It’s the final week of the regular season for our local area football teams, and it always seems to come down to match-ups that are interesting and meaningful to anyone who is paying attention. The playoff picture is almost all the way in focus. We’ve seen some dominate, some stumble and some get back up off of the mat to keep themselves in the fight. Post-season lives are at stake as we come around the final turn.

The West Orange-Stark Mustangs (9-0, 5-0) have been the standard bearer for excellence all year long. Last week, Coach Thompson and the crew hosted and defeated the Bridge City Cardinals 46-0. It was another signature win for the Mustangs as they posted another shut-out to remain undefeated. Jimmy Salter came through once again on offense, accounting for three scores alone. The real story was the infamous “Chain-Gang Defense,” completely shutting down the Cardinal offense. The Mustangs are already a lock for the post-season slot, so they’ll be playing for pride and perfection when they hit the road this Friday at 7:00 p.m. against Silsbee. Wouldn’t you know it, Silsbee actually has a good chance of winning and have played solid all year. WOS definitely wants to carry their momentum into the playoffs, and Silsbee is the only one left who can create a mark on the Mustang’s impressive record.

Coming off a bad 46-0 loss on the road at WOS, the Bridge City Cardinals (4-5, 3-2) are going to need to have amnesia if they want to stay alive in the hunt moving forward. The offense wasn’t able to execute like they had in previous weeks, but it was all due to the swarming defense employed by a historically stingy Mustang defense. The Cardinals still have a chance to play later on, but you know there’s got to be a catch. The Cards are hosting the Orangefield Bobcats in the “Bayou Bowl” this Friday at 7 p.m.

This is where the plot thickens. Last week, Coach Smalley lead the team to a predictable win versus Buna. The OrangeField Bobcats (4-5, 2-3) can play the spoiler for the Cardinals if they beat them in the head-to-head game this Friday. A win would make them even record-wise, district and non-district, and would naturally give them the tie-breaker if a slot would be available. The “Bayou Bowl” has produced numerous classic games with triumph, heartbreak and all the bells and whistles for everyone who has tracked it through the years. Its fitting that these two rivals square off like this. You get a chance to see who wants it more, and that doesn’t mean you’ll win either. The game is at Bridge City at 7 p.m.

The Little Cypress-Mauricevile Bears (4-5, 3-3) took a loss against Central 44-28 last week. This pretty much shuts the door on their post-season chances. They host the Vidor Pirates (8-1, 5-1) this week and the forecast isn’t good. Coach Matthews and the Pirates have been dominating all year, and their methodical running attack won’t be stopped come game-time. The game is this Friday at 7:30 p.m. and though the Pirates are already a lock for the playoffs, both teams will undoubtedly play hard and to the victor goes the glory.

LCM receiver Casey Viator catches a 31 yard touchdown pass from Shae Richards against the Central Jaguars.  Viator had 6 catches for 88 yards receiving on the night. RECORD PHOTO: Ty Manuel.