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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Cardinals play Longhorns for Homecoming

 

Last updated 9/19/2023 at 12:18pm

Last week was the first time all season Bridge City did not realistically have a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals face another big challenge this Friday with their opening game in district against a top ten rated team.

The first quarter last Friday night saw the Cardinals fall behind early against Lumberton. Bridge City played hard to the end but dropped its second straight game 63-28 to the Raiders.

Cardinal Coach Chad Landry evaluated the effort by Bridge City against a top team like the Raiders. "We played four quarters, and we played much better in the second half. The first quarter was tough with three or four turnovers which put us behind the eight ball. We got to look at some young guys on the field and get some film on guys who had not gotten a lot of reps. Overall, it's going to be a good learning experience for us against Lumberton a great team with all their guys back," Landry analyzed.

Despite the loss there were young Cardinals that stood out to the coach. Kolby Leblanc made a nice interception, John Smart, and Ethan Hernandez also played well in the defensive secondary all three are sophomores.

Landry added, "Brycen Sommerfelt in the secondary was one of several guys who had not had a lot of reps that played very well. I thought Daniel Rodriguez going into the offensive line got some reps and we got some good film on him as well."

There were no serious injuries for the Cardinals in the game just the normal nicks and bruises. "We did rest some guys on Friday night. We kept a couple of guys out who should be good to go for this week. We made the decision early on Friday prior to the game with Lumberton to hold them out and get those guys rested up for the first game of district this week," Landry explained.

The Cardinals open district this Friday against the state ranked Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns. Regional finalist last season the Longhorns are 4-0 this season including a 62-0 smashing of Splendora last week.

The Longhorns operate primarily out of the Spread on offense. They will use multiple formations though by spreading receivers out wide with an empty backfield, sending four receivers to one side or the other, and will shift to a two tight end set.

Tight end Braxton Starnes is an athlete for Hamshire-Fannett. Landry pointed out, "They kind of use Starnes all over the field."'

A great player for the Longhorns is their quarterback Ty Bryson. "The more and more we watch him we just don't see him ever make mistakes. Bryson is just a smart, efficient quarterback that runs their system extremely well," Landry praised.

A dangerous player for Hamshire-Fannett is D'onte Zeno because of his versality. Zeno is listed as a wide receiver, but he has played quarterback which means he can catch the ball, throw the ball, and his over 2500 yards produced with 35 total touchdowns last season shows he is very dynamic whatever he does with the football.

Landry evaluated, "They're explosive. The Longhorn offensive line is large, they're quick, they're strong. We've got our hands full this week."

The key for Bridge City to control the Longhorns' offense is the Cardinals' defensive secondary. "Up front our defensive line has done a good job, our second level guys have got to step up we have got to get some more out of those guys. It is just a matter of being physical for four quarters and just continue to work hard, continue to get to the football. Coach Shea Landry is doing a great job as the defensive coordinator. The Cardinals love playing for him. On Friday night we've just got to make sure we're going a hundred miles an hour," Chad Landry expressed.

The defense for Hamshire-Fannett is not to be underrated. The Longhorns shutout Splendora last week and have allowed 42 points in their four games.

The Longhorns usually line up on defense in an odd man front. The secondary uses primarily man coverage with their athletic defensive backs. They will send pressure from a lot of different places so the Cardinals will have to be prepared to handle a lot of blitzes.

Multiple starters on the Hamshire-Fannett offense will see time on the defense. Landry added that the Longhorns have enough different players that they do not get gassed or worn out by the fourth quarter.

Zeno is one such two-way player for the Longhorns. He will be in the secondary where he will be a ball hawk for passes from the Cardinals.

Homer Ware and Seth Ramirez are two running backs for Hamshire-Fannett who play linebacker on defense. Splitting time at wide receiver and cornerback is C.J. Larnette who had one interception in the previous season.

Landry summarized, "Longhorn head coach Mark Waggoner does a great job. He's a really good coach. The Longhorns you can tell are extremely well coached on defense, and it shows on film."

The Bridge City Cardinals have the unenviable position of playing in District 9-4A Division II. There are four district opponents for the Cardinals state ranked in the top eleven. The first of those state ranked teams Bridge City will play are the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns.

Like everybody else Landry knows the tough task ahead for his Cardinals. "We know the road in front of us. Anybody that can read a schedule and see that we're going to go through a gauntlet here for the next month to five weeks. Our Cardinals are prepared, like we've prepared all summer, nothing has changed. I'm just excited now as I was in early August. We've got guys that are just competing hard and getting after it, and I'll never feel like our guys are going to close up shop. I feel like each Friday night we go out we're going to have a chance to win," Landry concluded.

This is a big week for Bridge City as this game is homecoming for the high school and community. Another enthusiastic group of red clad Cardinal fans are expected to fill the home side of the stands.

The Cardinals play the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns on Friday. The kickoff will be at 7:30 PM in Larry Ward Stadium.

 

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