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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Cardinals to host Orangefield in Week 1


Last updated 8/22/2023 at 2:18pm

Jerris Brown of the Bridge City Cardinals hopes to use his speed to catch some deep passes against Orangefield on Friday night

Last football season is one Bridge City would like to forget. The Cardinals are looking to match their lone win of last year in Week 1 of this season.

The final preparations for the regular season were the two scrimmages that Bridge City played. The Cardinals faced the Vidor Pirates and the Woodville Eagles in good scrimmages that fortunately left Bridge City with no major injuries getting set for the first game of the regular season.

The Cardinals' new Head Coach Chad Landry gave his assessment of the scrimmages. "I felt we performed extremely well. The effort was great, the attention to detail was where it needed to be, and I thought overall the scrimmages were pretty good," Landry said.

Bridge City is working with the same offense the Spread as last year, but new offensive coordinator Chris Towery is implementing some new facets to it. Landry explained, "It took a little bit of time in the first scrimmage against Vidor, but things are kind of settling in, personnel groups are settling in, and the communication has gotten a lot better across the board. From the first scrimmage to the second scrimmage that's what you're really looking for just a better knowledge overall of the system."

Landry rated the progress of the Cardinal offense. "When it's going right the offense moves, it's good. I'm proud of how well that the kids have soaked it all in early and it's getting better every day," Landry stated.

The season opener for the Cardinals is against their closest rivals the Orangefield Bobcats. The Bridge City defense will need to deal with the run oriented offense of the Bobcats.

Orangefield still runs the Slot-T as it has for the last several seasons. The big difference is this year the Bobcat skill players will all be new starters on the varsity after graduation took the whole starting backfield from last year.

Landry affirmed, "They're going to be well coached. Every year Coach Smalley does a great job with the Bobcats. With the Slot-T they're going to continue to run it, and they run it very well. I don't blame them one little bit for sticking with it, but though the backfield for them is new they're very good."

The Cardinals faced the Slot-T in their scrimmage with Vidor in order to have a little familiarity with the somewhat unique offense. "Overall, we did okay with it. It took us a little while to get use to the pace and the speed. It's hard to simulate that offense in practice with our scout team. Orangefield like Vidor is very efficient, and we need to get lined up correctly to make sure we're communicating across the board," Landry pointed out.

Two Bobcats have stood out to the Bridge City coaches that have scouted Orangefield. Sophomore Mason Manning has stepped in to replace the Bobcats' top runner last year Cameron Dischler who graduated after gaining over two thousand yards in 2022. Kyle Michael is a senior who will see more time on offense at fullback while also playing linebacker on defense.

Coach Landry elaborated, "The Manning kid can go, and he can break one at any point. I'm really impressed with Michael who is just a tough hard-nosed kid back there in the fullback position who is hard to bring to the ground. Manning and Michael they both do a good job in the backfield for the Bobcats."

Orangefield does have experience returning in the offensive live. Ethan Brown is one of the leaders up front making holes for the Bobcat backs to run through.

Orangefield operates out of an odd front on defense with personnel that fly to the football. The secondary of the Bobcats will try to keep everything in front of them which with the Cardinals' passing attack will be an important factor.

Being in a smaller classification with fewer players on their roster the Bobcats will have a lot more two-way players. "They have some guys playing both ways for them. I know they have some new guys out there, but they're going to be coached up ready to go," Landry predicted.

A key for Bridge City on Friday night against Orangefield will be its Spread offense operating on all cylinders. Landry responded, "We have some explosive guys that we're going to have to get the ball in their hands when we need to. Some of our guys are new, some of them are young. We're anxious to see how they prepare for Friday night and see if they're ready to go. We feel like they're ready to go it's just how individually they are ready to go and being prepared."

Nicholas Lejeune at noseguard will see lots of action for the Bridge City Cardinal defense to stop the Bobcats' running game

The Bobcats have actually dominated the rivalry with Bridge City in recent years including a decisive win last season at Orangefield. Landry believes the Cardinals have had an attitude adjustment coming into this season.

"We feel like our mindset going in is really positive. We've had a great summer, the preseason camp so far has been grueling and the players have accepted everything we've thrown at them. I feel like we're prepared and are ready to go. It's the next game on the schedule, but it's a good one because it means more to these kids since they all know each other and grew up with each other. It is going to be a really fun atmosphere, we're expecting a big crowd, and it's going to be fun. I'm excited that our kids are ready to play in this big rivalry game," Landry concluded.

The Bayou Bowl between the Bridge City Cardinals and the Orangefield Bobcats will be played on Friday night. The kickoff will be at 7:30 in Bridge City.


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