NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — San Angelo Central Bobcats were bested by a team that it was evenly matched Friday night 30-27. The Richland Rebels defeated Central at the Birdville ISD stadium in North Richland Hills Friday night. The defeat came because the Bobcats had two more turnovers than Richland and never could fully secure the momentum of the game.
Richland’s playmakers, C.J. Nelson and C.J. Baskerville, both receivers, had a combined 277 yards in receptions from the hands of Richland’s QB Cole Benson. In all, Richland gained 315 yards passing to Central and QB Malachi Brown’s 206 yards. Richland was successful shutting down the usually aggressive Central receiver corps. Central’s Tanner Dabbert, usually the star of every game, gained only 80 yards in receptions and one touchdown.
Richland scored first with a field goal with 5:29 left in the first. That drive started on the Richland 18. Although the drive ended in just a 27-yard field goal, it proved to Richland they could move the ball against the generally feisty Central defense. The drive was punctuated with a 37-yard reception by Richland’s C.J. Nelson on a 3rd and 10 from the 50-yard line.
Central got the ball after the kickoff, but three plays later, Central quarterback Malachi Brown threw an interception where Richland’s #25 Ethan Heinrich picked it off and ran it to the house. After the kick was good, it was 10-0 Richland.
After Richland kicked off again, Central was finally able to move the ball with a quarterback keeper by Brown. It was a 56-yard run to the end zone. It was 10-7 Richland with less than 4 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Central touchdown may not have been enough to swing the momentum to the Bobcat’s side, but the Bobcats were at least rattling the Rebels’ cage. Richland’s coaching staff must have studied the Central offense on film well, because their defense was able to stop the Bobcat pass attack and stunt the Bobcat run game. Quarterback keepers were hard too stop, however. Brown racked up 117 yards rushing on 16 attempts, averaging 7.31 yards per carry.
By the end of the 1st quarter it was 10-7 Richland.
It wasn’t until Bobcat #12 Tristan Lopez picked off Richland’s QB Benson’s pass near midfield at the Richland 43 that momentum started to shift in Central’s favor. Central drove the ball down the field using mostly QB keepers by Brown until a reception by #32 Kris Jackson sealed the drive with 6. The kick was blocked. It was 17-13 Richland going into the half.
Central outscored Richland 14-13 in the second half, but came up short in a dramatic ending. At the end of the 4th, Richland trailed 27-24. After San Angelo was unable to convert a 3rd down, the Bobcats punted. On the ensuing drive, Richland scored on a QB Benson pass to Richland’s #21 Brandon Jackson for a 35-yard touchdown reception. It was 30-27 Richland
Central started the next drive after kickoff with 1:10 left in the game at their own 33. After moving the ball on a Richland holding penalty, Brown threw an interception to Richland’s #7 E. J. Gibson-Smith with 27 seconds left.
Richland won on three interceptions versus one for Richland. The final score was 30-27 Richland.
San Angelo Central falls to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the district. Richland is 2-5 overall and 2-1 in the district. Next week, San Angelo hosts Hurst L.D. Bell Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. at San Angelo Stadium. Richland is at Haltom next week.
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