by Marty Elkins

If you were to look at the last four games of the 2007 season you would see that the Orangefield Bobcats finished a strong 3-1. Look at the first six games and you see a different story as the ‘Cats struggled through an 0-6 start to the season. Even through all that the Bobcats were very close to a playoff spot. The Cats started district with a blowout loss to Silsbee and then appeared to be heading towards the same fate against Jasper the next week after the Bulldogs jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead. That would be the turning point for Orangefield though as they held Jasper scoreless in the 2nd half and ended up falling 24-14. The next week they battled Kirbyville back and forth for 4 quarters but fell just short 49-42. If one of those games had gone Orangefield’s way the Bobcats may have found themselves playing in week 11. With the departure of Jasper and Kirbyville from 21-3A the Bobcats have to like their chances at a playoff spot with the help of 13 returning starters.
Offensively The ‘Cats return 5 starters on offense from last year’s team that averaged 23 points per game. Jace Statum makes the move to Quarterback from Wide Receiver for his junior season. Look for senior Zach Peevey to take over the starting job at Tail Back after seeing good time as a backup last year. Peevey finished 2007 with 456 yards and 4 touchdowns on 89 carries. With two speedy backs in the backfield in QB Statum and TB Peevey expect the Bobcats to base their offense around a more option style running attack. Out wide the bobcats will be relying on the sure hands of Senior Weasley Wiggins and Junior Derrick Evans.  The Offensive line will be anchored by seniors Cody Ballard and Alex Edgerly, and Juniors Tyler Whitmire, Ethan Cowart, and  Dillon Davalos   
 The Bobcat defense will be a very talented group in 2008. Orangefield has 8 starters back on defense from last year’s unit that allowed 30 points per game. The defense will be playing with a year of varsity experience under their belt and that should result in better performances in 2008. The ‘Cats will have a strong Line Backer crew with Seniors Dillon Smith on the outside and Josh Juneau on the inside. The Defensive line is anchored by all-district pick Defensive End Luke Gunstream. Also look for Orangefield to be strong inside on the defensive line with senior Defensive Tackles Stven Stone and Shawn Bodin anchoring the group
Orangefield opens their 2008 season at home against the East Chambers Buccaneers in Week 0. The next week they take on the Buna Cougars in a rivalry game that dates back decades. Week 2 will see the Bobcats travel to Liberty to face the Panthers. These two teams had some great playoff games in 2002 and 2003 and we expect the same when they hook up on Sept. 12. The non-district schedule winds down on Sept. 26 at home as the powerful Newton Eagles come to F.L. McClain Stadium. Orangefield opens 21-3A play on Oct. 10 on the road at Hamshire-Fannett. One of the biggest rivalries in Southeast Texas happens on Oct. 31 when Orangefield and Bridge City meet up for “Bayou Bowl IX.”

Here is the complete 2008 schedule for the Orangefield Bobcats……
Aug. 29 East Chambers
Sept. 5 Buna
Sept. 12 @ Liberty
Sept. 19 @ Tarkington
Sept. 26 Newton
Oct. 3 OPEN
Oct. 10 @ Hamshire-Fannett*
Oct. 17 Hardin-Jefferson*
Oct. 24 @ Silsbee*
Oct. 31 Bridge City*
Nov. 7 @ West Orange-Stark*.