have stepped up since Barron went down against Midland Lee, putting up 217 yards and four touchdowns during that timespan. Coates, a receiver, was an instrumental part to Central's win over Permian last week, scoring two touchdowns in special teams situations-- one on a fake field goal, the other on a kickoff return.
The Bobcats haven't lost any momentum despite the injuries. That's thanks, in part, to the balanced nature of Central's offense. Of the Bobcat's 464 offensive plays this season, 47 percent have been runs and 53 percent have been passes.
Defense: Advantage Central
Central's defense has dominated against the run, as of late, limiting district opponents to just 177.25 rushing yards per game. Midland, over the last three games, are allowing 387.7 total yards per game.
Central has also been a turnover-creating machine this season with 16 total takeaways, while Midland has just nine on the year.
Also look for Central's defensive front to continue the run of form they've been on. The Bobcats have give opposing quarterbacks nightmares, racking up 34 sacks this season. Midland has not had that success with just 13 sacks through eight games this season.
Central's defense will be the hinge on which this game swings-- if they play well, this game won't be close. If they struggle to create turnovers, this game could be a close shootout.
Prediction: Central 42, Midland 20