Jim Sánchez /Conexión San Ángelo

SAN ANGELO –The 14th ranked Central High Bobcats' 35-26 win over the Amarillo Tascosa Rebels in a game played Friday night at San Angelo Stadium, wrapped up the regular season finale. Along the way, the 'Cats made history as two team goals were accomplished.

 In the season finale, the Bobcats played at home (San Angelo Stadium) to close out with a district crown as Central beat Amarillo Tascosa, 35-26. 

In the final game of the regular season, it was designated "Little Bobcat Night" by SAISD as all the elementary schools had kids show up to support their Big Brother Bobcats.

First, for the second consecutive season, the 'Cats went back-to-back with an undefeated season which had never been done before in its’ history. And second, Central won its fifth, consecutive District 2-6A title.

Before all that happened, the Tascosa Rebels (6-3, 2-3) didn’t look like a team that had lost three games in district. In a game where it looked like a heavyweight fight, literally Tascosa’s offensive line and backs were bigger, stronger than Central’s, the Rebels took the first “shot across the bow”.

Amarillo received the kick-off and scored first against the Angry Orange’s defense with its’ smash-mouth triple-option attack. 

Tascosa scored not once but twice on their first drive; Rebels’ quarterback, Connor Mcnaul, pitches out the ball to back, Ayden Noriega, who has blockers in front to lead him into the end zone. The touchdown comes on a second down with the ball at Central’s 24. This big-time play turned out to be a negative as it was nullified by a penalty. The Rebels still score on the same series, with their big 232-pound bruiser of-a-fullback, Zabrian King. That’s how they got two scores, but only one counted due to the penalty. While the Rebels get 6 points, the PAT failed with 3:57 left in the first quarter. It is Rebels 6, Cats 0.

The Bobcats answer Tascosa’s score with their own when quarterback, Maverick McIvor, throws a strike to his wideout, Jesse Scott, who turns the pass into a 30-yard touchdown. With the PAT good, Central leads Tascosa, 7-6. The first quarter ends shortly with that score.

In the second quarter, the Rebels’ King, scores again, with a 3-yard touchdown up the middle. Amarillo gets their PAT to make it 13-7 in their favor, with 9:07 left before the half.

The Bobcats come right back on their next series with points when McIvor caps off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown. Central leads again 14-13 with 7:35 in the second quarter.

The Bobcats’ fifth district 2-6A crown was clinched during three critical points of the game. The first two keys of the game came just before the half. The third one came in the third quarter; and the fourth one nailed the coffin shut on Amarillo’s attempt to upset Central.

The first critical point in the game came when the Rebels face a second-and-10 at Central’s forty-one. The Angry Orange defense gets pressure up the middle, causing a fumble which is recovered.

Central makes Amarillo pay when it cashes that mistake in for points. ‘Cats’ halfback, Cody Parker, punches in a touchdown from a yard out to give Central some breathing room, CHS 21, Amarillo 13. 

The second key play that turned the tide in Central’s favor is when Amarillo faced a 4th-and-1 at the Cats 42-yard-line. McAnaul attempts to pick up the yardage needed but Central’s defensive tackle, Michael Neira, knife’s through the line and appears to stop him inches short of the first down. When the head referee calls for a measurement, sure enough the ball goes over on downs to CHS. The halftime score eventually ends up being 21-13, Central on top.

Central comes out in the second half and scores a touchdown when McIvor scoots in from 2-yards out to make it 28-13 with 10:29 left early in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the Rebels didn’t simply lay down and let the Cats waltz to the title; Amarillo was going to make Central earn that crown when quarterback, McAnaul, scores on a 45-yard touchdown run to cut the lead, 28-19 with about two-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter.

Tascosa comes back again to put Central on the ropes when the Rebels score in the fourth quarter to make it close, down the stretch, 28-26.

If the Bobcat offense didn’t nail the coffin on the Rebels with a touchdown from McIvor to Teeter to bring the final score to 35-26, then an “Angry Orange” defensive back's interception certainly does.

 The Central High Bobcat Band combined forces with its junior high bands to perform at half-time their "Super Heroes" and tribute to the United States military for Veterans Day. 

As newly crowned District champs, Central’s next assignment is a playoff game as the Cats (10-0, 6-0) host El Paso Pebble Hills in a bi-district playoff at 7 p.m. next Friday at San Angelo Stadium.  

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