Being touted as one of the most highly anticipated games in recent years, the eyes of Texas high school football fans will be firmly fixed on the matchup taking place at San Angelo Stadium between the Allen Eagles and the San Angelo Central Bobcats.
Even for the casual fan this matchup is one for the ages as the perennial Metroplex juggernaut squares off with the West Texas dark horse, with both teams sitting at a perfect 12-0. For San Angelo, the road to the Regional Semifinal has been paved with impressive numbers and performances of which the likes of Bobcat fans have not seen in years. Some say that this team, who is only the second team in Bobcat history to start a season 12-0, is the team of destiny with the last state championship triumph coming exactly 50 years ago.
This type of success the Bobcats are having is nothing new to the Allen Eagles, who will come into the affair boasting their No. 1 state ranking. After taking back-to-back-to-back state championships from 2012-2014, the Dallas outfit will be looking to down their toughest opponent yet on their way back to Arlington’s AT&T Stadium and the state title game.
In such an even encounter, fans around the Lone Star State are at odds on who to take in this heated contest. Here are some things you need to know to help you make your pick:
Players to watch:
- San Angelo Central QB Cal Vincent: The Central play caller is on his way to solidifying himself as one of the best to ever put on the orange and blue. With 2,244 yards passing and 31 TD’s to his name, Vincent could potentially steal the show with not only his arm, but on the ground as well. If the Bobcats are victorious, look for this Bobcat to play a massive role in the win.
- Allen RB Brock Sturges: With endless electrifying runs that have caught the attention of admirers around the state, Brock Sturges is becoming a household name for the Eagles. The junior has 824 yards on the ground, adding 13 TD’s and will look to be the catalyistfor the Allen offense on Saturday.
- San Angelo Central DB Dedrick Howard: As a defensive back with game changing ability, Dedrick Howard has all the attributes to lead his Bobcats to victory. With a team-high six interceptions to his name, two of which were taken back for touchdowns, if the Allen rushing attack is spurned, Howard could have himself a day. The senior could also make his mark returning kicks, having the game-breaking potential to take one to the house.
- Allen DL Cody Dillard: Arguably the defensive standout for the Allen outfit, Cody Dillard is keen to make Cal Vincent’s day a bad one. The Eagles lineman has amassed 10 sacks on the year already, and not one person would be surprised if he adds more to that total against the Central offensive line. Dillard, also a stalwart in the run stopping department, will play a key role in the Eagles attempt to stop San Angelo’s high powered offense.
- San Angelo Central WR Adam West: With equally impressive quarterbacks and running backs, one player to change the game on Saturday will be Central’s star receiver, Adam West. The 6’8 senior will look to terrorize the Allen secondary and add to his 868 yards and 10 scores. If Vincent is able to establish a consistent connection with his favorite wideout, the Bobcats could be well on their way to the Regional Final.
- San Angelo is riding not only a 12 game win streak, but have won their last 22 games inside the confines of San Angelo Stadium.
- San Angelo Independent School District reported that the allocated tickets for the matchup sold out in 10 minutes of sales on Tuesday morning. The Allen contingent is also set to make its presence known as well, with 7,000 tickets allocated to the DFW school. The San Angelo Stadium capacity should be at full tilt (17,500) with rumors more tickets are to be produced on Wednesday to satisfy the turnout after ticket sales were halted Tuesday afternoon. No one truly knows how many tickets there are, but we do know this: If you don’t already have your ticket, you’re not likely to get one.
- Allen holds the top spot in the Texas AP State Rankings, but the Bobcats are not far behind holding the 6th spot. The Bobcats also have the edge in averages of points per game (54 to 43.8) and average margin of victory (38.5 to 31.1), but the Eagles have the edge in points allowed per game (13.8 to 15.5).
Key to victory:
In titanic matchups such as these, with high powered offenses, the team that establish the most successful front seven will win the game. We’ll have the pleasure of watching two of the state’s best running backs in Allen’s Sturges and San Angelo’s Daven Manning. It will be up to the likes of leading tackles DL Cole Maxwell of Allen and LB Gehrig Scott of San Angelo to give their respective offenses chances to extend their leads.
With convincing cases for both sides, one thing is for certain is the hype for this contest is at an all-time high. One can hope it lives up to its billing as one team’s “0” is set to go.
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