SAN ANGELO, TX – Explosive offensive prowess with no hint of defensive dominance defined the San Angelo Central Bobcats’ comeback night. After a back-and-forth where both teams’ offenses seemed unstoppable, the Bobcats snatched a win from the jaws of defeat. Tyler Hill connected with Ben Imler when time expired with a hailing 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 return 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 completely buried the Bulldogs defense. Accumulating more than 400 yards rushing alone, the Bobcats offense looked set to close out-of-district play with a win.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Bobcats offense struggled early. A penalty and a sack on Tyler Hill pushed the Bobcats too far to be defeated. The first practice ended after three plays and a punt. Abilene Wylie took advantage of the advantage their defense gave them and quickly scored. The Bobcats defense held on for two plays, but faced with a 3rd and five to go, QB Kadin Long put the ball back on a quarterback guard who ran 40 yards down the field to the 25-yard line Bobcats. 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 made their first costly mistake of the ball game on their second possession. Hill fell back to move to 3rd and 15th and immediately had to dodge pressure from the Wildcats defensive front. Hill slipped away from a potential tackler but, in the process, the ball came loose from his grip. The Bulldogs recovered the loose ball and took over near midfield.
The “Cats” defense won their quarterback’s misfortune by forcing the Bulldogs to a 3-and-out. Darius Floyd crossed the line with 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 practice and the Bulldogs threw the ball into the end zone for a touchdown.
San Angelo Central’s offense finally came alive on their third possession. Hill started the practice by snatching a 17-yard run from midfield. He then connected with WR Tyler Walker on two different passes for 16 yards. RB Aiden Barron and Tyler Hill then made their way down the field on penalty runs that broke several tackles to Abilene Wylie’s 5-yard line. Jaedyn Gipson finished the drive with a 5-yard run for a touchdown. The Bobcats tied, 7-7.
The Bobcats defense gave up a 40-yard deep throw early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs settled with a first and goal to go to the San Angelo Central 8-yard line. The defense held on for two plays, but on 3rd down Wylie entered the end zone to regain the lead, 14-7.
The passing offense dug the Bulldogs in the practice that followed. Hill joined WR Ben Imler on a deep ball 32 yards to the Abilene 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 run with a 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
After the Bobcats defense forced another punt, the two teams traded touchdowns on 1-play drives. First, Tyler Hill turned the corner and sprinted 63 yards home . However, Kadin Long refused to be outdone when he connected with his receiver, who got behind the defense. 75 yards later, the score remained equal, 21-21.
As time ticked away in the first half, the Bobcats’ offensive machine continued to produce runs. Hill threw two accurate passes to WR Jacob Gallegos to set up another 29-yard jogger by Hill for the touchdown. Hill eclipsed the 200-yard mark before the first half even ended. The ‘Cats again took the lead 7, 28-21.
The Bulldogs turned and raced down the field in less than four minutes to tie the score just before halftime at 28-28. With 1:12 remaining in the 2nd quarter, however, the Bobcats offense pushed their advantage one last time. Hill threw a screen pass to Cedric Fuentes, who broke away and sprinted 32 yards down the field to the Bulldogs 33-yard line. Hill then threw a through pass, and Ben Imler caught her in stride for a touchdown.
With just 40 seconds left in the half, the Bulldogs tried to tie the Cats’ last-minute score. Wylie settled in at the Bobcats 40-yard line with just four seconds left. The Abilene coaching staff composed a trick 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 threw the ball to another for more distance. Yates read the pitch and picked it out before sprinting the other way. Long managed to save another touchdown, but the Bobcats defense hung on. The ‘Cats held on to their lead and all consumed all the momentum of the game as they headed to the locker room, 35-28.
The ‘Cats came out strong on defense in the second half, forcing Abilene Wylie to make a three-and-out. The special teams unit nearly blocked the punt, but the pressure caused the kick to only travel 15 yards. The “Cats” offense got a great field position at the Bulldogs 37-yard line. It took just one play for Hill to find Imler wide open 37 yards down the field for another touchdown. The Bobcats extended their 42-28 lead.
Although the Bobcats offense continued to score, Abilene Wylie proved equally difficult to stop. Even after Darius Floyd fired Kadin long for the second time, a quick run to 2nd and forever was 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 after the touchdown. A missed Bulldogs kick put the ‘Cats on Abilene Wylie’s 49-yard line. Hill and Brawley’s hard-nosed run slowly moved the ball towards the end zone. Carmelo Amigleo recorded his first hold of the contest on a pivot play to help move the sticks. The Bulldogs nearly stopped the ‘Cats inside the 5-yard line, but three straight runs from Tyree Brawley eventually pushed the ball into the end zone for the 1-yard score. The ‘Cats continued to hold the momentum, 49-35.
Going into 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 at 3rd and 10th, 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 downfield again for a touchdown. Consecutive scores left the game after a missed extra point, 49-48 in favor of San Angelo Central.
Disaster struck the reader who followed. After several first downs, the Bobcats threatened to score again. Tyler Hill backed up for second down and kicked the ball towards Ben Imler. A Bulldogs defender stepped in front of the pass and caught it. Tyler Hill’s first interception since the season opener breathed new life into the Bulldogs. As on previous possessions, the ‘Cats forced the Bulldogs to 3rd and long, but Kadin scrambled long 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 unanswered third touchdown. Abilene Wylie took the lead with 4:57 left in the 4th quarter, 54-49.
Time continued to tick and the Bobcats had to respond. The ‘Cats started driving through the air as Cedric Fuentes caught a screen pass from 24 yards. After two unsuccessful plays, Hill couldn’t escape the pressure on third down. The sack resulted in 4th and 18 yards to go. Hill threw 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” immediately took advantage of the first down of the penalty when Brawley caught a pass on a wheelie 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 left in the game, Wylie had one last chance to score. It proved too much time for the exhausted Bobcats defense to defend, and after several 20-yard or more plays, Kadin Long broke containment and beat the defense to the edge. He ran for 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 games in attack. Although the game seemed hopeless at the time, the ‘Cats never lowered their heads in defeat. The ‘Cats started possession by returning the kick to the Bobcats 39-yard line. There are ten seconds left. Hill backed up and hit Imler in the middle for 15 yards. The ‘Cats then implemented their version of the hook and ladder which gained an additional six yards to the Bulldogs’ 40-yard line. Head coach Kevin Crane called a time out with three seconds left.