SAN ANGELO, TX — Explosive offensive prowess with no hint of defensive dominance defined the San Angelo Central Bobcats’ homecoming night. After a back and forth contest where both teams’ offenses looked unstoppable, the Bobcats snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. Tyler Hill connected with Ben Imler as time expired with a hail mary pass to finally bury the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs 63-61.
The San Angelo Central Bobcats (3-2) hosted the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs (2-3) for San Angelo’s homecoming Friday night, Sept. 23, at San Angelo Stadium, at 7 p.m. Quarterback Tyler Hill and the running back quartet of Tyree Brawley, Aiden Barron, Jaedyn Gipson, and Jayvion Robinson absolutely buried the Bulldogs’ defense. Racking up more than 400 yards on the ground alone, the Bobcats’ offense looked poised to close out non-district play with a victory.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Bobcats’ offense struggled early. A penalty and a sack on Tyler Hill pushed the Bobcats too far back to overcome. The first drive ended after three plays and a punt. Abilene Wylie took the advantage that their defense gave them and scored quickly. The Bobcats’ defense held fast for two plays but faced with a 3rd and five to go, QB Kadin Long tucked the ball on a quarterback keeper that went for 40 yards down the field to the Bobcats’ 25-yard line. On the ensuing play, RB Landry Carlton broke two tackles and trotted into the end zone for a touchdown. The Bobcats trailed early, 7-0.
The Bobcats committed their first costly mistake of the ballgame on their second possession. Hill dropped back to pass on 3rd and 15 and immediately had to avoid pressure applied by the Wildcats’ defensive front. Hill broke out of a would-be tackler but, in the process, had the ball jarred loose from his grasp. The Bulldogs recovered the loose ball and took over near midfield.
The ‘Cats’ defense came up big for their quarterback’s misfortune by forcing the Bulldogs into a three-and-out. Darius Floyd burst through the line on a 3rd and 8 yards to go, leaving Kadin Long nowhere to go. Long tried to escape, but a sure tackle from Floyd ended that attempt. The sack ended the drive, and the Bulldogs punted the ball into the end zone for a touchback.
San Angelo Central’s offense finally came alive on their third possession. Hill began the drive by ripping off a 17-yard run to midfield. He then connected with WR Tyler Walker on two different passes for 16 yards. RB Aiden Barron and Tyler Hill then bruised their way down the field on punishing runs that broke multiple tackles all the way down to Abilene Wylie’s 5-yard line. Jaedyn Gipson finished off the drive with a 5-yard run for a touchdown. The Bobcats pulled even, 7-7.
The Bobcats’ defense gave up a deep throw down the field for 40 yards as the second quarter began. The Bulldogs set up shop with a first and goal to go at San Angelo Central’s 8-yard line. The defense held fast for two plays, but on 3rd down, Wylie got into the end zone to take back the lead, 14-7.
The passing attack gouged the Bulldogs on the ensuing drive. Hill connected with WR Ben Imler on a deep ball for 32 yards to Abilene’s 45-yard line. Hill then took a carry himself inside the 30-yard line. Brawley and Hill took turns carrying the ball inside the 10-yard line, and Hill capped off the impressive series with a 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14-14.
After the Bobcats’ defense forced another punt, both teams traded touchdowns on 1-play drives. First, Tyler Hill turned the corner and sprinted 63 yards to the house. However, Kadin Long refused to be outdone when he connected with his receiver, who got behind the defense. 75 yards later, the score remained even, 21-21.
With time winding down in the first half, the Bobcats’ offensive machine continued to churn out points. Hill threw two accurate passes to WR Jacob Gallegos to set up another 29-yard scamper by Hill for the touchdown. Hill eclipsed the 200-yard mark before the first half even ended. The ‘Cats edged ahead again by 7, 28-21.
The Bulldogs turned around and drove down the field in less than four minutes to even the score right before halftime at 28-28. With 1:12 remaining in the 2nd quarter, however, the Bobcats’ offense pushed their advantage one final time. Hill threw a screen pass to Cedric Fuentes, who broke loose and sprinted 32 yards down the field to the Bulldogs’ 33-yard line. Hill then heaved a pass deep, and Ben Imler caught it in stride for a touchdown.
Now with only 40 seconds left in the half, the Bulldogs tried to match the ‘Cats' last-minute score. Wylie set themselves up at the Bobcats’ 40-yard line with only four seconds to go. Abilene’s coaching staff dialed up a trick play to try and catch the ‘Cats off guard, but CB Jacoby Yates read them like a book. Long threw a pass to his receiver, who pitched the ball to another for more yardage. Yates read the pitch and picked it off before sprinting the other way. Long managed to save another touchdown, but the Bobcats’ defense clutched up. The ‘Cats maintained their lead and all consumed all of the game’s momentum as they headed into the locker room, 35-28.
The ‘Cats came out strong on defense in the second half, forcing Abilene Wylie to go three-and-out. The special teams unit almost blocked the punt, but the pressure caused the kick to only travel 15 yards. The ‘Cats' offense came out with excellent field position at the Bulldogs’ 37-yard line. It only took one play for Hill to find Imler wide open 37 yards down the field for another touchdown. The Bobcats extended their lead 42-28.
Although the Bobcats’ offense kept scoring, Abilene Wylie proved just as hard to stop. Even after Darius Floyd sacked Kadin long for a second time, a quick scramble on 2nd and forever made up the difference. Two plays later, Long found an open receiver in the end zone for another touchdown. But the Bobcats still led 42-35.
Hill and the offense remained unstoppable following the touchdown. A failed onside kick by the Bulldogs set the ‘Cats up at Abilene Wylie’s 49-yard line. Tough-nosed running from Hill and Brawley slowly moved the ball towards the end zone. Carmelo Amigleo registered his first catch of the contest on a pivotal play to help move the sticks. The Bulldogs almost stopped the ‘Cats inside the 5-yard line, but three straight runs from Tyree Brawley finally pushed the ball into the end zone for the 1-yard score. The ‘Cats continued to keep up the pace, 49-35.
Entering the 4th quarter, Abilene Wylie continued to meet little resistance moving the ball. The Bobcats consistently stopped the Bulldogs on first and second down, but explosive plays on 3rd down continually killed the defense. Long connected with one of his receivers on 3rd and ten, who beat the defense on the way to a 50-yard touchdown. The Bobcats then stalled on offense, and after a poor punt, the Bulldogs waltzed down the field again for a touchdown. The back-to-back scores left the game after a missed extra point, 49-48 in San Angelo Central’s favor.
Disaster struck on the ensuing drive. After several first downs, the Bobcats threatened to score again. Tyler Hill dropped back to pass on second down and threw the ball in the direction of Ben Imler. A Bulldogs’ defender stepped in front of the pass and picked it off. Tyler Hill’s first interception since the season opener gave the Bulldogs new life. Like on previous possessions, the ‘Cats forced the Bulldogs into 3rd and long, but Kadin long scrambled for 60 yards and a first down. Now inside the 10-yard line, it took little effort for Wylie to take the lead on their third unanswered touchdown. Abilene Wylie took the lead with 4:57 remaining in the 4th quarter, 54-49.
Time continued to trickle away, and the Bobcats had to answer. The ‘Cats began the drive through the air as Cedric Fuentes caught a screen pass for 24 yards. After two unsuccessful plays, Hill failed to escape pressure on third down. The sack resulted in 4th and 18 yards to go. Hill heaved a pass to Jacob English, sprinting down the field. The defender decided to tackle English before the ball hit the ground, and the ensuing penalty saved the drive. The ‘Cats’ took immediate advantage of the penalty’s resulting first down when Brawley caught a pass on a wheel route that pushed the offense inside the 20-yard line. Hill took care of the rest himself on a 14-yard run and his 4th rushing touchdown. After a successful 2-point conversion, the Bobcats regained the lead 57-54.
With 1:27 to go in the game, Wylie had one final opportunity to score. It proved too much time for the Bobcats’ exhausted defense to defend, and after several chunks of 20 or more yards, Kadin Long broke containment and beat the defense to the edge. He scampered 16 yards for the touchdown score to take the lead, 61-57.
Nineteen seconds gave the Bobcats time to run three plays. The kickoff and two plays on offense. Although the game seemed hopeless at that point, the ‘Cats never once hung their heads in defeat. The ‘Cats began the possession by returning the kick to the Bobcats 39-yard line. Ten seconds left. Hill dropped back and hit Imler over the middle for 15 yards. The ‘Cats then implemented their version of the Hook and ladder that gained an additional six yards to the Bulldogs’ 40-yard line. Head Coach Kevin Crane called a timeout with three seconds remaining.
Tyler Hill dropped back on the final play of the game. Immediately, pressure from two defenders forced him to scramble but he did not get away. The defensive linemen wrapped him up but Hill managed to stiff arm out of the tackle and catch his balance before going down. He then rolled out, set up, and threw up a prayer. Ben Imler caught the pass at the 6-yard line, but defenders surrounded him immediately. Imler sprinted towards the opposite sideline, narrowly avoiding tacklers, on his way to seal the game as time expired. The Bobcats’ bench cleared and Imler’s teammates dogpiled on him in the end zone. The ‘Cats win an absolute thriller as time expires, 63-61.
Here's San Angelo Central Bobcats Head Coach Kevin Crane on the win:
Next Friday, the Bobcats have a bye week before resuming the season with the first district game against Midland at Grande Communications Stadium in the Tall City.
QB1 Tyler Hill threw the winning pass to QB2 (acting as WR) Ben Imler. Here's what both had to say: