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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Bobcats face a tough test with the Titans

 

Last updated 8/29/2023 at 3:48pm

Kane Smith of Orangefield was the Bobcats' leading rusher with 76 yards and he completed a pass for 30 yards against Bridge City

For three quarters the Orangefield Bobcats were leading their opening game of the season, but a decisive fourth quarter resulted in a loss. This week the Bobcats play a very talented private school out of the greater Houston area in Orangefield.

The Bobcats led the Bayou Bowl against their big Orange County rival the Bridge City Cardinals 9-6 going into the fourth quarter. Bridge City scored 20 unanswered points in the final period to hand Orangefield their first loss in the series in over five years.

Orangefield Head Coach Josh Smalley was disappointed with the defeat. "You tip your cap to Bridge City and their coaches. They coached well, played well, and they won the football game. We've got to get better this week and learn from it," Smalley expressed.

Smalley reminded, "I thought for three quarters we played really well. We turned the ball over which was a key issue. In the fourth quarter we had five or six Bobcats going both ways, the Cardinals had none, the dam finally broke, and when it broke we couldn't stop them. Their quarterback ran the ball really well and we had a hard time tackling him."

As expected the Bayou Bowl was a hard fought game between Orangefield and Bridge City. Thankfully, it was a cleanly played game and there were no serious injuries for any of the Bobcats.

The Legacy School of Sports Science from Spring comes to Orangefield to play the Bobcats on Friday night. The Titans have a lot of very good athletes as indicated by their 29-0 win in Week 1 against Huffman.

Legacy uses the Spread Offense to get the football to its myriad of skilled players. Topping the list of Titans the Bobcats must stop are their quarterback and their tailback.

Quarterback Keisean Henderson is a sophomore who has moved from being a wide receiver last year. Henderson is a special athlete with several college offers already.

Ahmare (A.J.) Merrida is an explosive runner at tailback. "He's hard to catch in the open field, can make moves, can make you miss, extremely talented, and does a really good job," Smalley expounded.

The Titan receiving corps is led by Michael Brown and Kameron Williams who can both go deep for passes from Henderson. Coach Smalley described, "Legacy is very athletic on offense. The Titans put you in space to try to make you make a one-on-one tackle in space against their guys. The Titans are well coached by former Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop. They do not have a whole lot of tendencies. Their offense is 50 percent run and 50 percent pass, and they're really good at what they do while also being big up front. It'll be a challenge for us against probably the most athletic team we will see all year."

As talented as Legacy is on offense the big change from last year to this season for the Titans is on defense. Smalley stated that is where he sees the most improvement for Legacy.

"Last year the Titans could put up points, but opponents could do the same as we scored 30 on them last year. Watching them against Huffman they looked really well coached defensively," Smalley observed.

Based out of a four-man front the Titans will align in a 4-2-5 or a 4-3 defense. Their personnel on defense like the offense is loaded with athletes.

Defensive back Joseph Smith is a junior who has already committed to play at Arizona State. Smith is a lockdown cornerback that will get in the face of opposing receivers and shut them down.

Another impact player for Legacy on defense is Stefan Reynolds who will line up as a safety or a linebacker. In the defensive line are Jordan Whitley and Traeyvon Edmond who standout.

Smalley evaluated, "We saw them in two scrimmages and then we saw them in a game against Huffman. The Titans took it to Huffman pretty good. They're speedy, they're fast, they're well coached, they run to the football, and when they get there they look like they're mad at you and they're coming to let you know they're there!"

The goal for Orangefield in Week 2 as would be expected is to get a win to even the Bobcats' record for the season. The number two goal is to cut down on the turnovers as well as avoiding sacks and other plays for loss yardage by the Bobcat offense.

The coach summarized what Orangefield must do to beat Legacy. "If we can improve on our tackling, if we can cut the turnovers down, and our conditioning's got to get better because in the fourth quarter we've got to be in better shape which is on me as the head coach to get them to be able to play the full 48 minutes. We've got to get off this losing thing and get back in the win column," Smalley concluded.

The Orangefield Bobcats play the Legacy Titans on Friday. The kickoff will be at 7:30 PM in Orangefield's F. L. McClain Stadium.

 

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