Central's Playoff Spot Hangs in the Balance as Bell Comes to Town
SAN ANGELO, TX — The San Angelo Central Bobcats’ 2019 campaign has certainly had its fair share of ups and downs, but, to the chagrin of many fans, has been mostly mediocre.
The Bobcats are 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the district. Every glimmer of something special this season has been followed by something pedestrian. They have not been able to switch into a higher gear.
Defeating Richland last week would have kept them tied with Trinity for first place in the district. Instead, they are tied with Abilene for third just above the likes of Weatherford, Bell, and Haltom. The last two being their final opponents of the regular season.
The parity within the district is a good news/bad news situation for them. The good news is, Central is very much still alive in the playoff hunt, but they will likely need to win out. The bad news is, everyone in the district has a chance to beat everyone else. Just because Bell and Haltom are both 3-4 does not mean they are anywhere close to being gimme wins. The Richland Rebels were 1-5 before last week.
Haltom will be the bigger test of the two. Their only district win of the season somehow came against now 7-1 Euless Trinity. Central, who was soundly defeated by Trinity, will have a bye before their matchup. That allows them to put all of their attention on Bell this week.
As mentioned above, Bell is 3-4 and 1-2 in the district. Their only wins are against 1-6 Plano East, 2-5 MacArthur, and 2-5 Richland. In those games, their average margin of victory was seven points. They do not have an impressive resume by any means, but Central cannot afford to overlook them.
“Our focus is completely on LD Bell,” Head Coach Brent Davis said Monday. “Hopefully, we can find a way to get by them.”
Bell’s offensive scheme will play into Central’s defensive strengths and away from their weaknesses. Quarterback Landry Choate has not thrown more than 12 times in a game this season. Of those 12 attempts against Abilene, only two were completed for 16 yards.
They are not a throwing offense. Instead, they line up in the flexbone with a handful of big, athletic running backs and try to grind out yards. A 14 play scoring drive is the optimal result.
Because of this triple option attack, Central’s struggling secondary will have significantly less pressure on them, and, for the first time in a while, their star studded front seven will be the main focus.
Senior defensive linemen Xy’Kerion Paulk, Bradey Allen, Anthony Gonzales, and Boston Johnson have been a strong point this season and will have to play a very disciplined ball game in order to slow Bell down. They most certainly will.
Defensively, Davis applauded the Raiders for their diversity, “They’ve got a good defense. They had a good defense last year. They are very multiple. They don’t sit in one look.”
“They get in all kinds of different defensive fronts that you’ve got to get prepared for and they bring pressure from different areas. They do a lot of stuff on defense that you’ve got to get prepared for. They’re trying to confuse you.”
Central’s offense will look to get back to its dynamic self after a rocky outing against Richland. The Bobcats still put up 27 points, but QB Malachi Brown threw three interceptions, including a pick six in the first quarter and a game decider with 27 seconds remaining.
Besides the turnovers, Central struggled to get things going with its running backs. If it were not for Brown’s 116 yards, the Bobcats would have only had 48. Senior Kris Jackson was held to 36 yards on 12 carries.
Although it would surprise no one, expect wideout Tanner Dabbert to have another big night. The star had one of his quietest evenings of the season last week but still managed to reel in five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Bell has not had a great secondary, so all Dabbert will need is for Brown to get him the ball.
One last item of note is this will be Central’s final home game of the season. The Bobcats are 3-1 in San Angelo Stadium and 1-3 when forced to travel.
So get ready to be loud, Central fans. Kickoff is set for Friday, October 25th at 7:00 p.m.
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