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By Dan Perrine
For the Record 

Bobcats play at Anahuac on Friday


Last updated 9/27/2022 at 7:09pm

The district schedule began last week for the Orangefield Bobcats with a win. This Friday Orangefield plays only its second road game of the season at Anahuac against the very good Panthers.

The Bobcats took a 21-0 lead against the Buna Cougars and appeared to be on their way to a romp. The Cougars fought back and actually had a tying touchdown called back because of a penalty for an illegal forward pass. A video of the play clearly showed Buna's Jacob Johnson lined up in the Wildcat used a forward toss of the ball to quarterback Toby Marse whose pass downfield was why the flag was thrown for two forward passes on the play wiping out the touchdown.

Orangefield Coach Josh Smalley was happy to win the district opener. "It was a good win for us. Anytime you can get a win in district it's a positive. Starting out district with a win was good. Buna's a tough football team as I said last week after they made their coaching change. Boy, did they come out ready to play. I was proud of the way our kids closed after the Cougars came back," Smalley reminded.

Bobcat running back Cameron Dischler was a standout on offense and defense. Dischler had 239 yards rushing with two touchdowns and intercepted a Cougar pass that stopped them deep in Orangefield territory and led to the clinching touchdown.

As a team Orangefield rushed for over 350 yards which earned applause from Coach Smalley for Gavin Perry-Koci who returned from a concussion last week to score the first touchdown of the game and for the Bobcat offensive line. Smalley added, "They played way better last Friday against Buna than they did against Woodville. We've still got some areas we've got to improve, but offensive line wise we played a lot better and the backs blocked a lot better for each other."

Buna's Jacob Johnson did gain over 150 yards on the ground against the Bobcat defense, but that really was the extent of the Cougars' offense. "Defensively we only gave up seven points. Leyton Loft was a standout with twelve tackles, Jackson Humplik and Dischler had interceptions. I thought we played well defensively," Smalley evaluated.

As good as Buna is, this week's opponent the Anahuac Panthers are better. The Panthers lost the season opener to Newton before winning their last four games averaging 53 points in the process.

Anahuac uses a multiple offense with various formations. Greg Neece the Panthers' head coach came from Newton where he was the offensive coordinator when the Eagles won back-to-back state championships.

The Panthers will get into the Newton unbalanced sets to run the scat and scat trap. Then they will shift into the shotgun to throw the ball deep with the fade route or throw short with screens. After touchdowns Anahuac lines up in the swinging gate. Smalley analyzed, "They've got the ability to line up basically in whatever offense they want to, and when you can do that it means you've got some good skill position players."

The offense starts with the quarterback Brady Barrier for Anahuac. Barrier is only a freshman and is the son of Coach Ned Barrier who is the passing coordinator for the Panthers.

Coach Smalley pointed out Brady does not play like a freshman, he plays like a seasoned veteran. Barrier has a strong arm which allows him to throw the ball into tight coverage, and he has the confidence to do it.

The primary runner is senior Landon Corbitt who rushed for 1,352 yards and 25 touchdowns with Anahuac last season. Sophomores Thomas Delao and Camden Wilson are quality backups to Corbitt for running the ball.

Another sophomore Quandre Coates lines up as a tight end and is literally a big target for Barrier to throw the ball. Two talented split receivers are Robert Bailey and Talon Cunningham.

It is easy to see how the Panthers have been putting so many points on the board. "They've got a lot of weapons, but one of their better offensive players who never touches the ball is lineman Jonathan Cooper behind whom Anahuac will run much of the time because he is so good," Smalley praised.

On defense Anahuac bases out of an even front which is different from last year when the Panthers based out of a 3-3 Stack in the game against Orangefield. The transition to the even front appears on film to be the case for the Panthers this season.

Two sophomores Thomas Delao and Tyler Kelley are the inside linebackers for Anahuac. Both get after it and run to the ball well.

Jonathan Cooper is a leader in the defensive line as well. He is joined by Presley Mouton as leaders up front for the Panther defense.

Hau Pham is small in size but very quick at defensive end with the ability to make a hit. The Anahuac secondary is manned by the running backs and wide receivers including Corbitt and Bailey.

Anahuac plays an attacking defense. Smalley explained, "It's not a sit and wait on you defense. They're going to come up field, they're going to get penetration across the line of scrimmage. The Panthers' mentality is similar to what Woodville played against us, they're coming to get you and not sit back. It'll be a challenge for us to move the football on these guys."

The Orangefield and Anahuac game is only the second district game for both teams but it is important because it is the next game on the schedule. Smalley stated the Bobcats goal is to compete for a district championship which means Orangefield needs to win a game like this one in Anahuac.

The game will be only the second road game of the year for Orangefield which lost at Woodville two weeks ago. "It's challenging. The Panthers are very good. They're probably averaging 40 to 50 points a game and now they're at home, so it's another road trip for us which we didn't handle the first one very well. Hopefully, we'll handle this one better," Smalley concluded.

The Orangefield Bobcats play the Anahuac Panthers on Friday. The game begins at 7:30 PM in Anahuac.


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