Big Red is Bigger and Better, Eager to launch Season
For the Record
Bridge City Cardinal Head Coach Cris Stump introduced the 2008 football team Monday night at Larry Ward Stadium. “Meet the Cardinals,” he said, “They basically are the same guys we had last year, they just look different- we had to get bigger jerseys.”
The Cardinals return eight offensive and eight defensive starters. In 2007 the Cardinals fielded just three seniors in starting positions, this year’s squad boasts 16. The team has had a full off-season under Coach Stump and the improved size and condition of the players is remarkable. The coaches are all proud of the improvements the boys have made and the hard work everyone has put in.
Coach Kevin Jones was quick to point out, “This year we look like a football team and not a cross-country team.” The results of a strong off season program were beginning to show in the scrimmages this past week.
Based on the two scrimmages that the Cardinals have played, win or lose, this years’ season will be exciting. Gone are the “three up the middle and punt days.” The aerial game, boasting 10 receivers on the roster presented by Coach Stump and offensive coordinator Josh Smalley, will keep even the casual fans on the edge of their seats. This year the stands should be as full in the second half as they were when the game started. Quaterbacks Josh Lemoine and Dustin Breaux will pose a dual threat under center. Also back in the BC backfield is powerful running back Joe Robertson. Last year Robertson rushed for 828 yards and 5 touchdowns on 200 carries.
The Cardinals have the athletes in the right positions and should see a huge improvement this year.
Equally impressive is the improvement in the defensive play. At the end of each play during the scrimmages, the ball was surrounded by eleven Cardinals. Everyone goes to the ball. Defensive co-ordinator Rob Caraway has brought something to the table that Cardinals fans have not seen is a long time; players that know how to hit hard, wrap up, and tackle. The defense that allowed an average of 54 points per game last year is gone. This defense will be able to preserve any lead that the offense gains.
Going into this season it is apparent that the players have gained in strength and size. You have to look closer to see the determination and fire that has been building in them since last years’ painful string of losses. These young men do not want nor will they allow themselves to be handed another losing season. One of the players pointed out a letter on the bulletin board from Kansas Jayhawks Coach Mark Mangino that has “been there forever.” Mangino paraphrases a Henry Ford quote: “Those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t are both right.” Regardless of the origin of the quote, the Cardinals believe they can.
Friday night will find the Cardinals in Liberty facing the Panthers. This game has become somewhat of a tradition for Bridge City and is always a good game. Turn overs robbed the Cardinals of victory in Liberty last season, do not look for a repeat this year. This will be a hard fought game with the Cardinals out to prove they are not last years’ team. The first game of the season is always exciting and up for grabs and Liberty has some proving of their on to do.