Offense sputters, defense shines at San Angelo Central's spring football game

·4 min read
Wide receiver Malik Kates picks up yardage during San Angelo Central High School's spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
Wide receiver Malik Kates picks up yardage during San Angelo Central High School's spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

Playing in 107-degree heat, San Angelo Central High School's defense got the upper hand in the Bobcats' annual spring football game Wednesday night at San Angelo Stadium.

Not that the final score really matters in an intrasquad scrimmage, but the Bobcats' D won 56-31 for those who are counting at home.

The Bobcats are always looking to add a new twist to the scrimmage format.

"We stole the point system from USC," Central head coach Kevin Crane said. "We saw their spring game on TV and we just kind of copied it. Defense started with 21 points and then they had the ability to score based on fourth-down stops, missed fields goals. And then they got extra points for a safety, which they got.

"That was seven points instead of two. The defensive touchdown that they got was seven points. They had some opportunities to add on to what they had, whereas in the past we'd just give them 28 points to start and we'd try to catch them. They didn't have a chance to score more, but tonight they did."

Quarterback Ben Imler is flushed out of the pocket by Elijiah Dunson during San Angelo Central High School's spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
Quarterback Ben Imler is flushed out of the pocket by Elijiah Dunson during San Angelo Central High School's spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

Crane said the defense played well as a unit, the D-line in particular.

"They rushed the passer," he said. "I feel like we're going to be a little quicker up front this year, so they did some good things. Obviously, Jacoby Yates with the pick six was a big play.

"I think Darius (Floyd) probably did some good things at linebacker. To be sure, I'd have to look at the film, but just kind of eyeballing it, I saw those guys do some good things."

Offensively, backup quarterback Ben Imler got all the snaps with the starters, in place of fellow senior Tyler Hill, an All-West Texas QB last season.

San Angelo Central High School head football coach Kevin Crane keeps his eye on the Bobcats during their spring game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
San Angelo Central High School head football coach Kevin Crane keeps his eye on the Bobcats during their spring game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

Crane didn't go into specifics why the Bobcats' starting QB was not in the lineup, only to say, "He'll be back."

The Bobcats didn't get into a good rhythm offensively, but Crane still thought Central did some good things on that side of the ball as well.

"We just weren't consistent enough," Crane said. "We had dropped balls, penalties and holdings, and some of that stuff set us back. We'll watch it on film and learn from it and hopefully get better from here."

Crane has confidence in his backup QB, who had an up-and-down performance Wednesday.

San Angelo Central High School Teacher of the Year Sarah Willis and her children Briar, left, and Beau, attended the Bobcats' spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Her husband is Central defensive coordinator Josh Willis.
San Angelo Central High School Teacher of the Year Sarah Willis and her children Briar, left, and Beau, attended the Bobcats' spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Her husband is Central defensive coordinator Josh Willis.

"I thought he did some good things this spring," the Bobcats coach said. "He certainly got better. The wind tonight was tough. When we have wind like this, it makes it tougher to throw the ball and do some different things.

"Tonight probably wasn't his best night and he'd probably tell you that, too. But he did some good things as well and that's a work in progress. I'm proud of Ben. I thought he stepped up and rose to the occasion. He's just got to get better from here."

Crane said the extreme heat played a part in the Bobcats looking sloppy and a little out of sync at times.

Antonio Casarez makes a reception during San Angelo Central High School's spring game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
Antonio Casarez makes a reception during San Angelo Central High School's spring game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

"We've got to learn to play through that," the Bobcats coach said. "It's a little bit different because we practice every day in the morning, so we're used to the cooler weather. We knew it was going to be hot, but we did rotate a bunch in and out and tried to keep them as fresh as we could.

"That's part of it in Texas. I thought they handled that part of it really well. We didn't have much cramping. A lot of time when it's hot, you worry about cramping and different things. We didn't have much of that at all tonight."

There was a good crowd on hand despite the extreme heat.

"We love to play in front of our fans," Crane said. "It says a lot about our support and our program when you have that many people show up to a spring game.

Volunteer assistant River Subia talks with an official during San Angelo Central High School's spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
Volunteer assistant River Subia talks with an official during San Angelo Central High School's spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

"It's always fun for the kids and it's fun for the coaches to have that kind of a turnout. We're thankful for the people who showed up tonight and we appreciate them being here."

Central finished 4-7 overall and 2-4 in District 2-6A in Crane's first season as head coach last year. The Bobcats lost in the first round of the playffs.

The Bobcats are hungry to give their fans more to cheer about in 2022.

Wide receiver Jacob English makes a touchdown reception during San Angelo Central High School's spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
Wide receiver Jacob English makes a touchdown reception during San Angelo Central High School's spring football game at San Angelo Stadium on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

"We've had a good offseason and we've had a good spring," Crane said. "They're a close team, which is a good thing. They like to hang out and they like to do things together outside of this building.

"I've told them teams that we've had like that in the past have been really good teams for us. And so I think that's important. The culture of this team is really good right now. The next phase for us is summer. We've got to have a great summer and then the fall will be here before we know it."

Charles Bryce is a journalist covering sports in West Texas. Send him a news tip at cbryce@gannett.com. Consider supporting West Texas journalism with a subscription to GoSanAngelo.com.

This article originally appeared on San Angelo Standard-Times: Offense sputters, defense shines at San Angelo Central's spring football game