Bears play the improving Lions on the road
Last updated 10/11/2022 at 1:50pm
The district schedule did not start the way Little Cypress-Mauriceville wanted it to last week. The Bears must go on the road this week to play at Livingston against the Lions who have improved as the season moved into district.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville played cross-county rival the Vidor Pirates to start the district. The Bears fell behind the Pirates early, came back to tie the game at the half, before being out played in the second half, and losing by a touchdown.
Coach Eric Peevey blamed the Bears’ mistakes for the loss. “We had way too many mistakes to win that game. There was a safety, not being able to get critical short yardage stops, or critical short yardage gains. I thought we did a great job of battling back at the end of the half getting two touchdowns in three minutes to gain the momentum and we come out after the half and the Pirates score. We’re then driving down the field averaging about eight yards a play and we fumble the ball away. They score again. We had a kickoff return for a touchdown called back because of holding. There were so many mistakes. Our kids played hard, but we just did not play very disciplined and we did not play very sound and you can’t do that against a Vidor team,” Peevey admitted.
Da’Marion Morris had an amazing game for the Bears rushing for close to two hundred yards, catching passes for another 85 yards, and scored three touchdowns. Morris even intercepted a pass on defense.
The Bears’ right guard Carson Phelps injured his knee in the game and will probably not be playing this week. Quarterback Dean Reynolds is dealing with a sore shoulder situation in preparation for this Friday’s game. Peevey responded, “We’ve got a lot of bumps and bruises we’ve got to get over.”
This week LCM plays at Livingston. The Lions lost their first three games to start the year but are now on a three-game winning streak including a 69-34 district win over the Huffman Falcons last week.
The return of quarterback Jontavion McNeal can be credited with the turnaround for the Lions. In the four games since McNeal came back from an injury he has rushed for 406 yards with 7 touchdowns while completing passes for another 309 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Lions use multiple sets on offense going from the Spread to McNeal under center in the I-Formation. The offense starts with McNeal who is the team’s leading ground gainer.
Senior tailback Connor Starr has run for 224 yards with 5 touchdowns and has been on the Lions’ varsity since he was a freshman. Starr is a big back at 6-2, 220 pounds who is a load to bring down. Starr and McNeal lead the way for the Lions’ offense.
Peevey pointed out Livingston has a plethora of good running backs behind McNeal and Starr. Sophomore Trenden Williams has gained 281 yards and has 2 touchdowns. A third back Jakob St. Martin is just under two hundred yards on the season with 4 touchdowns.
A great offensive line leads the way for the Lions offense. Xavier Mindiola and Zaylon Bogany are the top blockers for Livingston.
The offense is multiple but basically the Lions like to run the football. “Offensively they like to pound the ball, a lot of play action, a lot of options, but once they find something that’s working they don’t go away from it. You better stop it because they’ll run it 72 times in a row which is a sign of good coaching. We’ve got to be ready to stop their power running,” Peevey acknowledged.
On defense Livingston will man up and plays with a pressure oriented strategy. The defense starts with a strong defensive front. The Lions best defensive lineman is Zaylon Bogany. He is big, physical, and gets after it.
Starr is their leader on defense at an outside linebacker position. He causes a lot of problems and plays with a lot of intensity. Peevey called Starr a heck of a football player.
Pressure is the emphasis for the Livingston on defense. Peevey analyzed, “Their big deal is to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback and get a lot of pressure on the opposing team real quick to cause them to make mistakes. It’s not easy to get a lot of first downs on them. We’re going to have to go right at them, so we’ll have to play our style of football and not let them dictate what we do.”
Little Cypress-Mauriceville is 0-1 and Livingston is 1-0 in district. This game carries huge ramifications concerning possible playoff seeding for both teams with still four games to play all against quality opponents.
Coach Peevey provided the keys needed for the Bears to bounce back and win their first district game of the season. “We’ve got to play physical football, but we’ve just got to do our jobs, play disciplined football, and everybody take care of what their job assignment is this week, and then just fight to the finish. That’s the deal our guys have got to realize our backs against the wall right now. If you start off district oh and two it puts you in a really rough situation. This is our sixth away game of the year, and we’d like to be coming back home next week with a win and have another chance for a win at home. This is a very big game for us, and we’ve got to fight with everything we’ve got,” Peevey concluded.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears travels to Livingston on Friday. The Bears and the Lions play at 7:30 PM.