EL PASO, TX — Headed into Week 2 of the Texas High School Football Season, the San Angelo Central Bobcats still sought its first win. The ‘Cats traveled to El Paso on Friday, September 1, to battle the El Paso Montwood Rams at Socorro ISD Stadium at 5 p.m. The game quickly devolved into a shootout where time of possession was key to victory. Central made the plays when it mattered most, and the Bobcats claimed their first victory of the 2023 season, 35-33.
Two teams who run similar offenses jumped out of the gates and scored early and often. In the first quarter, the ‘Cats marched down on the field on their first drive for an opening touchdown. Montwood answered in kind. The Rams met little resistance on their first possession to even the score at 7-7.
After the two teams traded touchdowns, a great tackle by Montwood popped that ball out of a Bobcat’s hands. Central recovered, but the fumble put Central far behind the sticks. Adding insult to injury, a penalty on second down pushed the ‘Cats back even further. Central punted the ball away for the first time of the evening.
Montwood picked up right where they left off previously and marched down the field for another score. Central’s defense did force a fourth down try inside the Bobats’ 20-yard line, but after a generous spot and a measurement, Montwood converted. The Rams scored three plays later to take the lead.
Central began the second quarter, needing to correct the recent skid. The Bobcats relied on the legs of their senior running backs, Tyree Brawley and Jayvion Robinson, to push the ball down the field. Brawley was the feature back on this drive and accumulated 21 yards with several tough runs. Inside the 10-yard line, Christian English connected with Carmelo Amigleo for an 8-yard touchdown pass. Montwood missed the point after attempt on its second touchdown, so the Bobcats retook the lead 14-13.
The ‘Cats' defense finally managed to slow Montwood down on the following possession. Central stopped Montwood for three straight plays that went absolutely nowhere, and Central’s defense trotted off the field. The ‘Cats’ offense took advantage of the momentum to drive down for another touchdown. Brawley snapped off a 22-yard rushing touchdown just before the half.
Montwood scored with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half, and the ‘Cats headed to the locker room clinging to a 2-point lead, 21-19.
The defense on both sides stepped up in the second half. Montwood began with the ball and looked to have success initially as they moved down the field. The Bobcats’ secondary came up with a big play when they intercepted Montwood in Central territory to stop the potential touchdown. Montwood then responded on defense by forcing the ‘Cats into a 3-and-out.
The Rams and Bobcats then traded a pair of touchdowns in back-to-back possessions. First, Montwood marched down the field on a time-consuming, 10+ play drive that culminated in not only a touchdown but a 2-point conversion to take the lead. However, Central’s Alex Lindsey would have none of that, as on the ensuing kickoff, the young man gathered the short kick and outran everyone to the house. Central led 28-27 entering the 4th quarter.
The turning point in the game occurred as the 3rd quarter ended and the 4th quarter began. Central’s defense capitalized on a botched snap by Montwood to shut the Rams down on offense. Montwood was forced to go for it on 4th and 25 but was well short. The ‘Cats then proceeded to take more than seven minutes off the clock in the 4th quarter on a touchdown drive where Central converted three four down conversions. The Bobcats faked a punt on 4th and 3, Tyree Brawlee converted a 4th and 2 in Montwood territory, and finally, Jayvion Robinson scored a 2-yard touchdown on 4th and goal with the game on the line. The Bobcats took the lead with 4:43 remaining in the contest, 35-27.
The game ultimately came down to which offense had the ball last. Montwood scored in just 30 seconds following the Bobcats touchdown, but the Rams scored too quickly. Montwood needed a 2-point conversion to tie the game, but Central was ready. Central’s defense made the play of the game when one of the ‘Cats cornerbacks intercepted the 2-point conversion in the end zone to maintain Central advantage 35-33.
Finally, the big boys up front for the Bobcats ground out the few remaining first downs so that Central could run out the remaining four minutes. The ‘Cats had to convert one more fourth down to seal the deal, and Central claimed its first win of the season 35-33.
After the game, Head Coach Kevin Crane gave his thoughts on his team's performance. Watch the full interview below:
The Bobcats Quarterback, Christian English, also gave his thoughts after he and his team's first win:
The Central Bobcats (1-1) host the Abilene Cooper Cougars (1-0) for Homecoming on Friday night, September 8, at San Angelo Stadium at 7 p.m.
This San Angelo Central Bobcats coverage is presented by Angelo Bolt.