Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 High School Football Playoffs: Central vs. EP Americas, Class 6A Div. II Area

So, last Friday sports writer Charles Bryce and I headed to Midland for a Class 6A Division II area playoff game between Central and El Paso Americas at Grande Communications Stadium. First, let me start by saying I love this stadium. The press box is nice and clean, they offer food to the journalists and the lighting on the field is wonderful during night games. Secondly, Friday was just another chance to see the Bobcats in action as they progress through the football post-season.

As we all know, as teams progress through the playoffs, each game should get a litter harder to win as the level of competition ramps up each week. The first half of this game was as about as back-and-forth as a game can get. The Bobcats had to contend with a pesky Americas offense that seemed to answer every Bobcat scoring drive with one of their own. Here's a rundown of the scoring drives in the first half:

1st Quarter:

Central - Cal Vincent 18-yard run (Marc Cabrera kick), 6:23 remaining
Americas - Joshua Fields 1-yard run (Adam Cruz kick), 2:17 remaining

2nd Quarter:

Central - Elbert Paulk 6-yard pass from Will Vincent (Cabrera Kick), 7:22 remaining
Americas - Nick Carillo 61-yard pass from Eric Foster (Cruz kick), 5:40 remaining
Central - Adam West 21-yard pass from Brennen Wooten (Cabrera kick), 2:56 remaining
Americas - Nick Carillo 6-yard pass from Eric Foster (Cruz Kick), 1:59 remaining
Central - safety, 0:34 remaining

Central held on to a slim 23-21 lead heading into the locker room at the half.

We had a real game on our hands here. But, as they have been for pretty much the entire year, Central has shown that they are a second half team and came back out ready to play. Central scored twice in the third quarter with Cal Vincent snagging a 35-yard pass from Wooten and Daven Manning punching the ball in from one yard out. Thanks to stellar play from the Bobcat defense, the Americas offense never found pay dirt to challenge Central.

In the fourth quarter, Central continued their offensive onslaught with two more touchdowns including a 78-yard run by quarterback Brennen Wooten with 7:42 left to play. Americas did manage to score but it proved to be pointless as the Bobcats rolled to a 51-27 win.

With the win, this will be the fifth time the Bobcats have made it to the regional playoff round under head coach Brent Davis. Central will meet Denton Guyer, who beat Southlake Carroll, this Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Unfortunately, I will have to hand off the coverage of the Central Bobcats to my fellow photographer Adam Sauceda, as I will be out of town with family for the next two weekends. If I'm going to have another chance of covering the Bobcats this year it'll be in the Class 6A Division II state semi-final game. I'll definitely be monitoring the Bobcats' progress and good luck to the team.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2015 High School Football Playoffs: Central vs. Arlington High, Class 6A Div. II Bi-District

Well, it was another big night at San Angelo Stadium as the Central High School Bobcats took on the Arlington High Colts in a Class 6A Division II bi-district playoff game. After defeating Odessa Permian the week before the Bobcats earned the right to host their first playoff game of the 2015 season. Once again, the stands were packed with the Bobcat faithful.

There is a different feeling in the stadium during a playoff game versus a regular season game. Tensions are a little higher because everyone knows that this could be the last game of the season. This is it, there is no next week, there is only next year. Lose today and the pads don't get put back on until next year. I remember when I was in high school playing on teams (basketball was my game, I was terrible at football) that had made it to the playoffs and feeling the pressure of performing well to prolong the season. No high school student wants a competitive season to end whether it's in sports or academics.

The Bobcats came out Friday night with every intention of prolonging their season.

The game moved at a fast and furious pace throughout the first half as the Bobcats posted scores on two touchdown catches by receiver Will Grindstaff and two rushing touchdowns by Daven Manning. Arlington lingered around scoring two touchdowns of their own, but didn't manage to put up much of a fight. By the half, Central led 28-14 with momentum swinging in their favor.

After halftime the Bobcats scored again on a 3-yard run from Manning to go up 35-14 with 3:09 left in the third quarter and on their way to what seemed another easy victory. But in a matter of minutes the Arlington offense strung together a series of plays that put them immediately back in the game. Arlington trailed 35-28 with 10:59 left to play in the game and now had control of the momentum of the game. It was up to the Central offense to control the clock, get key first downs and put the game away.

The Bobcats were facing a critical third-and-8 on their own 30-yard line when Brennen Wooten found Cal Vincent who made a one-handed catch and sprinted for another 33 yards to give the Bobcats a much needed boost of energy. The series was capped off with another Manning touchdown to put the Bobcats up 42-28. With stout defense by Gehrig Scott who stopped the Colts on a fourth-and-9 near midfield followed by a Marc Cabrera field goal, Central held on to take the win 45-28.

It was a great night for Central as they celebrated their 16th straight win on their home field in front of a an electric fans base. Central advanced to the area round playoff game against El Paso Americas set for 7:30pm Friday at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland.