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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Bobcats to battle with Woodville


Last updated 9/12/2023 at 10:03am

Lane Gipson led Orangefield in tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown in the Bobcats' win over Shepherd

Orangefield made a turnaround from its earlier football fortunes gaining its first win of the season. This week the Bobcats must avoid turnovers to win their second straight game.

The Bobcats traveled to Shepherd last week where they took an early lead. The game began like it was going to be a Bobcat blowout as they took a quick two score lead with an opening touchdown drive followed by a scoop and score by the Orangefield defense.

Shepherd rallied to tie the game 21-21 before the fourth quarter. Orangefield closed strong scoring two touchdowns to gain the 35-21 victory.

Coach Josh Smalley of Orangefield was happy with the first Bobcat triumph of the year. "We tell our kids it's hard to get a win every Friday night in high school football in the state of Texas, so any time you get one it's a nice thing. It was good to get a win, Smalley expressed."

Smalley praised, "I told our kids after the game when the Pirates tied the game at 21-all we had a chance to either fold and do the woe is me or we can bow our neck stiffen up and compete. The Bobcat defense got the ball back and the offense went down and scored two more times that put the game out of reach at the end."

Sophomore Mason Manning rushed for 172 yards, scored two touchdowns, and had a two-point conversion in the game. Kane Smith and Kyle Michael both had runs for touchdowns.

Linebacker Lane Gipson led the Bobcats with 17 tackles and a fumble return for a touchdown. Ty Butler did a good job with his place kicking.

"It was a good win. Obviously, it was kind of a roller coaster win, but we'll take it right now," Smalley conceded.

The opposition should get a little tougher this week when the Woodville Eagles come to Orangefield. The Eagles are 1-2 like the Bobcats, but the Woodville losses have been close ones to state ranked Franklin and Newton while their win was a blowout of Liberty from a higher classification.

Woodville operates out of the Spread on offense similar to what Legacy Sports used in Week 2 against Orangefield. The Eagles are very athletic and explosive on offense averaging 42 points a game during the first three weeks.

The Eagle offense starts with quarterback Ralon Williams who is big and fast. Smalley evaluated, "He's a big kid at 200 pounds, throws the ball really well, and when he has to he can run it efficiently too."

A leading rusher for Woodville is another Williams, Zayon. The Eagles have four or five dangerous wide receivers that can be thrown the football led by Ty'marion Walker and Christian Bean who are their deep threats.

"They do a very good job of calling the play from the sideline, seeing what you're lining up in defensively, and they will kind of make adjustments to their play call signaling everything from the sideline. They a good job of attacking what defenses want to do. If you back off to prevent a deep pass they're going to throw the hitch screens and slants. If you scoot up on them to take that away then they're going to throw the deep ball. They are a huge challenge for our defense to stop them," Smalley pointed out.

Franklin and Newton did score close to forty points each to hand Woodville its two losses. The Eagles limited Liberty to 17 points so they can play some defense.

The defense for Woodville is based out of a four-man front. The Eagles will get into a five-man defensive line at times.

The leader of the defense is inside linebacker Jaythan Traylor who is always around the football. Coach Smalley elaborated, "Traylor has got a motor. He'll blitz the gap or if he isn't blitzing he'll still get to the ball carrier. He runs wide open one hundred percent the whole game."

In the defensive line is Nick Horn a good football player. Horn is hard to block. Logan Primrose also does a good job on defense for Woodville.

Coach Smalley said Woodville reminds him of how Bridge City played defense to open this season. Smalley explained, "Woodville has the same philosophy as Bridge City. They don't sit back and just let you punch them in the face, they're going to come at you. Any time you start having success they will shoot linebacker blitzes, slants from the D-linemen, they'll send seven defenders at you."

It will be a huge challenge for our offensive line to see all the different Eagles coming at them, and they do it with speed that is faster than Shepherd. It is hard to simulate that speed in practice," Smalley added.

It will be a test for Orangefield against a Woodville team that Smalley believes is a top twenty team in the state. Smalley reminded, "You can look at the Eagles' one and two record but take it with a grain of salt because they've been battled tested like I feel we have too. We turned the ball over against Shepherd two or three times so we've got to cut down on the turnovers."

"We've got to tackle in space well this week. We've got to compete with their speed. Our offensive line has to prepare for all the blitzes and run throughs they're going to show us. Then finally we've got to shorten the game by keeping the ball on offense and keep the ball away from them and not turn it over," Smalley concluded.

The Orangefield Bobcats and the Woodville Eagles play on Friday. The kickoff will be at 7:30 PM in F. L. McClain Stadium.


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