Central's Path to a State Championship
SAN ANGELO, TX—The Central Bobcats finished the regular season 10-0 for just the third time in program history. In a season that only returned six starters for the Bobcats, Central answered the call in every game whether it was a blowout win or a nail biter like the win over Tascosa.
It's been 51 years since Central last won a State Championship. While playoffs mean anything can happen, the bracket looks favorable for a deep run for the Bobcats.
But just how does Central make it to Arlington in 2017?
First things first, they have to get past a Pebble Hills team who went 8-0 before dropping their last two games to close out the season. El Paso teams have had a history of struggling on the road in the Bi-District round of playoffs and this year could be the same story for those teams. Pebble Hills had a rather easy schedule in 2017 and never matched up with a team close to the firepower that Central puts on the table.
In the Area round of playoffs Central could get a good test. They would get the winner of the Mansfield-Keller Central game. Mansfield (9-1) ought to win that game. The Tigers have one big win on their record and that came against Cedar Hill, who missed the playoffs because they forfeited a game after playing an ineligible player. Central should get past Mansfield, but it will be a test if this matchup comes to fruition.
The Regional Semifinals are where things could get tricky for the Bobcats. It looks like Waco Midway is the favorite for the potential matchup. Midway is 10-0 and ran through their district with ease, including a 63-21 victory over Killeen Shoemaker. The Panthers also gave 5A power Cedar Park their only loss of the regular season. Midway is averaging 46.3 points per game while allowing an average of 22.7 points per game.
If Central can get past Midway, that would mean a likely date with Dallas-Fort Worth juggernaut, and defending State Champion, DeSoto in the Regional Final. While DeSoto has the capability of beating the Bobcats, they are not the same Goliath as they were a year ago. The Eagles put up an average of 47.5 points per game en-route to their first ever State Title in 2016. This year, Desoto has only put up an average of 34.9 points per game. Trying to get past DeSoto will be tough, but doable for Central.
Waiting in the State Semifinals will be a Region 2 team. That team should be the Westfield Mustangs out of Houston. Westfield is 9-0 in a season shortened by one game due to Hurricane Harvey. Of all the matchups discussed, this would be the toughest for Central. The Mustangs are allowing an staggering 8.2 points per game on defense while putting up 39.1 points per game on offense. If this game were to happen, Central would face the best defense they have all season.
In the State Championship, if Central were to make it, the Bobcats would more than likely face a storied Austin Westlake program. The Chaparrals are undefeated heading in to the Bi-District round and look to have a rather clear path to Arlington. Westlake defeated powerhouse Lake Travis 21-14 in district play back in week seven. The Chaparrals also are putting up 46 points and 457 yards per game.
Will Central claim their first State Championship since 1966? Only time will tell.