Twenty years is a long time to work with an individual, after such a period of time, one could argue that a tremendous friendship could develop or even a bond that may only exist among family members.  That is exactly how long Bowie coach Robert Padilla and Austin coach Eric Pichardo have worked with one another, including the past eight years at Bowie, where Pichardo served as an assistant coach under Padilla.

The two met for the first time on Friday Night at Austin's R.E. Mckee Stadium on opposing sidelines with the potential final district 1-5A playoff spot up for grabs, in what turned out to be a memorable battle from start to finish.  Bowie would strike first when running back Jacob Marrufo scored on a 30 yard touchdown at the 10:02 mark of the first quarter to put the Bears up 7-0.

Photo by Brandon Cohn

The Panthers tied up the score at 7 when RB Alejandro Cabral scampered for a 12 yard TD with 4:34 remaining in the opening quarter.  Bowie would come back to take a 14-7 lead thanks to a 51 yard touchdown run by Nathan Felix, who would also go on to score again in the second quarter to give the Bears a 21-10 half time advantage.  For the second consecutive week though, Austin stepped up defensively by holding their opponent scoreless in the third and fourth quarters.

The fourth quarter is when things really got interesting as Austin made one final push to pull out the game.  Bowie was driving for a score that would have clearly put the game out of reach with 9:55 reaming in the contest when backup QB Justin Diaz fumbled at the Austin 8 yard line.  The Panthers could not convert on the turnover, however on the Bear's ensuing possession, they were forced to punt from the shadow of their own end zone.

Austin LB Will Rodriguez. (Photo by Brandon Cohn)

Bowie couldn't handle the punt and fumbled it out of bounds, resulting in a safety,  making the score 21-12 with 3:27 left in the game.  Austin would go on to pull within 3 when back up QB Cesar Mireles scored on a 1 yard keeper to narrow the deficit to 21-19 with 1:45 remaining in the game.  A failed onside kick attempt that saw the ball travel around 20 yards resulted in Bowie getting a huge win, hence keeping their post season hopes alive.

For Bowie, RB Nathan Felix had 14 carries for 103 yards and scored 2 touchdowns, while Jacob Maruffo had 8 carries for 31 yards and 1 TD.  The Bears moved to 6-3, 2-3 in district 1-5A, and will travel to Irvin next Friday.  Austin backup QB Cesar Mireles went 11 for 24 with 177 yards and 1 rush TD.

Panther's RB Alejandro Cabral. (Photo by Brandon Cohn)

Running Back Alejandro Cabral had 12 carries for 88 yards and 1 touchdown, while WR Ray Blanks had 6 receptions for 95 yards.  The Panthers will travel to Andress next week to take on the Eagles.