Bears open the playoffs against Bulldogs
Last updated 11/7/2023 at 1:12pm
Little Cypress Mauriceville finished the regular season with a win last week. Now the Bears open the post season against a team they faced two years ago in the fourth round of the playoffs.
The Bears went to Huffman with second place in district already sewn up for themselves. LCM defeated the Falcons 42-28 to improve to 6-4 on the season and conclude district with a 4-1 record.
Coach Eric Peevey thought it was a great week for his Bears. "We finished off district with a road win. We had a new quarterback with Evan Worster who did a fantastic job plus we got a running back return with Dustin Helm. I felt like offensively the kids were excited and ready to put some points up on the board. Our punt team did not have to come on the field the whole game. That's always a positive when you don't have to punt one time," Peevey recalled.
The running game was clicking on all cylinders for Little Cypress Mauriceville. Peevey credited Worster with doing a good job directing the Bears' offense.
LCM did surrender some points to Huffman. Peevey commented, "Defensively, I felt like we didn't play up to our highest capabilities which I kind of felt that throughout the week of practices. We definitely need to be better this week on defense."
There were two takeaways by the Bears on defense. One of those was a pick six by sophomore defensive back Braylon Lewis.
"It's really good to finish the year in the right way. Finishing that way guaranteed us a winning season, and for the first time in the school's history we've had three years in a row with winning seasons. I felt like it was great for the kids to make history like that," Peevey reminded.
Dustin Helm had been out since early in the season, and he got several carries in the game. Also taking some snaps on defense for the Bears was Jackson Smith who was held out the week before against Lumberton. Khayden Reed at wide receiver got a little banged up making a touchdown catch, but he should be fine to play this week. Peevey added, "We want to be definitely at full speed going in to this playoff game."
The Chapel Hill Bulldogs are the third seed from District 9-4A Division I. The Bulldogs suffered their only losses on the season to district champion Kilgore last week and second place Lindale earlier in district action.
Two years ago Little Cypress Mauriceville lost to Chapel Hill in the fourth round of the state playoffs. The Bulldogs have been eliminated in the semifinals of the post season the last two years.
The Bulldogs have an explosive offense that operates out of the Spread. They use multiple receivers but their main weapons are at quarterback and at running back where there are two three-year starters.
Juniors Rickey Stewart at running back and Demetrius Brisbon at quarterback have been producing big plays for Chapel Hill since they were freshmen two years ago. They were key factors for Chapel Hill during the Bulldogs' playoff runs the last two seasons.
"Rickey Stewart is probably the best running back I've seen in years. He's a three year starter for them, started as a freshman, he's only a junior. His feet look like their angry at the ground when he runs. He doesn't keep them on the ground very long. Rickey's a load to tackle and at the same point he's about as fast as any running back we've seen, very extraordinarily talented running back," Peevey described him.
Brisbon has started close to forty games at quarterback since he was a freshman. Peevey said, "Demetrius can run it, he can throw it. He's as explosive as it gets. Brisbon is a very talented quarterback."
"Those two alone can cause your defense as much problems as any team can get. They have a good solid O-line and solid receivers, but everything rotates around Stewart and Brisbon," Peevey continued.
Chapel Hill is 8-2 on the season in a very tough district. The Bulldogs' defense has surrendered a few points on the season against the quality opponents they have played.
The Bulldogs are very active on defense. This has resulted in Chapel Hill creating a lot turnovers to help its offense.
Probably the strongest defensive player for the Bulldogs is Kendall Allen in the defensive line. Allen is about 6-4, 270 pounds, and can run. Chapel Hill moves Allen around in the front line from noseguard to tackle to end. Peevey analyzed, "We've got to do a good job of getting on him in order to be able to move the ball."
At linebacker is Da'Veon Ross who had 7 sacks and 12 tackles for losses last year. "They're very talented on defense, and they definitely try to cause a bunch of turnovers. The Bulldogs use their speed, that's what they have is speed on defense. Sometimes you feel like you have the edge or have things on them and they recover very fast. They're just a very sound defensive football team with some extraordinary players," Peevey indicated.
The strategy for Little Cypress Mauriceville on offense is to do what the Bears are good at doing. Peevey elaborated, "At this point we know what we're good at, we know what we can hang our hat on, and we're good at running the football, and our passing game is getting there. We're going to have to do what we do and do it at a high level to be competitive in this game and not just competitive but have a chance to win."
Two years ago LCM entered the playoffs as the number two seed in the district and advanced to the fourth round of the playoffs. Could the Bears make another run like they did then? "I really feel like Chapel Hill is going to overlook us completely. I think this is a chance for us to come out and be ready to play some football. We have just grown up so much. We've really played well since the Kinkaid game. We've played physical, and our kids have started playing the way we know how to play football and we're doing it at a high level. That's what we want. The biggest key to stopping Chapel Hill is we've got to keep everything in a phone booth. You know Clark Kent stays Clark Kent not Superman if he stays in the phone booth. As soon as he gets out of that phone booth he's Superman. So, we've got to keep their guys from being Superman by keeping them in the phone booth and not letting them get outside and doing our part defensively to keep them contained as much as we can. Then offensively we've got to keep the ball away from them and we've got to get physical and go right at them. I think if we do that we'll have the opportunity to win the game," Peevey concluded.
The Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears travel to Nacogdoches to play the Chapel Hill Bulldogs. The game will begin at 7:00 PM on Friday in Dragon Stadium.