This is Week 11 of the high school football season and the final game of the regular season. The Orangefield Bobcats won convincingly last week over the Warren Warriors 37-6. It was a good win against Warren.
Coach Josh Smalley believes the Bobcats are peeking at a good time of the season. More importantly Orangefield got off to a good start which had been a problem in previous road games this season. Two early scoring drives got the game started on the right foot.
Defensively the Bobcats played great the whole game. Only a sensational catch by one of the Warriors’ receivers prevented the second straight shutout for Orangefield. Smalley praised, “No injuries so that was good, we got home safe, and had a good meal after the game, so it was a good night for the Bobcats.”
Orangefield plays Anahuac on Friday. The Panthers use multiple offensive sets like the Newton or Kirbyville Wing-T and shifting into the shotgun formation and running a Spread offense.
Anahuac Coach Greg Neece was an offensive coordinator with the Newton Eagles when they played in state championship games. He will use unbalanced lines with as many as five players to the right of center and only one to the left in order to confuse defenses with who are the eligible receivers.
Smalley insists the one consistency in the Anahuac offense is who the Panthers want to give the football. Quarterback Foster Kreuzer is the man. Kreuzer has rushed for 886 yards and 16 touchdowns. He ranks second in the district throwing the football with 708 yards good for nine more touchdowns.
When Kreuzer hands the ball off it is usually to Landyn Fanus. He leads the district in carries and is third in yards gained with 918 resulting in eight touchdowns. Sophomore Zyon Clark is the primary receiver for the Panthers averaging an impressive 19 yards per catch on his 20 receptions.
The Panthers like to run the football, but they are dangerous when they throw it. “It’s going to be a big challenge for us defensively to try to stop those guys,” Smalley admitted.
Coach Smalley pointed out the Panthers are also multiple on defense. They base out of a four-man front, but will probably load the box in an effort to stop the Bobcats’ running game. Every defense Orangefield has faced this season has shown something different when they played the Bobcats, and the coach anticipates the same thing from Anahuac.
Just like on offense, Kreuzer is a leader on defense. Kreuzer is all over the field in the Panthers’ secondary or at an outside linebacker. Joining him in the secondary is Clark with his athletic ability.
Other leaders on defense are Jaylon Jones at linebacker, noseguard Jose Sanchez, and Quintrell Coates at defensive end who present problems with their size and intensity. Smalley observed, “They do a good job, they’re a come down hill attacking shoot the gaps type defense. The run to the football really well.”
The Bobcats and the Panthers are both 5-1 in district. The winner will claim second place in the district for a better seed, but Smalley states that really does not matter that much since the opponent in the first round will be either Franklin or Crockett which are both good teams.
There is more to play for according to Smalley. The Bobcats want to send their seniors out with a win in their final game at home on Friday night. A victory would give Orangefield nine wins during the regular season. Coach Smalley acknowledges it has been a long time since the football team had nine wins at Orangefield High School prior to the playoffs.
Finishing second is preferable for Smalley and his Bobcats. They know it will not be easy against an Anahuac team that has won five of their last six games losing only to district champions East Chambers last week. “We know it’s going to be a great challenge with Anahuac Friday, and we’ve got a lot to play for so hopefully our kids will come out and play well,” Smalley concluded.
Senior night will be celebrated Friday at F. L. McClain Stadium in Orangefield. The Bobcats play the Anahuac Panthers with the kickoff at 7:30 PM.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-