Bobcats Preview: Everything You Need to Know For Week 3
SAN ANGELO, TX — Central had no problem taking care of Del Rio, but its road to district play will get a lot bumpier when Cedar Park comes to town. The 5A Timberwolves boast a 1-1 record after a brutal slate of opening games against 6A opponents. They lost to 15th ranked Vandegrift 17-0 and beat Cedar Ridge 26-14.
Central’s offense will have the toughest challenge. The vaunted “Black Rain” defense has several key starters returning from last year led by nose guard Ben Bell. Bell, listed at 6’2 265 lbs., was voted Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year as a junior and has committed to play at Louisiana Tech. He has already racked up 19 total tackles and 6 sacks in his first two games.
The offensive line for Central is mostly inexperienced and has had to move defensive end Bradey Allen to left guard next to stud left tackle Kurt Klausner. Klausner, however, sustained a concussion against Shoemaker that forced him to sit against Del Rio. Central coach Brent Davis is optimistic Klausner will play, but the decision will not be made until later in the week.
If Klausner can play, then it will be a huge help for the run game. Cedar Park held Cedar Ridge’s Deuce Vaughn, a Kansas State commit, to only 160 yards after he earned close to 300 in his opener against Temple. Central does not have a weapon like Vaughn, although they do have a trio of backs that can get the job done together.
Kris Jackson has received most of the attempts and has showed flashes of being a reliable back. Ashton Hartsfield was the second option in the Shoemaker game, but Cameran Sarzosa received that honor against Del Rio. Davis has not made it clear how reps will be split this week, but I would expect Jackson and Sarzosa to do the heavy lifting. This is Hartsfield’s first year playing running back after making the switch from linebacker, and he is still learning the position.
Another storyline to look out for is the quarterback battle. Juniors Malachi Brown for Central and Ryder Hernandez for Cedar Park made their first career starts against each other in this same game last year. They both have a full year under their belts now and the experience shows.
“I thought he played tremendous,” Davis said about Brown’s performance last week. “He led our football team. He threw the ball very well and put it on the money on some deep balls. He ran the ball good, and he’s a big part of what we’re going to do. We’re excited about it.”
Hernandez is a different type of quarterback. He is lethal in the short passing game and as a runner but rarely pushes the ball down field. Against Cedar Ridge he completed 33 out of 51 passes with 209 yards for an average yard per completion of 6.33. If you take away his 42 yard pass to Preston Scott, he only averaged 5.2 yards.
Cedar Ridge is a much more favorable matchup for Central than Shoemaker despite having a championship pedigree and talent. Shoemaker could strike at any moment, and its speed was too much for the Cats. Cedar Park does not have that level of explosiveness and takes a more methodical approach. This will allow the Bobcats defensive line to dig in and make its presence known in the run and pass game.
They played extremely well against Del Rio and will only look to build on that performance. Defensive back Tristan Lopez also made big plays in that game as he embraces a leadership role.
Davis ended his press conference Monday with a simple plan for victory.
“We just have to do our job,” Davis said. “That’s all there is to it. Like we did last week, just do you your job, and don’t do too much... We’re getting better. We’re growing as a football team, and I think Friday we’ll grow some more. I think we’re going to go out and play well.”
“We play well at home. I thought we had a great crowd Friday. I know this town will get behind this team and that will go a long way in our home games.”
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