Bridge City battled Silsbee last week at home. The Cardinals stayed close for almost two quarters before falling to the Tigers.
Coach Allen DeShazo reviewed where the Cardinals came up short in the game. The kicking game struggled with a bad snap on a punt which led to a late Tiger touchdown in the first half and the first kickoff returned by an opponent for a score in five years against Bridge City.
DeShazo believes the Cardinals were not as physical as they have been in their earlier games. Silsbee took away both of the staples Bridge City had been doing offensively all year with pounding running back JimSharon Bearden inside and then passing for deep shots to Cardinal receivers. DeShazo added, “And they took advantage of us just being in the wrong place at the wrong time on their offensive side.”
Bridge City will renew its rivalry with the Orangefield Bobcats this week. DeShazo said this will be the first Bayou Bowl for all of his Cardinals. It will be new to the players, but they have been talking about this game all year and are very excited about playing in it.
Orangefield has run the Slot-T offense for years. The Bobcats have that offense down well and can be very proficient at controlling the ball with it.
Fullback Hunter Ashworth is the leading rusher for Orangefield. DeShazo quipped it seems like Ashworth carries the ball ninety times a night and never goes backwards. Ashworth has carried the ball more than any other running back in the district with 88 rushes for 436 yards and four touchdowns.
Directing the Orangefield Slot-T is Gunner Jones at quarterback. Jones handles the offense really well and runs when he has too. When the Bobcats do decide to throw the football Jones can find the open receiver in a hurry.
The Bobcats are very disciplined in running their offense. “So, we have to be very disciplined as well, it’s going to be tough,” DeShazo predicted.
Coach DeShazo is hoping the Cardinal offense can put more points up on the board this week against a strong Orangefield defense than it did last week. The Bobcats use an even four-man front and are very aggressive in it.
Ashworth starts on defense as well at defensive end. Coach DeShazo observed it seems like Ashworth is on ninety percent of the tackles which means the Cardinals will need to know where he is all night long.
Another standout for Orangefield is linebacker Macoy Marze who flies around the field and finds ways not to get blocked. The Bobcat secondary takes away the deep ball and makes opponents throw the ball short. Tyler Washington and Tyler Shearin have six interceptions between them.
The Cardinals did a good job late in the game with Silsbee of not taking deep shots but instead passing short. DeShazo analyzed, “We’re going to have to continue doing that, just take what they give us, and eventually maybe see if we can slip one by them.”
The game is a renewal of the Bayou Bowl. Possibly even more important is the playoff seeding for both teams according to DeShazo who has been telling the Cardinals since the Silsbee game that the Orangefield contest is a must win.
Preparation for this week’s game included cleaning up the kicking game at Bridge City’s practices. On defense the Cardinals will need to do their individual jobs, read their keys for the Bobcats’ Slot-T Offense, and not try to do too much that could put them out of position. “Offensively, just take what they give us, don’t try to press the issue, if they’re going to let us get three or four, let’s get three or four and keep going,” DeShazo concluded.
Friday’s Bayou Bowl will be carried live from F. L. McClain Stadium on KOGT. The kickoff is at 7:30 PM.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-