BELTON, TX — The San Angelo Central Bobcats (1-2) traveled to Belton on Friday, September 15, to take on the Belton Tigers (3-0). The Bobcats let penalties and two mental mistakes allow Belton to build a 17-point lead, but showed real grit in the second half. The ‘Cats outscored Belton 28-14 in the 2nd half but fell 41-38.
The Bobcats won the toss and deferred to the 2nd half. On the opening kickoff, Central lost contain and gave up a touchdown on the kick return. Down seven points, English led the Bobcats down the field and inside Belton’s 10-yard line. In what would become a theme in the first half, penalties pushed the Bobcats away from the goal line, and Central was forced to kick a field goal.
Leading 7-3, the Tigers took the next possession for another touchdown. The Bobcats forced two 3rd and longs on the drive. Both times the defense got to the quarterback but couldn’t bring him down. Belton scored a touchdown from 1-yard out. A missed extra point left the score 13-3.
The ‘Cats finally found the end zone in the 2nd quarter. After Cameron Mayfield intercepted a deep pass from the Tigers, penalties again almost killed Central’s drive. Backed up behind the sticks, English connected with several receivers to cover 25 yards in three plays to keep the possession alive. Later, inside the Tigers’ 25-yard line, English connected with Alex Lindsey for a 23-yard touchdown. Central cut the lead to three midway through the 2nd quarter, 13-10.
Special teams gave up another big return on the Tigers’ next possession. Belton started in Central’s territory and only needed four plays to add another touchdown. Central tried to return the favor, but penalties turned a 3rd and manageable to a 3rd and long. The ‘Cats managed to gain eight yards on 3rd down to set up a 4th and 8 at Belton’s 20-yard line. Central went for a field goal but missed the kick.
The ‘Cats' defense forced its first three-and-out on the next possession. Three straight plays went nowhere for the Tigers, and Central had the opportunity to get back into the game. The offense seemed to do just that and drove the ball past midfield down to the Tigers’ 28-yard line before disaster struck. English and Tyree Brawlee ran a speed option to the left side of the field. English’s pitch fell short of Brawlee, and Belton took advantage. A Tiger scooped up the ball and returned it 68 yards to the house for a defensive touchdown. Central headed to the locker room in a half, where they led in almost every offensive category and time of possession, 27-10.
Watch the full game highlights below:
After neither team scored on the opening drives in the 2nd half, Central struck first on a 40-yard bomb from English to Malik Kates to pull the Bobcats within 10 points, 27-17. The Tigers answered with a score of their own to erase the Bobcats progress. English lit up the stadium with a fantastic higlight on a 74-yard touchdown run to make the score 34-24 with a little over two minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
The Bobcats’ defense stepped up in the 4th quarter; on three different occasions, the defense handed the offense the ball. The only problem was that Belton’s defense played great as well. Central finally managed to score, but they were running out of time. First, Squeaky hit Lindsey for a 45-yard bomb to pull the Bobcats within striking distance. Then, the defense stopped the Tigers on 4th down and gave English and company another drive. English rewarded the defense with another 44-yard touchdown run. Central pulled within three points with under five minutes to play.
Central’s defense needed a final stop to put themselves in a position to score. The ‘Cats forced two 4th down tries but could not manage the stop. The Bobcats stormed back in the 2nd half and outscored Belton 28-14 but still fell 41-38.
Coach Crane gave his thoughts on his team's performance after the game:
The Central Bobcats (1-3) travel to Abilene next Friday, September 22, to play the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs at 7 p.m.