If Haltom had any chance of making the playoffs, the Buffalos needed a win by 11 points over San Angelo Central or a Weatherford loss against Hurst L.D. Bell.
They got neither.
Central quarterback Malachi Brown and wide out Tanner Dabbert made sure of it with four touchdown connections as the Bobcats rallied to drop Haltom 34-31 in a District 3-6A football game on Friday night at Birdville Stadium.
With the win, Central (6-4, 4-2 district) will be the No. 2 seed in the Class 6A Division I playoffs and visit Arlington Martin (9-1) in the bi-district round next week.
Weatherford’s 31-21 win over Bell gives the Kangaroos (7-3, 3-3) the No. 2 seed in the Division II playoffs and a date with Arlington Bowie (7-3). The game is tentatively set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15 at Wilemon Field in Arlington.
Haltom (4-6, 2-4) led by an 11-point margin for much of the game.
The Buffalos took a 24-10 lead with 7:35 left in the second quarter on a 5-yard scoring pass from Adam Hill to Jace Washington.
The Bobcats got a 33-yard field goal from Erick Rodriguez to cut the lead to 24-13, still 11 points, at the half.
But Haltom couldn’t find a spark in the second half.
The teams combined for 1,019 total yards and while the Buffalos picked up 17 first downs in the first half, they only managed five more the rest of the way.
The Angry Orange opened the second half with a 31-yard TD pass from Brown to Dabbert, but Haltom answered two plays later.
Hill hit Kenneth Cormier, Jr. in the right flat with a pass and Cormier rumbled 74 yards to pay dirt to put Haltom back up 31-20 with 9:48 left in the third quarter.
It was all Central from that point.
Dabbert and Brown capped a 14-play, 91-yard drive with a 24-yard scoring pass on the first play of the fourth quarter that cut the lead to 31-27.
Haltom lost the ball on downs twice and was forced to punt the rest of the way.
Following the Buffalos’ punt, Dabbert killed any hopes of Haltom winning by 11 when he hauled in a 60-yard TD pass with 4:41 left giving the Bobcats their first lead at 34-31.
Brown completed 21 of 36 passes for 374 yards with 210 of the total going to Dabbert on seven receptions. The duo opened the scoring for the Bobcats on a 65-yard pitch and catch.
Hill was the work horse for Haltom.
The senior rushed for 114 yards on 28 carries with a 1-yard TD run. He added 315 yards in the air hitting 17 of 26 passes and three touchdowns (12, 5, and 74 yards).
Derek Ocasio had six catches for 129 yards to lead the Buffalos.