In the heat of early August the Bridge City Cardinals hit the practice field with renewed enthusiasm this week.

“They feel like they have something to prove,” assistant football coach James Johnson commented as practice began. After three consecutive playoff runs the 2012 Cardinals are in the hunt for a fourth trip into the post season under Head Coach Cris Stump.

Joining the Cardinals in the quest is new offensive coordinator Gary Brewton. Brewton replaces Josh Smalley who became the new athletic director and head coach of the Orangefield Bobcats. Brewton comes to Bridge City from Ozen High School where he was offensive coordinator and quarterback coach the past three years. Brewton engineered one of the most explosive offenses in Dist. 20-4A last season averaging 350 yards and 28 points per game. Ozen scored over 60 points twice last season in the longest playoff run in school history.

“I am really excited to come to a community school like Bridge City,” says Brewton.  “I am very familiar with the program and Coach Stump. This is a great opportunity for me and I cannot wait to get started.”

Brewton has been a varsity football coach for 15 years and has been coordinating the past 4 years. He lists several NFL coaches including Larry Kennan, Dave Cully, Adam Henry and Tony Marciano as major influences in his philosophies.

As practices begin this week Brewton was working with quarterbacks Daniel Faulk and Chase Suggart to fill the position vacated by Matt Menard who was graduated last year. Other specialty position players were also graduated last year, receivers Cameron Dishon and Mitchell Hubbard will be missed but not irreplaceable. Receiver and defensive back Tanner Cervanka will be back in the lineup this season The strength of the 2012 Cardinals will be in a solid defense and one of the most powerful offensive lines in Dist. 21-3A.

Brewton has been a featured lecturer for the coaches Choice DVD Series and is frequently seen on campuses of other high school and collegiate programs to hone his skills.

Returners for the Cardinals include Jordan Schamber, Caleb Spruell, Keaton Langston, Tanner Cervanka, Zack Cole, Jacob Scales, Ashton Hunter and Josh Henry among others.

The Cardinals will take on Lumberton as scrimmages begin on August 17. The Cardinals open their season on the road against the Newton Eagles on August 31.

Photo: New offensive coordinator for the Bridge City Cardinals, Gary Brewton, works with incoming quarterback Daniel Faulk during practice this week. RECORD PHOTO: Mark Dunn