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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Cardinals play Silsbee on Senior Night


Last updated 10/24/2023 at 1:54pm

Running back Merik Aras of the Cardinals had his best game of the season rushing for over a hundred yards in Bridge City's win over Hardin-Jefferson

The Bridge City Cardinals rolled to their first win in district in over two years last week. Now the Cardinals must play the second ranked team in Class 4A Division II in the state.

Bridge City visited Sour Lake and were not very nice guests smashing the hometown Hardin-Jefferson Hawks 51-26. It was Bridge City's first win since the second week of the season.

Coach Chad Landry was excited about the impressive triumph for his Cardinals. "It was a great night. I felt all three phases of the team played extremely well. We had a couple lapses on special teams, but overall it was a good night for us. The defense made stops when we had to. We scored on special teams, we scored on defense, and our offense was clicking really well all night. It was a good night especially on the road, it was a district win, and I'm proud of our guys," Landry exclaimed.

The coaches and the players are believing they can win on Friday nights. Landry explained, "I think a couple weeks ago we all kind of realized that we can play with the guys in our district, we can do this, we match up okay. From that stand point our enthusiasm has been great, our effort's been great, going in we know we have a chance, so whenever mentally we're in the right spot with that. Each week it's been great and our guys know we have a chance to go in, compete hard, and play well. It has progressed since the beginning of the season and once we got into district we knew it would be a gauntlet, the schedule would be ridiculously tough, but our guys are believing so it's been fun."

One of the keys to putting up over fifty points was the emergence of a running game for Bridge City. "We did a good job up front. The offensive line did a great job opening up some holes for us. Merik Aras had a good night running the football. Jamel Charles had a good night running the football. We didn't really need Hutch Bearden to run it that much which was good physically for him to give Hutch a little bit of a break. I was happy that we punched one in and a running back scored for us," Landry applauded.

One negative coming out of the game was an injury to receiver Gavin Bodin on a freak play. Bodin collided with the play clock which was only a couple of yards behind the end zone. Gavin will be going through tests early this week to determine if he will be available for Friday night.

Coming to Bridge City on Friday will be the highly touted Silsbee Tigers. The state ranked Tigers are undefeated and have outscored their opponents 369 to 105 in their eight games.

Averaging over 46 points a game the Tigers are very explosive on offense. Silsbee will throw and run the football equally from multiple formations including the Spread and the standard I-Formation.

Landry elaborated, "They have weapons everywhere. The Tigers will be in the I or they will spread you out. The quarterback Michael Moshier is very good. They have several running backs all of them dangerous."

The biggest name on the Silsbee offense is Dre'lon Miller at wide receiver who accounted for 24 touchdowns last season. Ashton Cartwright also at wide receiver scored 9 touchdowns in 2022.

The offensive line for the Tigers is big, talented, and physical with Andrew LeBlanc, Xander Horton, and Jayden Smart the leaders. "We have our hands full trying to contain them with their blockers and excellent skill players all of whom can go. The Tigers can pass or run, they really have been able to do what they want offensively so far this season. Against teams like Hamshire-Fannett and West Orange-Stark they threw it more, against Liberty they just ran it all night. Silsbee just has a multitude of options," Landry conceded.

The Bridge City strategy on defense is to limit the big plays by the Tigers. Landry explained, "I think this week the plan going in is just try to keep everything in front of us and pursue the football. We've done a really good job defensively of pursuing the football so if we kind of keep it in front of us, pursue, maybe force a fumble here or there, get a pick, or something that we can flip some momentum. We've got to avoid the big plays which have been our Achilles' heel all year."

On defense Silsbee will mostly line up in an odd front. The Tigers will move their linebackers down to put more defenders in the box.

Jonah White in the defensive line is a leading tackler for Silsbee, and LaMarcus Botley is a standout in the secondary. If the Tigers were not talented enough on defense they now have moved Dre'lon Miller over to play some safety during games.

Landry evaluated, "They do a really good job of moving their linebackers around. Some weeks certain individuals are inside and some weeks they're outside based on personnel. I think it's one of the more underrated facets of their game is how good the Silsbee defense is. Their defense is legit. They're fast and physical. The Tigers move guys all over. I definitely feel like the Tigers are definitely in the conversation and would venture they are the best defense in the district. Jasper's defense is really good, Silsbee is just as good."

Bridge City has played two strong games in a row with a close loss to West Orange-Stark and the blowout win over Hardin-Jefferson. The question is can the Cardinals make it three straight against a team the caliber of Silsbee.

"We've got a couple things going our way. It's our last home game, it's Senior Night for us. We're playing a top ranked team in the state of Texas, so we're going to be ready to go. We've just got to go out and perform. The last few weeks the penalties have been minimal, the turnovers have been minimal, if we continue to do that we're going to have a shot. If we can have a chance going in at half time and come out in the third quarter who knows what's going to happen," Landry concluded.

The Bridge City Cardinals play the Silsbee Tigers on Friday night. The kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 at Larry Ward Stadium.


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