Bridge City Cardinals face Bears in 'Cave'
The Bridge City Cardinals are on a roll that could become a streak. Friday night the young Cardinals have a shot at making it three wins straight. The Dist. 20-4A Battlin’’ Bears, however, aren’t likely to be very accommodating.
The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Battlin’ Bears (0-1) under new head coach Randy Crouch lost their season opener last week 24-14 in the ‘Orange Bowl’ against the West Orange-Stark Mustangs. All things considered, it wasn’t a bad showing against the Class 3A state ranked Mustangs under Crouch’s former boss, legendary Dan Hooks.
Crouch is rebuilding the Bears and isn’t accustomed to losing– especially twice against a local 3A opponent. Undoubtably, the Cardinals are facing their toughest opponent this season when they travel to the ‘Bear Cave’ Friday.
But that is just the challenge the boys from Bridge City are up to after running over Kountze 34-11 last week and shocking Liberty 23-15 to open the season.
“We are definitely faced with a challenge,” said Cardinal Head Coach Cris Stump going into this week’s contest against the LC-M Bears. “They scrimmaged some good teams and did pretty well last week against West Orange-Stark.”
“We’re going to have to execute better and stay away from getting so many penalties,” Stump said. The Cardinals collected seven penalties for 65 yards last week against Kountze.
Cardinal sophomore running back Matt Menard was the workhorse for Big Red Friday night accounting for 141-yards rushing and three touchdowns on 18 carries. Menard’s first TD came at the end of a 46 yard drive on the Cardinal’s second possession. Mennard would punched it in from the 5-yard line. He wisely attributed his success to good blocking.
“So far it has been a learning process for our offensive line,” Stump said. Junior lineman Dylan Mullholan is the only returner to the squad. “Most of our linemen are new to the team this season. They are getting better every game.”
The scoring drive had been sustained with the help of quarterback Josh Lemoine who connected with receiver Luke Rhodes for an 11-yard completion. Devin Bertrand nailed the PAT for a first quarter 7-0 lead.
Lemoine put the cap on Bridge City’s next scoring drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jason Broussard early in the second quarter. Bertrands PAT was good.
The best Kountze could muster in the first half against the Cardinal defense was a 29-yard field goal. In the Cardinal secondary Mitchell Hubbard robbed the Lions with a key interception on their final possession of the half.
Hubbard’s interception set up Bridge City’s next score. Lemoine found receiver Cameron Dishon in the end zone for a 28 yard touchdown pass. The PAT failed and the Cardinals went into half time with a 20-3 lead.
“Hubbard’s interception was a big play for us,” Stump said, “Defensively we’re also young and improving. Middle linebacker Jacob Howard and cornerback Colby Carpenter are doing a good job for us.”
Menard barrelled through Kountze defenders like a freight train scoring both second half touchdowns for Big Red. Bertrand’s kicks were good in the eventual 34-11 victory. The Lions’ only second half score came late in the fourth quarter from the one yard line on fourth down.
Friday night the Cardinals will be looking to slow down LC-M junior quarterback Hunter Gonzales who passed for 137-yards against the Mustangs. “He is a good athlete. He throws the ball and moves around well,” Stump said, “Our defense has their work cut out for them.”