SAN ANGELO, TX — San Angelo Stadium saw the San Angelo Central Bobcats (2-2) (0-0) do battle with the Frenship Tigers (3-1) (0-0) on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. It was San Angelo Central’s homecoming. Coming off back-to-back losses to two top teams in the state left Central hungry to get back in the win column. A constant back and forth for most of the game turned sour for the Bobcats as two squandered possessions late in the contest handed the ‘Cats a loss on their district opener, 49-32.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Bobcats began their first drive at the Central 21-yard line. The ‘Cats leaned heavily on their run game early in the drive with runs by Darius Floyd, Samuel Navarrette, and Tyler Hill. The ‘Cats faced their first challenge of the night around midfield. A 10-yard catch by Trevor Scott left the Bobcats with a 4th and one at the 50-yard line. Tyler Hill answered the call himself and converted the down with an explosive 15-yard run. In the next play, Navarrette took one himself down to the 25-yard line. One play later, Hill connected with Jaedyn Gipson on a 25-yard strike to score the night’s first points, 7-0.
On the ensuing drive, the kickoff went out of the back of the endzone, and Frenship took over at their 25-yard line. 7-7. The Bobcats had more success on their debut drive than the previous two weeks forcing the Tigers into multiple 3rd down situations. However, the Cats did not manage to actually stop the Tigers, and Frenship tied the game through the air, 7-7.
A mishandled catch on the kickoff left the Bobcats at their own 15-yard line to start their second drive. Another heavy dose of both Navarrette and Floyd pushed and shoved the Bobcats down the field. Runs of seven to fifteen yards were typical and pushed the Bobcats further and further. Just when the Tigers crashed inside the box to stop the run, Hill caught them napping and threw a laser to Trevor Scott to get the ‘Cats inside the 10-yard line. The Tiger defense braced themselves with their backs to the goal line and forced a 4th and goal at the 1-yard line. Head Coach Kevin Crane gambled for the second time tonight, and Hill rewarded his coach when he punched it in on a quarterback keeper. The ‘Cats retook the lead, 14-7.
The Bobcat defense struggled in the secondary on the ensuing drive. Receivers running down the field with defenders too far away to make a difference made for easy completions. Frenship converted a 45-yard pass play on the drive’s first play. Then, two more blown coverages in the secondary put the Tigers on Central’s doorstep. One play later, the Tigers ran the ball into the endzone to tie the game back up at 14-14.
With the ball at the 25-yard line and seemingly unstoppable up to this point in the game, the Bobcat offensive machine continued to churn. A pass interference call on a deep ball from Hill set up the ‘Cats past the midfield marker. Hill had a chance to shine with his arm on this drive completing a 38-yard bomb to Jacob English. Three plays later, Navarrette forced his way into the endzone from one yard out for his first score of the night. The offensive track meet continued, and after a failed 2-point conversion, the Bobcats led, 20-14.
Explosive plays plagued the Bobcats again on defense. A freekick out of bounds started the Tigers at the 30-yard line. A completion to a Tiger receiver went for 35 more yards to the Central 25-yard line. Another explosive run by Tiger QB Pharies sent the defense packing, and the extra point attempt made the score 21-20.
The ‘Cats finally met resistance on offense for the first time in the game and struggled to move the ball. Two incomplete passes and a short run forced the Bobcats into a 4th and long on the wrong side of the 50-yard line. Ty Casey came out onto the field and punted the ball away to the opposing 30-yard line.
Following the short punt, the Bobcat defense had to come up with a stop before halftime. Instead, the defense forced one third down before allowing another 46-yard touchdown run to Pharies. With time running out in the first half, the ‘Cats fell further behind. Central headed to the locker room after a hard-fought first half with Frenship up 28-20.
Special teams opened up the second half with a facemask and a 15-yard penalty. The penalty gave the Tigers excellent starting field position at the 50-yard line. Frenship’s offense continued to meet little resistance and marched down the field. The Tigers kept the ball on the ground for much of the drive. Pharies and the other Tiger running backs cut into the Bobcat defense with ease on their way to another Frenship touchdown. The Tigers began to pull away from the Bobcats, 35-20.
Following the score, the Bobcats came back out onto the field with a sense of urgency. If they wanted to stay competitive in this game, the ‘Cats had to score. Central returned to what gave them so much success in the first half, running the football. Navarrette opened up with two bruising carries that baited the defense into stacking the running lanes. Hill then threw an outside pass to Gipson, who took the ball an additional 27 yards to the Frenship 46-yard line. Another couple of hard runs by Hill set up a wide-open, 34-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Scott. The Bobcats, still behind, clawed their way closer to the Tigers but missed another 2-point conversion, 35-26.
Frenship continued to flatten the Bobcat defense accompanying the Central touchdown. After a failed onside kick by the ‘Cats, the Tigers began the drive at mid-field. The Bobcats opened up the drive with a first down sack, their first of the night, and it looked like Central finally had something going on defense. However, a 15-yard run on second down quickly ended that hope, and Frenship continued to drive. QB Chad Pharies broke off another 20+ yard touchdown run. Frenship increased their lead, 42-26.
Central’s offense had to keep pace, score for score if they wanted any shot of winning this game. Hill and Navarrette both had electrifying runs as the Bobcats quickly answered the Tigers for a quick score. Inside the Frenship 25-yard line and threatening the endzone, Hill carried the ball into a pack of Tigers, who seemed to swallow him up. Half a breath later, Hill popped out of the pile and sprinted his way the final 15-yards to the endzone. That spectacular touchdown run kept the Bobcats in the game, 42-32.
The ‘Cats’ defense finally stopped the Frenship Tigers for the first time early in the 4th quarter. Frenship had the same success but hit a solid orange and blue wall inside the San Angelo 25-yard line. A stuffed run by the Bobcat defensive line and two incomplete passes led to a missed field goal.
Then, the offense took over, and Navarrette opened up the drive with a 30-yard sprint into Tiger territory. Tragedy struck for the Bobcats on the next play, however, when Hill threw an errant pass over the head of Box and into the arms of a Frenship linebacker. The Central defense jogged back onto the field, needing to stop Frenship again. They proved up to the task as they forced their first three-and-out of the ballgame. But, the Bobcat offense could not take advantage of the defense’s efforts this time. With less than three minutes left in the game, facing a 4th and 10 at the Bobcat 21-yard line, Hill threw up a prayer to Scott that fell incomplete. With the ball so close to the goal line, Frenship easily punched the ball in five plays later. The final Tiger touchdown proved to be the swan song for the Bobcats, and the Tigers spoiled homecoming night for the Bobcats, 49-32.
San Angelo Central drops their first district game of the season and falls to 2-3 (0-1). The ‘Cats take on the Odessa High Bronchos at Ratliff Stadium next week, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m.