Cardinals look to improve this season
Last updated 8/8/2023 at 11:22am
There is a new head football coach in Bridge City with a familiar name. Chad Landry has been with the baseball program at Bridge City for 15 years and was named the top man for the Cardinals in football during this past off season.
Landry steps into the Cardinals' head coaching position a season after they went 1-9 without a win in district. "We're kind of in a building phase coming off of last year when we were riddled with injuries. It was a tough spot for our guys, but we kept fighting all year long, and I was proud of how we finished the year. The Cardinals came out each game just giving all they had. We're just trying to build off that for this upcoming season," Landry explained.
The summer workouts were great at Bridge City. Landry described, "We're just going to try to build off this summer and look forward to the season starting."
Several key Cardinals are back on offense. Quarterback Hutch Bearden began last year as the starter before an injury knocked him out of the lineup for the entire district schedule. Bearden has won the starting job again for this season and is looking really good according to Landry.
Offensive Coordinator Chris Towery is working closely with Bearden. "Coach Towery has done a really good job getting him ready. Hutch has a lot of skills, he's a tough kid, and he's a hard worker," Landry replied.
Bearden will be throwing the football to some quality wide outs. Gavin Bodin is a big framed Cardinal who is back from last year and will be a primary target for passes. Jerris Brown can really run and will be a deep threat for Bridge City when it throws the football.
Landry added, "We've got some young guys that are going to fill in and have done a good job so far this first week of practices. It's just a matter of staying healthy and keeping those guys on the field."
The strength for the Cardinals should be their defensive line. It starts with Nick LeJeune, Bryce Linder, and Ayden Richardson. Coach Landry stated Richardson will play a lot more in the five-technique than he did in the previous year. "Up front we feel like that is our strong suit. Those guys are very good," Landry reiterated.
Another positive on defense is the secondary which returns all four starters from last year Austin Bellanger and Jagger Carlin at the corners, Luke Williams and Stephen Stone at the safeties. Landry commented, "We're just focusing on our communication on the back end and it's gotten a lot better since the end of last year."
A new Cardinal worth watching is Abraham Munguia as a slot receiver. Munguia should be a key contributor for the Bridge City offense with his shiftiness and can catch any ball thrown at him. "He's been impressive with making the first guy miss. He is just a really skilled player, very athletic, and is a sophomore," Landry responded.
A freshman Bryce Breeden is another young Cardinal that Coach Landry thinks is ready to go. Breeden is playing both sides of the ball which is rare for a freshman, and Bryce has done a very good job all summer preparing his body for varsity level football.
Landry repeated, "Those two young guys have really stood out so far. We're excited to see how much they can contribute to the Cardinals this year."
The Bridge City coaches will be working the next three weeks to find the right mix of Cardinals to play come the first game against county rival the Orangefield Bobcats. The offense has some holes in the front line.
Eight or nine Cardinals are being rotated around to find the best combination to be the starters in the offensive line. "They're getting coached up, they're working hard, we're just trying to find the right combination. I think the main cog is Victor Ortiz at center, he's done a really good job the last couple of years for us. We're trying to find the combination around him," Landry analyzed.
One the biggest holes to fill on defense is at inside linebacker where Mason Pruitt graduated. Landry indicated, "Losing Pruitt was big so we're trying to find a couple of inside backers. There's some young guys right now that are athletic and fast we've just got to get them some reps to be able to communicate and understand in order to make some calls for us on defense, so those two positions are our fill spots right now."
Things will not be any easier for the Bridge City Cardinals this year playing in a very competitive district. Four other schools in District 9-4A, Division II will be ranked in the top twenty of the state when the regular season starts in three weeks.
Coach Landry expects a grind every week for his Cardinals. "I told the guys the scoreboard will take care of itself as long as we maintain our discipline, we have our accountability, and we are great teammates. We need to take care of that stuff first, we're focused on those three priorities right now. I have no big predictions. I do know that we are going to play hard, I do know that we're going to play disciplined, and we're looking forward to it. This is new for me and the first week has been a lot of fun," Landry concluded.