Zach Cole made an opening statement for the start of the 2011 Bridge City football season. The Cardinal’s middle line backer made the first tackle of the season with a bone crushing, leather popping hit, on the opening kickoff that was heard in both stands.

Cole and the rest of the defense went on to only give up a late field goal, with 5:28 left in the third quarter, for the only points the Shepherd Pirates scored. The Cardinals defense did not give up a first down until the 7:30 mark in the third quarter. There were two fumble recoveries, one by Malachi Busby after a big hit from Keith Youngblood in the first quarter, and one by Dillon Trahan in the second quarter.

The offense was just as impressive! They scored on their first seven processions. Hunter Clark made it 6-0 with a twelve yard run, but the extra point was blocked. The Redbirds made it 12-0 with a 29 yard pass from Matt Menard to Tanner Cervenka, with the extra point being blocked again, with 5:03 left in the first quarter. The Cardinals went up 20-0, still in the first quarter when Cameron Dishon went around the end on a 33 yard run. The two point try was successful with a pass from Menard to Adrian Schubarth.

The first play in the second quarter netted the Cardinals six points with a touchdown pass from Menard to Dishon that covered 55 yards; Daniel Faulk’s point after brought the score to 27-0. With 8:22 left in the half Menard hit Tyler Roberts with a touchdown pass for 35 yards, and Faulk’s PAT made it 34-0. On the next possession, Menard hit Roberts again, this time with a 34 yard strike, bringing the score to 41-0. The last score in the half came after a fumble recovery on a quarterback sneak by Menard. The halftime score was 48-0 after another successful PAT.

The start of the third quarter opened up with a little excitement. Dishon returned the kickoff but received an excess celebration penalty after he front flipped into the end zone. The points were taken off the board, and the Cardinals took over at the fifteen yard line. Menard then threw his only interception of the game, but raced down to make a touchdown saving tackle along the Sheppard sideline. It seemed like the Shepherd coach had some words for Menard, which turn out to be a mistake. After a Cervenka interception, Menard took the next snap and raced 92 yards for a Cardinals score, making the score 55-0 after Faulk’s point after.

The last score of the game came after the Pirates scored their three points. With 5:12 left in the contest, Mitchel Hubbard took the kickoff and raced 90 yards un-touch for the touchdown. Faulk’s extra point brought the game to its final score of 61-3.

Menard led the rushing attack with seven carries for 149 yards. He also had twelve passing attempts, completing seven for 205 yards. Dishon had two carries for 69 yards, Clark had nine carries for 62 yards, and Chris Hunter had four carries for 26 yards. Roberts and Hubbard each had one carry, Roberts for 12 yards and Hubbard for 8 yards. Roberts led in the receiving department, hauling in five passes for 121 yards. Dishon and Cervanka each had one, with Dishon’s going for 55 yards and Cervanka’s for 29 yards.

It was a nice opening win for the Cardinals, but things will only get tougher. A good test will be Saturday as they travel to Vidor to take on the Dist. 20-4A Pirates at 7:30 p.m. It was a great atmosphere at the pep rally. The band cranked it up, the cheerleader’s got the crowd going, and how about those STRUTTERS?