SKIDMORE – The weirdest year of football perhaps ever will continue for another week in Skidmore, America.
The Skidmore-Tynan Bobcats beat the Banquete Bulldogs 46-33 at Bobcat Stadium last week to claim the final playoff spot out of District 16-3A Division II.
“As a group, it was good last night just to see the work that we’ve put in during the season finally pay off, and see ourselves execute to the level I think we should be able to play at,” said Bobcat coach Stephen Silva about getting the victory in a zone crossover game to snap a six-game losing skid.
“It was very pleasing.”
The Bobcats (3-6) will now face state-ranked Poth in a bi-district championship game, which is slated to be played today (Thursday) at Falls City’s Beaver Stadium. Kickoff for the game is slated for 7 p.m.
They earned that postseason berth behind the play of quarterback Kade Florence and fullback Joe Guerra.
The two combined to score all but two of Skidmore’s 34 second-half points, which allowed the hosts to rally from down 20-12 at halftime.
“We came out in the second half and we didn’t worry about trash talking and all that stuff,” said Silva when asked how his team was able to take control in the second half.
“We just focused and executed.”
Florence rushed for touchdowns of 14 and 11 yards for the first scores of both the third and fourth quarters.
Banquete retook the lead in less than two minutes after the first of those TD runs with a 69-yard TD pass, but that lead lasted only three minutes.
With 2:52 left in the third quarter, Guerra rumbled in from 47 yards out and Florence tacked on the PAT kick to give Skidmore a lead it never gave back.
A minute and a half later – after a three-and-out that ended with the Banquete punter dropping to a knee to retrieve a bad snap at the Bulldogs’ 26 – Guerra pounded in from 2 yards out to give the Cats a 33-26 advantage.
Florence’s 11-yard TD run came next with just over four minutes left in the contest.
Guerra then ended Banquete’s ensuing possession with a 14-yard interception return for a touchdown to put it out of reach.
Guerra finished 119 yards on 14 carries on the night, while Florence carried it eight times for 67 yards.
Austyn Coronado was the leading rusher with 123 yards on 18 carries. He scored on a 27-yard TD run with four minutes left in the opening quarter to give the Bobcats a 12-0 lead.
Michael Menchaca scored Skidmore’s first points of the night with a 5-yard TD run. He had 28 yards on seven carries for the Bobcats on the night.
Marcus Gabriel added 82 yards on four carries for Skidmore.
A showdown with the state’s No. 4-ranked team in 3A Division II is now on the docket.
“Once you get to the playoffs, anything is possible,” Silva said about the prospect of facing former district foe Poth (8-0).
“I told (the team), ‘I know our opponent is going to be good and they’ve had a heck of a season, but you never know. One or two breaks here or there and all of a sudden we’re making plays. You never know until you show up and put the work in.’
“That’s the plan this week. We’re going to show up and we’re going to put in the work and see what happens.”
The Pirates are fresh off their stiffest test of the season, a 33-26 win over Natalia in the District 15 finale.
They have allowed just 52 points this year, half of which came from Natalia last week.
Offensively, Poth has scored at least 49 points in every contest except last week’s and is averaging 54.8 points per game this year.
Beating the Pirates, Silva said, will require doing all the little things right.
“If it happens for us, it happens for us. If those guys are just more talented, so be it,” he said. “... If they beat us because they’re the better team, then so be it, that’s part of life.
“But, we don’t want to make things easy for them by not doing things right.”