It will be the battle for the king of the hill in Dist. 21-3A when the Bridge City Cardinals host the West Orange-Stark Mustangs. Both squads are undefeated in district play and this televised match-up is sure to be one of the best football games of the season.

The state ranked Mustangs pack a lot of punch with ample talent. The ‘Stangs are back on course since the death of senior quarterback Reggie Garrett, Jr. on Sept. 17. Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Salter leads a dynamic offense that is effective with the pass or run. And while the Mustang ‘Chain Gang’ defense is apt to give up a few points they aren’t likely to give up many.

The winner of this contest will likely rule Dist. 21-3A, a championship title the Mustangs are seeking to regain after falling to second place to the Silsbee Tigers last season.

Speaking of the Silsbee Tigers, if you did not make the trip up to Silsbee, you sure missed a dandy ball game. Ultimately, the best part was the Bridge City Cardinals came up on top with a 26-22 win in a very entertaining back and forth battle.

Both teams’ first drives were unproductive as the Tigers turned the ball over on downs, and the Cardinals were forced to punt. Silsbee struck first with an 83 yard drive, ending with a 17 yard TD run by Prentice Lane. The two point conversion was good after a penalty by the Cardinals that allowed a second chance. With 30 seconds left in the first quarter the score was 8-0.

Each team’s next possession ended up in a turnover. Silsbee’s defensive back went up high to make a nice interception on a Matt Menard pass that was just a little short. Silsbee could not hold on to the ball as they fumbled to give the Cards back the ball. Bridge City started their next drive at their 43-yard line. They faced a fourth down play with seven yards to go at the Tigers’ 10-yard line. Menard flung a strike to Cameron Dishon for six points. The kick failed because of a mishap on the snap to holder transition. With 6:12 left in the half, the Cardinals closed the gap 8-6.

Silsbee extended their lead quickly on the next drive as QB Kelson McDaniel hit Lane with a 71- yard bomb. McDaniel ran in the two point conversion to extend the lead to 16-6. The Redbirds responded with a bomb of their own. Menard hit Mitchel Hubbard with a 59-yard pass. The two point try was incomplete, bringing the score to 16-12 with 4:11 left in the half. Silsbee turned the ball over again, giving the Cards the ball back on the Tigers’ 35-yard line. Menard hit Jason Broussard, who made a nice catch, with a 31-yard pass that put the ball inside the five. But that’s where the drive ended with the teams heading in for the break with Silsbee leading 16-12.

The half time show with the Cardinal band, who scored an overall first place at the marching contest Saturday, and will compete in the Regional competition, was entertaining once again. The cheerleaders had the Silsbee cheerleaders involved with the eat-em up crew during the third quarter, which is always fun to watch, and how about those Strutters?

The Cardinals scored first in the third quarter with a 46-yard pass and catch from Menard to Dishon to take the lead with 8:19 left in the frame. Devin Bertrand’s point after made the score 19-16. Silsbee bounced back with a 60-yard drive, to reclaim the lead, capped off with a 12-yard pass from McDaniel to Jarrian Rhone. The two point try failed giving the Tigers a 22-19 lead with 3:24 left in the third quarter. The Cardinals came back and put up a four play impressive drive that gave them the lead back for good. The Cards took over on the Silsbee 30-yard line. Menard hit Tyler Roberts with a 29-yard pass, followed by a 15-yard run from Hunter Clark. Menard then ran for 12-yards. After a personal foul on the Tigers, the Cardinals were in position to easily score. Clark capped it off with a four-yard touchdown run, and a Bertrand point after brought us to what would be the final score of the game, 26-22. The defense flexed its muscles once again by not allowing Silsbee across the goal line. The Cardinals forced three straight punts.

Shane Stankus helped out with two big sacks. With time running out, the Tigers tried three times, needing only a yard for a first down, but were stuffed by the Cardinal defense. Silsbee got the ball back, but they were picked off by Adrian Schubarth to stop yet another drive. Bridge City made it a little nerve racking late in the forth quarter. Menard was trying to get in the end zone when the Tigers stripped the ball giving them one final chance for victory. In desperation, the Tigers tried to lateral the ball but it ended up in Bryson Banks’ hands, which sealed the deal for the Cards.

Menard had 86-yards rushing to go along with 200-yards in the air. Clark had 30-yards on the ground, and Dishon had 15-yards. Hubbard led the receiving group with 59-yards. Dishon had 56-yards, Roberts 47-yards, Broussard 31-yards and Tanner Cervanka had 7-yards receiving.

Bridge City achieved one goal by beating the Silsbee Tiger. The second goal comes Friday against The West Orange-Stark Mustangs. The game will be at Larry Ward Stadium on Saturday with kick off at 6 pm. We need to pack the stands and cheer on the Cardinals. Hope to see you at the game.