Tommy Mann Jr.

For The Record

Even with a less than perfect showing, the Bridge City Cardinals took care of business Friday night and came away with a victory in its home opener for the season.

The Bridge City Cardinals used its potent rushing attack to muzzle the Houston North Forest Bulldogs 56-12 on Friday night at Larry Ward Stadium in Bridge City. The Cardinals had 515 total yards on the night compared to the Bulldogs 211.

North Forest (0-2) received the opening kick-off, but the Cardinals defense quickly set the tone by putting the Bulldogs back on the sideline following the first of several three-and-out series.

Following the punt, the Cardinals began its first drive of the night at the Bulldogs 45-yard line. The drive was plagued by numerous penalties on both teams, but Bridge City tailback Patrick Morris punched it on a 13-yard jaunt to put the Cardinals up 6-0 following a failed extra-point attempt.

Another three-and-out by the Bulldogs and a punt gave the Cardinals the ball at mid-field. Instead of chewing up the clock on this drive, Bridge City only needed two plays to put the ball in the end zone as Morris (9 rushes, 137 yards) darted through the Bulldogs defense for a 44-yard score. Max Baker added the two-point conversion and the Cardinals were on top 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

On its first drive of the second quarter, North Forest quarterback Rashand Jones gave the Bulldogs some breathing room with a 21 scamper to the team’s own 36 yard-line. Following a two-yard loss, Jones dropped back to pass and found receiver Demond Demas a step behind the Cardinals defense for a 66-yard score and put the Bulldogs right back in the contest, 14-7.

The turning point of the game proved to be the next drive for the Cardinals as the Bridge City offense did what it does best, which is chew up the clock, move the ball and wear down opposing defenses. Bridge City moved the ball 70 yards in approximately four minutes as Max Baker capped the drive with a five-yard score to extend the lead to 21-7. The Cardinals never looked back.

Another three plays and another punt by North Forest, led to another Bridge City scoring drive as Hunter Denton outran the Bulldogs defense to the end zone on a 34-yard run with 3:59 to play in the half.

As if that wasn’t enough, North Forest could not move the ball and the punt only netted 13 yards to give the Cardinals the ball at the Bulldogs 36-yard line with 1:41 left in the second quarter.

Faced with second and seven at the 33 yard line, Bridge City quarterback Byron Trahan faked a hand-off to his right, rolled left and found receiver Seth Martin open near the left sideline for a   touchdown on the Cardinals only pass attempt of the night and a 35-6 lead at the half.

Baker added his second touchdown of the night with a 70 yard gallop around the right end and found the end zone after two missed tackles by Bulldogs defenders with 10:51 left in the third quarter.

North Forest responded with its best sustained drive of the night as the Bulldogs marched 83 yards in nearly five-and-half minutes. Jones rolled to his left and found tight end Aleric Manuel for a 11-yard scoring pass. Following the failed two point conversion, the Cardinals led 42-12.

Bridge City sealed the game as fullback Andy Lara zipped through the heart of the Bulldogs defense for a 70-yard run up the middle.

Lara, who added a 19-yard run at the start of the fourth quarter to close out the scoring, received some ample playing time and valuable experience as he filled in for starting fullback Cayce Draper, who missed practice all week due to a case of strep throat.

Despite putting up 56 points for the second consecutive week, Coach Dwayne DuBois still believes his Cardinals have room to improve.

“The kids gave a great effort,” DuBois said following the game. “The defense played great and the offense controlled the line of scrimmage, but we just need to put it all together for four full quarters.

“We need to clean up a few things before our game next week,” he continued. “This needs to be our best week of practice, and we shouldn’t have any problem being focused.”

That is because the Cardinals (2-0) will be hosting the defending Class 4A Division II State Champions, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs, next Friday.

The Mustangs (2-0) look to be in mid-season form already as WO-S defeated Nederland, 42-0, in Week 1, and LC-M, 45-0, on Friday.

“West Orange-Stark is one of the best coached teams in the state of Texas, all the way from the top with Coach (Cornel) Thompson to the rest of the coaching staff,” Dubois added. “We all know what they can do and what they have accomplished. They have one of the best offenses in the area and their defense is definitely the best. So our focus should be much sharper this week in practice.”

Bridge City 56, North Forest 12

NF   0    6     6     0     12

BC  14  21   14    7     56

Scoring Summary

BC – Patrick Morris 13 run, kick failed (7:06)

BC – Morris 44 run, Max Baker run (5:24)

NF – Demond Demas 66 pass from Rashand Jones, kick failed (10:20)

BC – Baker 5 run, Alredo Heraldez kick (6:31)

BC – Hunter Denton 34 run, Heraldez kick (3:59)

BC – Set Martin 33 pass from Byron Trahan, Heraldez kick (1:04)

BC – Baker 70 run, Heraldez kick (10:51)

NF – Aleric Manuel 11 pass from Jones, run failed (5:27)

BC – Andy Lara 71 run, Heraldez kick (4:32)

BC – Lara 19 yard run, Heraldez kick (11:00)

                                 NF            BC

First Downs              10             22

Rushes-yards        26-84       47-482

Passing yards          127           33

Comp-Att-Int          7-14-1        1-1-0

Fumbles-lost            1-0            3-0

Penalties                10-89        7-45

Individual Stats

Rushes: North Forest – Rashand Jones, 14-53; Antonio Davis, 9-36; Damond Wiggins, 3-(-5); Bridge City – Patrick Morris, 9-171; Andy Lara, 8-121; Max Baker, 5-97; Hunter Denton, 2-57; Ethan Hamm, 6-34; Byron Trahan, 9-9; Alredo Heraldez, 1-1; Noah Cormier, 2-(-3); Case Skinner, 4-(-5)

Passing: North Forest – Rashand Jones, 7-14-1 127; Bridge City – Byron Trahan, 1-1-0 33;

Receiving: North Forest – Demond Demas, 3-81; Jacoby Smith, 3-35; Aleric Manuel, 1-11; Bridge City – Seth Martin, 1-33;