The non-district games have been played to reach this point of the season which is the district schedule. Bridge City had its bye last week.
Coach Allen DeShazo informed what the Cardinals did to prepare for the start of district. They used the bye week to go over fundamentals. The coach advised they did work on some new wrinkles since there was extra time to prepare.
The big advantage of the week without a game was resting the players. DeShazo explained, “Mainly we just used the week to get healthy.” Getting healthy was running back Rylan Ply who had the cast removed from his broken thumb. Ply will see playing time for the first time since the season opener.
The first district opponent is Little Cypress-Mauriceville. DeShazo analyzed the Bears on offense which is based out of the Spread. The Bears will line up some of their personnel at tight end, but they are the same ones who will be spread out on the wings so it is difficult according to DeShazo to get a read where they will line up initially.
The Bears are led by their quarterback Ethan McCollum who makes the offense go. McCollum is a hard runner and a great thrower of the football the coach pointed out. “He makes them click, and we’ve got to figure out a way to slow him down,” DeShazo emphasized.
The Cardinals’ offense has shown improvement as the season has progressed. Coach DeShazo hopes to see that continue against a tough Bears’ defense. Little Cypress-Mauriceville bases out of an odd front similar to Bridge City. The coach believes his players have seen it enough that they understand it and will be able to perform their blocking assignments.
The secondary of the Bears are their strongest positions on defense according to DeShazo. Throwing deep passes is difficult against LC-M. The defensive backs DJ Williams and Malachi Dumas are fast, good tacklers, and very aggressive as all the Bears’ in the secondary are. DeShazo said, “We’ve got to find a way to get in those guys way and maybe exploit their aggressiveness on them.”
The defensive line for LC-M is big and difficulty to move. The linebackers are led by Mathew Lopez. They are quick and also sure tacklers just like the defensive backs DeShazo pointed out.
The first game of district is important to get a jump on the other district opponents. Coach DeShazo stated this is the most significant game so far this season for Bridge City. He has talked to the players every week that the game that week is the most important because it is the next game. That increases with this week’s game being the start of district, and he added it is huge to start the district with a win.
DeShazo spoke about the keys to winning on Friday night are avoiding mistakes in a big game. Limiting turnovers will be imperative for the Cardinals to capture a victory against LC-M. Pre-snap penalties have been kept to a minimum this season and that will need to continue in this week’s game.
Bridge City wants to run the football and keep the dangerous Bears’ offense off the field. Performing the basics of the game will be the final key for the Cardinals. “Block and tackle like every week,” DeShazo concluded.
The Bridge City Cardinals travel to their cross-county rival Little Cypress-Mauriceville to open the district on Friday. The kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM. on KOGT.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-