Jim Sánchez/ Conexión San Ángelo

SAN ANGELO – Under perfect weather conditions, the Central High School Bobcats were perfect hosts as the Cats’ march to a state championship started with a near flawless, 35-20 bi-district win over the Pebble Hills Spartans.

The 14th ranked, Bobcats (6-0, 1-0) versus the Spartans (8-2, 0-1) game played out Friday night at San Angelo Stadium was too close to call in the first half as Pebble Hills, the new kid-on-the-block, was just in their second season of varsity football. And, while this was the Spartans first venture into the playoffs, the Central fan-base couldn’t tell by the way Pebble Hills took the fight early to its’ veteran Cats.

The Bobcats did score early but the Spartans began to slow down Central’s offense late in the first quarter. It started with a blocked field goal.

Bobcat quarterback, Maverick McIvor, connects with receiver, Jaden Coates, easily for a 13-yard touchdown pass. CHS leads Pebble Hills 7-0 with 9:55 left in the first quarter.

On Pebble Hills’ second series, the offense is penalized for an ineligible player who was caught downfield. Cats’ McIvor comes back on the second drive and hooks up with Jesse Scott for a 40-yard touchdown. Central’s lead is 14-0 over Pebble Hills with 5:13 in the first quarter.    

After those two fairly easy scoring drives, it really gets interestingly close. With three seconds before the first quarter ends, Central faces a fourth-and seven with the ball on the Spartans nine-yard line. The Bobcats’ field goal kicker, Ezekiel Del Rio lines up for an attempt at a 3-point field goal. For whatever reason once the field goal is blocked, Central’s offense bogs down as it scores only one more time. 

The Spartans defense gives their offense new life as Pebble Hills gets on the scoreboard when quarterback, Orlando Puig throws a pass to his ‘back, Kevin Averette, for a 12-yard touchdown. With 8:31 left before the half, Pebble Hills cuts Central’s lead to 14-7.

On the Cats next scoring drive, Central not only matches Pebble Hills seven points, but the McIvor to Teeter (Henry) touchdown connection is exactly for 12-yards, similar to the Spartans’ 12-yarder td. With 5:55 left before the half, CHS leads 21-7.

As for how the Spartans got on the board, it comes at the expense of Central’s McIvor’s pass which is tipped, thus an interception that Pebble Hills cashes into points. What makes it more frustrating is PH gets its’ td with four seconds left as the half ends when Puig connects on a slant pattern, again. This time his receiver is Haredt Gonzales for a six-yard touchdown catch. At the half, is Central 21, Pebble Hills 14.

In the second half, Central gets two additional touchdowns. The first one gives the Bobcats a 14-point lead, 28-14. The final touchdown is by Coates who caught the first one. Coates’ 12-yarder comes with less than two minutes to play to close out the scoring for Central 35, Pebble Hills 14. The Spartans final touchdown comes with under a minute left. Pebble Hills ends their season at 8-3 while Central advances to the next round.

The Bobcats advance to the second round as Central is at Mansfield next Friday, November 24 with a 7 p.m. kick-off set from R.L. Anderson Stadium. The Mansfield Tigers ended Keller Central’s season 42-3. 

To view highlights from the Cats vs Spartans bi-district playoff game, go to:

http://www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/san-angelo-central-bobcats-(san-angelo,tx)/football/home.htm

For a complete look at the 2017 UIL State Championships brackets matchup, go to:

http://www.maxpreps.com/tournament/5lQ-21gcEeeT-Oz0u-e-FA/7EyHIlgcEeeT-Oz0u-e-FA/football-fall-17/2017-uil-football-state-championships-2017-football-conference-6a-d2.htm

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