By David Ivy
Back in August, the Cardinal football players and coaches promised excitement. Without a doubt they delivered. Their win Friday night made them a .500 team, winning half of the games they played.
They endured a season abbreviated by Hurricanes Eduard, Gustav and Ike. Practiced and played even as their homes were being gutted and their belongings hauled to the street to be picked up and carried away. They never lost hope, never gave up and never quit playing with all their hearts, bodies and spirits. Holes in the line up caused by evacuation and injury were filled with talented younger players and the team marched on, winning the Bayou Bowl and reclaiming the Buzzy Gunn Trophy for another year.
The senior players were recognized before the game. In their last pep rally of the year the seniors passed the microphone down the line and took turns commenting on the game. Comments ranged from guttural screams to predictions of victory. A comment by a senior lineman that for most of them this would be their last time to suit up and take the field as a team, brought tears to a few eyes. The players last post game rally in front of the stands brought a few more. In May we will watch these young men graduate and begin their journeys into life. Their experiences on the field of competition, their sense of team work and the lessons taught by Coach Stump and his staff will serve them well.
Friday nights game started with a bang as the Cardinals first play from scrimmage was a double reverse with a pass from the full back , Luke Rhodes, for a touchdown. That play had the crowd wondering “where has that been all year”. The Longhorns answered with a touchdown of their own, but the Cardinals would score four more before the half. Freshman Matt Menard and Sophomore Josh Lemoine would carry in 2 each.
The Cardinals returned tot he field after the half time show with a 28 point lead. Whatever the Longhorn coach told his team in the locker room got them fired up because they immediately came out and ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, kicked off to Bridge City, recovered a high snap fumble and carry it in for another 6 points. Things got a little loose for the Cards. Coach Stump commented that “ these boys have never gone into the second half with a 28 point lead, they didn’t know how to react.”
They calmed down and scored again as Menard scored form one yard out. The Longhorns would score again but it would not be enough to over come the Cardinal lead. A blocked extra point was run back by Zack Heinze and the fan thought another 6 would go up on the scoreboard, but the Cardinals would score only one point. Who knew?
Menard lead the Cardinals in rushing with 22 carries for 139 yards, Lemoine carried the ball 11 times for 103 yards and Cameron Dishon got the call once for 8 yards. Lemoine also completed 5 of 11 passes for 73 yards. on the receiving end were Jerry Landry 2 for 91 yards, Menard 1 for 26, Rhodes 2 for 9 and Michael Coleman 1 for 8.
Defensively Heinze intercepted two passes along with the blocked kick.
Another season has come and gone and from the looks of this team, Cardinal fans have a lot to look forward to next year.