Cardinals to meet Mustangs in Bridge City
Last updated 10/10/2023 at 4:36pm
The Bridge City Cardinals have started their district games against two highly touted state ranked teams. The games remain difficult this week for the Cardinals against a team whose only losses have been to state ranked teams.
Bridge City was able to keep things respectable early at Jasper. Injuries and just the waring down by the bigger more physical Bulldogs resulted in Jasper pulling away from the Cardinals in the second half.
Coach Chad Landry said the final score of the game did not correspond to how well the Cardinals played in the first two quarters. "We started off great and felt like we had a chance. The first half our defense was flying around, we were making plays, we moved the ball into the red zone a couple times, but if anything could go wrong, it did go wrong. Leading up to half time I thought the Cardinals were playing extremely hard and we were in the right spots," Landry recalled.
The second half saw seven Bridge City starters sit out because they were banged up or just to rest them so they would be available for this week's game. Landry admitted, "The wheels kind of just fell off towards the end. Four big chunk plays killed us."
The reported injuries were fortunately not serious. "We lost a couple of key guys in the second half, nothing that will hinder those Cardinals from playing this week. It is just a precautionary type move that we were dealing with. Our depth we knew coming in was going to be kind of our Achilles heel and it's showing," Landry explained.
Bridge City wide receiver Jerris Brown hurt his knee and walked with crutches in the second half. Landry said Brown would test the knee during the week to see if he could play on Friday night.
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs come to Bridge City this week. The Mustangs lost an overtime result to Hamshire-Fannett last week and are now 1-2 in the district.
On offense the Mustangs' goal is to spread out the opposing defense and use their skilled playmakers to beat you in open spaces. West Orange-Stark attacks with a balance between the run and the pass.
WOS quarterback Marcus Turner is where the Mustangs' Spread Offense starts. Turner is an elusive runner, and he can throw the football to a talented group of receivers.
Turner maybe the leading ground gainer for West Orange-Stark, but he has some very good running backs to give the football. Junior Tahj Amerson and freshman Khelvy Jefferson both can run with breakaway speed. "They're elusive, but they will also run you over," Landry pointed out.
Landry exclaimed, "They're really good led by Turner. The young freshman Ferguson is going to be very special. The Mustangs will line you up and try to spread you out all over the field, then they will run the ball inside."
This week the emphasis for Coach Landry to his players is make the tackle in the open field. "We've got to continue to get better at making plays in space and avoid the big play. Those kind of plays last week deflated our sails. Looking at the film of the game we had Cardinals in position to make the plays. This week we've got to make the plays in space. We've harped on it to the players during practices. We're in the positions, we just have to make the plays," Landry repeated.
Athletes are all over the field on defense for West Orange-Stark. The Mustangs will show an even man front which is a little bit different from what Bridge City has faced during the opening games of district and from what the Mustangs had used for decades.
Landry observed, "The Mustangs fly around and do a really good job of putting the pressure on you. They are well coached and have great athletes."
An important key for the Bridge City offense is to stay ahead of the chains. "From our perspective we have to avoid the penalties, avoid the turnovers, to give ourselves a shot. We're behind the chains so often that we dig ourselves into a hole and we can't afford to do that. We have to play an extremely clean game," Landry emphasized.
It will be another test for Bridge City this week against a team like West Orange-Stark that has been stated ranked. The Mustangs' four losses have been to Port Neches-Groves who has been state ranked in Class 5A, to Newton who is top ten in Class 3A, as well as to both Silsbee and Hamshire-Fannett which are state ranked in Class 4A.
Landry gave his assessment of the goals for the Cardinals this week. Landry hopes, "Going into this week we're trying to maintain our level of play from the first quarter through the entire game. Right now we're looking to get to half time that will allow us to come out with an opportunity, an edge, or some type of momentum at the start of the second half."
The Bridge City Cardinals have been giving plenty of effort in each game. "I feel like our guys have playing extremely hard, and they are going to continue to play hard. We have to give ourselves a chance. It's on us. It's not on the Mustangs who are well coached and extremely good. It comes down to us and what we do. We need to give ourselves a chance and not dig that deep hole early. If we can divide Friday up into two games, give ourselves a really good shot in the second part of the game, then who knows. We're going to practice and prepare and work hard and continue to do the right thing and we'll see," Landry concluded.
The Bridge City Cardinals will host the West Orange-Stark Mustangs on Friday night. The game will be played beginning at 7:30 in Larry Ward Stadium.