Bobcats bowled over by Bucs
Last updated 11/6/2023 at 10:55am
The Orangefield Bobcats scored first but the East Chambers Buccaneers came back and scored four times to take control of the game. The Bucs won the game 28-6 to earn second place in the district over the Bobcats on Thursday night at F. L. McClain Stadium.
Orangefield (5-5, 4-2) closes the regular season with back-to-back losses to East Chambers and last week to the district champion Kirbyville Wildcats. East Chambers (8-2, 5-1) won its fifth straight district game since losing its district opener to Kirbyville.
The Bobcats opened the game with an impressive twelve play drive on which they marched 70 yards taking over five and half minutes off the clock. Four Bobcat backs Mason Manning, Kane Smith, Fernando Sandoval-Rodriguez, and Lane Gipson carried the ball on the possession.
A major penalty on the Buccaneers for fifteen yards helped move the ball from the East Chambers 37 to the 22 after a first down run by Manning. Sandoval-Rodriguez got two more first downs on his runs moving the ball to the one.
A procedure penalty moved the Bobcats back to the six. Manning scored on the next play to put Orangefield up 6-0 with 6:28 to play in the first quarter. Ky Butler's kick hit the left up right and was no good to keep the lead at six points.
Ball control maybe the game plan of the Bobcats, but the Buccaneers showed they like to run the clock too. Eight running plays consumed almost four minutes and got East Chambers four first downs as it went 68 yards for a score with Hadyn Reeves going over from the one. Eric Davila put his kick through the up rights and the Buccaneers led 7-6 with 2:25 left in the first period.
The Bobcats fielded an apparent onside kick by East Chambers and took over at their 47. Sandoval-Rodriguez galloped 12 yards for a first down to the Bucs' 35. A holding penalty against Orangefield on a short pass play proved costly.
It appeared the Bobcats might gamble on fourth and short but another five yard penalty spoiled that and Sandoval-Rodriguez punted instead for Orangefield. East Chambers took over at its 17 yard line.
The Buccaneers cranked up the running game again going 83 yards in seven plays. Quarterback KJ Fontenot carried twice for 29 yards and tailback Ja'den Thibodeaux ran four times for 36 yards scoring the touchdown from the three. Davila added the extra point for a 14-6 lead with 9:21 to go in the half.
Orangefield started its next possession at the 36 and got three first downs on a run by Gipson and two by Sandoval-Rodriguez to the Buccaneers' 19. A fumble by the Bobcats was recovered by their quarterback Carson Gonzales but the play lost three yards. Smith got the three yards back, but a pass incompletion set up fourth and ten on which Kane could only pick up six yards to turn the ball over on downs.
No ball control on the next drive for East Chambers. On the second play wing back Jarrell Smith swept right end and sprinted through a big hole to go 83 yards for a touchdown. With the point after the Buccaneers stretched their advantage to 15 points with 2:19 remaining in the half.
Both teams possessed the ball one more time in the second quarter. East Chambers had a long touchdown pass called back on a holding penalty but there was no further points scored and the teams went to the locker room with the Buccaneers on top 21-6.
To start the second half East Chambers danced with what brought them into the lead as the Buccaneers put together a thirteen play drive that included only one pass and erased almost seven and a half minutes off the third quarter clock. Reeves took the lead carrying the ball nine times waltzing his way for 44 yards and his second touchdown from six yards out to put the Bucs up 28-6.
In the second half Orangefield could not muster much of any offense. The Bobcats only got two first downs, one on each of their two second half possessions.
The Buccaneers quick kicked on their second possession near midfield. They then ran out the final five minutes forty-five seconds in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory with ten running plays the last being Fontenot taking a knee at the Orangefield 13.
The Bobcats gained 187 yards in the game with 171 rushing and 16 passing. Fernando Sandoval-Rodriguez was the rushing leader for Orangefield with 67 yards on 11 carries. Kane Smith had 44 yards on ten rushes.
East Chambers ran the ball 46 times totaling 297 yards. Thanks to his long touchdown Jarrell Smith lead the Bucs with 106 yards rushing on just three carries. Hadyn Reeves had the most carries with 18 good for 76 yards and two touchdowns. KJ Fontenot ran 11 times for 65 yards and was 3 of 5 passing for 23 yards.
The Orangefield Bobcats will represent District 10-3A Division I as the third seed in the state playoffs which begin next week. The Bobcats have a rematch in the bi-district round with the Woodville Eagles who beat them 19-7 in Week 4 of the regular season. The game between the Bobcats and Eagles will be played at 7:00 on Thursday night in Lumberton. Orangefield is the designated visitors for the seating at the stadium. East Chambers will be the second seed in the district and play Palestine Westwood which lost to Woodville 34-31 also on Thursday.