Turnovers and injuries have plagued Bridge City all season. Friday night at Larry B. Ward Stadium the Cardinals suffered from the same two maladies which brought their season to an end. The Huffman Hargrave Falcons won the game 21-7 to earn a spot in the post season and eliminated Bridge City from any chance at the playoffs.
Huffman (4-4, 2-3) enjoyed the cooking in Orange County winning its only two district games against the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears and the Cardinals. The defending district champion Bridge City (1-7, 1-4) closed out a disappointing season.
The Falcons never trailed in the contest as they took the opening kickoff and drove 60 yards to take the initial lead. Quarterback Justin Shively threw twice on the drive to pick up key first downs. Cason Rice was on the receiving end of both passes. Shively connected with Noah Thomas for 32 yards and a touchdown with just over three minutes played in the first quarter to go up 7-0. Shively threw the ball 26 times in the first half, completing 11 for 67 yards. He only threw two passes in the second half.
Max Baker was out of the lineup the last couple of weeks following concussion protocol. He quickly made an impact with a 55-yard kickoff return to the Huffman 13. A 15-yard penalty against the Cardinals moved the ball back to the 28. After a short run, Caleb DuBois passed in the flat to Baker who sprinted down the sideline before being hit near the goal line. The ball came loose and went out-of-the-end zone for a touchback giving the ball to the Falcons.
Late in the first quarter Bridge City drove the ball gaining three first downs to the Falcons’ 42. Three more runs setup fourth-and-two. Baker got the ball, but was tripped up and could only manage one yard turning the ball over on downs.
An interception by Thomas gave the Falcons the ball near midfield. Huffman picked up back-to-back first downs on runs by Kutter Tucker to the Bridge City 27. The drive stalled, and the Cardinals forced an incomplete pass on fourth-and nine to get the ball back.
It only took Bridge City two plays to tie the game. Andy Lara gained 12 yards on the first play. Baker then popped one up the middle, before cutting to the right sideline, and sprinting for a 62-yard touchdown. Zeke Mendez tied the game at seven kicking the point after with 2:08 left in the half. Baker missed two offensive series for the Cardinals with an ankle injury, but finished the night with 87 yards on 13 carries.
The Cardinals got the second half kickoff and proceeded to run over nine minutes off the clock. Baker could only gain one yard on first down from the Huffman 22. On the next play Baker was hit in the backfield and fumbled. Huffman’s Peyton Pierson scooped up the loose ball and returned it over 40 yards to the Bridge City 29.
Two running plays by Tucker moved the ball to a first-and-goal at the three. Tucker got the go-ahead touchdown two plays later from the one. Jackson Landry’s kick put the Falcons on top 14-7 with 1:03 left in the third.
Their next possession the Cardinals went for it on fourth-and-one near midfield, but Lara was tacked for a three-yard loss. Falcons added some insurance to their advantage driving 45 yards for another score. The drive took 13 plays as Tucker did most of the damage with 28 yards on seven carries. He was the leading ball carrier for the night with 134 yards on 24 carries. Elliott Jameson bootlegged around left end from the three for the touchdown with 5:30 left in the game.
Down by two touchdowns with so little time remaining Bridge City had to abandon its ground game and resorted to throwing the football. The result was two more interceptions by Huffman to seal the victory for the Falcons.
Huffman Hargrave will be the fourth seed in District 10-4A, Division I and will play the number one team in Class 4A the Carthage Bulldogs in Bi-District. The Cardinals will miss the playoffs for the first time since Coach Dwayne DuBois took over the football program in Bridge City.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-
HH 7 0 7 7- 21
BC 0 7 0 0- 7