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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Cardinals prepare for Cougars


Last updated 8/29/2023 at 3:54pm

Quarterback Hutch Bearden accounted for three fourth quarter touchdowns in Bridge City's come from behind win over Orangefield

A big fourth quarter rally helped Bridge City win the Bayou Bowl in Week 1. The Cardinals will try to make it two wins in a row when they play their first road game of the season on Friday.

Bridge City trailed Orangefield 9-6 after three quarters in the Bayou Bowl. The Cardinals scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win the game 26-9 and gain possession of the Buzzie Gunn Trophy.

Bridge City Head Coach Chad Landry said he had never even held the trophy until after Friday night's emotional win. "The environment was electric, it was one of the best environments that I've ever coached in. I'm glad our players responded well. It was a great week with a different vibe in the school and in the field house all week. Our guys were hungry, and I'm glad it came out the way that it did," Landry replied.

The star of the game was unquestionably Cardinal quarterback Hutch Bearden with two touchdown runs and a touchdown pass all in the final period. The union of Bearden with new offensive coordinator Chris Towery has paid early dividends with the win in the Bayou Bowl.

Landry agreed, "They've worked well together. Coach Towery's done an unbelievable job with Hutch and all the quarterbacks. Mentally, mechanically, and physically he's done a great job with them. We got to see a healthy Hutch Bearden on the field for the first time in a long time, and the kid has got some tools. He's tough, and we saw that on Friday night."

There is another coach Landry at Bridge City with defensive coordinator Shea Landry. "We knew that our big guys up front were going to have help us out to slow down the Orangefield running game, and they did. All night long they put pressure inside forcing the Bobcats off the edge, off tackle stuff, which we were expecting. Coach Landry has done a great job. The players work extremely hard for him. They love to play for him. He gets the most out of his guys. Shea is full of energy, full of life, and the kids want to play for Coach Shea Landry, and it showed on Friday night," Chad Landry expressed.

The Cardinals will play a district opponent of Orangefield in Week 2 with the Buna Cougars. Last season Bridge City's only victory was at home against Buna.

The Cougars went through a coaching change in the middle of last year installing Kevin Terrier as the interim head coach. Buna has been playing winning football since Terrier took over the reigns of the football program there, and he has been named the full-time head coach.

Coach Landry sees the similarities between his assignment as the interim head coach in Bridge City and the work Terrier has done with the Cougars. Landry explained, "I've got nothing but respect for Coach T. We're kind of in the same boat with the responsibilities that we both have."

The Buna offense operates out of the Spread, but is more run oriented than the Spread Offense that many teams use. The Cougars will run the football about 70 percent of the time.

The leading ball carrier last year for the Cougars was Jacob Johnson who is a senior. Johnson rushed for 2,039 yards with 21 touchdowns. Jacob is a big play waiting to happen, and Landry pointed out Johnson is extremely patient waiting for the Cougars' blocking scheme to develop and finding the right hole which makes him a tough test for the Cardinal tacklers.

Quarterback Toby Marse for Buna is dangerous running the football, but can pass it effectively as well. Marse threw for 1,298 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. His primary target is wide receiver Kayden Dill a senior who can go deep with his elusive speed.

"They're good overall. The Cougars spread you out to run the majority of the time. We're going to have to make plays in space which will be new for us this week as compared to last week, but I think our guys are ready to go," Landry summarized.

Buna uses multiple sets on defense switching from four downed linemen to an odd front like a 3-3 stack look. The Cougars send pressure from everywhere especially when they are in their odd front scheme to cause confusion for opposing offensive linemen.

Landry advised, "We've just got to make sure we communicate and make sure our assignment football is ready to go, and we will. Coach Converse and Coach Hallman with the offensive line have done a good job, and from day one to now it is remarkable how much better we are now than we were about a month ago."

Billy Robinson is a standout for the Cougars on defense. Robinson intercepted 2 passes and made 92 tackles in 2022.

The circumstances are not the same this week from last week, but the goal is still the same for the Cardinals who will try for their second win. "The expectation is a little bit different this week. It's just a matter of how we handle everybody telling us how good we are. Do we still come prepared and do we still come to work and get the job done?" Landry concluded.

The Bridge City Cardinals travel to Buna on Friday. The kickoff is at 7:30 PM.


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