It had been many, many moons since Orange County had three high schools qualify for the Texas state football playoffs and even a longer time when there were no teams left going into the second round of those playoffs.

But it happened last weekend as the Bridge City Cardinals, Vidor Pirates and even the West Orange-Stark Mustangs all suffered bi-district round losses and were ousted from the state playoffs.

And it appears as if the same maladies beset each local team—turnovers, porous defenses and weak second-half offenses. And if most of these high school fans also support the Dallas Cowboys, one can throw the Pokes into these categories, too.

West Orange-Stark Mustangs fans normally plan some of their Christmas shopping into their weekends of watching their team in the state playoffs. The Mustangs have gone to the third round for the past few years before getting bounced from the playoffs.

And for the last two years, Coldspring had been the launching pad for their playoff runs. Even the names of the Trojan players were very familiar to those Mustang boosters who follow the ‘Stangs’ annual playoff runs—quarterback Chad Allen, running backs Andrew Leigh and Leonard Arbor and of course Head Coach Bryan Barbay.

But Friday night was much different for the Mustang defense than the previous two years, as if the Trojans used fence cutters to weaken that usually-strong Chain-Link defense that has halted so many opposing offenses throughout the years. Five WO-S turnovers didn’t help matter much, either.

The Mustangs found themselves trailing 25-7 late in the first half and made one of their patented comebacks, going ahead 29-25 with 6:15 left in the game. But Allen led his Trojans on another scoring burst the Mustangs couldn’t overcome and were sent packing 41-36, with Coldspring moving on to meet Rockdale (8-2) this weekend in the second round.

The last time West Orange-Stark lost in the first round of the playoffs was in 2004 when Huffman kicked a field goal as time expired to defeat the Mustangs in the Houston Astrodome.

Bridge City made their first playoff appearance since 2005 and played the Cleveland Indians on fairly equal terms for the first half of their bi-district match-up in Pasadena, trailing 24-17 at the intermission.

But Cleveland made a few vital defensive adjustments in the second half that completely stymied the Cardinals while its offense continued the onslaught, running up nearly 350 yards rushing and adding 100 yards via the airways and went on to a 44-17 victory.

The Redbirds finished their much-improved season with a 7-4 record while the 10-1 Indians move on to meet second-round opponent Caldwell this weekend.

The Vidor Pirates qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2000 when they tied for third place in District 20-4A and met playoff-veteran Dayton Saturday in Huntsville.

But the Pirates (7-4) suffered four turnovers that spelled their demise as the Broncos took advantage of the charity and won the bi-district game 28-14, denying the Pirates their first playoff victory since 1964. Dayton (9-2) moves on to face Waller this weekend in the next round of the state playoffs.

And just when the Dallas Cowboys  go on a four-game winning streak and get a little pep in their step, that old familiar drivel of playoffs and Super Bowl are heard once again from Idiot Owner Jerry Jones, and then Sunday their whole world practically caves in on them.

The Green Bay Packers were in the same boat the Cowboys were four games ago—playing .500 ball and not being able to beat a team with a winning record. Head Coach Mike McCarthy came up with a game plan that would put tremendous pressure on quarterback Tony Romo and cause turmoil and disrupt the Dallas offense.

It worked to perfection as Romo looked as if December had come 15 days early as he fumbled near the Cowboys’ own goal line and threw an interception in the Packers’ end zone.  Roy Williams fumbled while running toward the Green Bay goal line, with the bottom line being the Cowboys had a big, fat zero on the scoreboard midway into the fourth period.

The Cowboys got a superfluous touchdown in the final minutes which prevented them from being shut out for the first time in 94 games when the New England Patriots blanked the Pokes 12-0 on Nov. 16, 2003 when Quincy Carter was the Dallas quarterback. The Packers upped their record to 5-4 with the 17-7 victory.

KWICKIES…Despite a big 47-14 victory over Baylor in a Big 12 football game Saturday, the undefeated (10-0) Texas Longhorns dropped from second place to No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll this week, swapping spots with Alabama which beat Mississippi State 31-3 in the Southeast Conference. Before it’s over the big boys in the Northeast and West Coast will have the Longhorns playing a bowl game against Washington State a week before Christmas.

For the second straight week Las Vegas bettors could have made a killing taking the underdogs and the points in Sunday’s NFL games. Of the 13 games played, nine underdogs would have won with the points, one game (Minnesota-Detroit) would have been a push with three games coming out with the favorite actually winning. Jacksonville, Washington, Cincinnati, Carolina, Kansas City and Green Bay won outright without any points, while St. Louis, Tampa Bay and New England won with the points.

Congrats to the Texas A&M ladies’ basketball team for upsetting No. 6 Duke Sunday 95-77 in their first game of the 2009-10 season. The No. 16 Lady Aggies were led by Danielle Adams’ 24 points she scored in just 22 minutes of playing.

According to New Orleans star running back Reggie Bush, the key to the Saints’ record-breaking offense comes down to simple physics—through mis-direction, deception and play-calling balance, the Saints routinely force linebackers to take one false step, throwing the entire defense off-balance.

JUST BETWEEN US…If the hens quit laying and the cows’ milk runs dry around the East end of Huffman this week, it probably can be blamed on that blaring stupid music played from the Huffman press box an hour before the West Orange-Stark-Coldspring game kicked off. The trip to the bi-district playoff game was frustrating for most Mustang fans from the time they reached the parking lot before the game until the final gun sounded.