Bobcats forced to risk Bayou Bowl victory
Coach Brian Huckabay was put in a predicament last Friday night that no coach should have to face for his team. In the final seconds of Bowl XI he was forced to risk a secure 28-26 victory and gamble it on trying to score three more points to make the playoffs.
With less than 30 seconds left in the game the Bridge City Cardinals (7-3, 3-2) turned the ball over on the Bobcat 31-yard line. The game should have ended there. On any other night the Orangefield Bobcats (7-3, 3-2) would have just let the clock run out while the Bayou Bowl celebration began.
But on Friday night they couldn’t.
Instead, time ran out in Bayou Bowl XI with the Bobcats risking a coveted district win to get within field goal range against an opponent desperate to get the ball back. Because of a bizarre point system Huckabay didn’t have much choice in his predicament. For the Orangefield seniors and hope of making the playoffs, however, it all ended there.
The result was a bittersweet Bayou Bowl victory for the Orangefield Bobcats who missed the playoffs because they hadn’t defeated Bridge City bad enough.
“In my 29 years coaching I have never seen anything like this happen,” Huckabay said. “We won the game and had to chance losing it to make the playoffs. I don’t agree with the point system.” Few local football fans are aware of the point system much less understand it.
The Cardinals, who have historically prevailed in the Bayou Bowl, silently filed back to the locker room after the game. Meanwhile, at midfield, a somber Orangefield Bobcat team posed for photos with the Buzzie Gunn Trophy. They carried it with them to the bus but there was little celebration.
By Monday things were better. With the Buzzie Gunn Trophy safely back at Orangefield High School the reality of the victory was being celebrated. The Orangefield Bobcats had defeated the Bridge City Cardinals 28-26 in Bayou Bowl XI. They went in as underdogs and took the trophy home with them.
If there were a Bayou Bowl MVP it would go to Orangefield senior quarterback Quinton Evans. Evans rushed for 141 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown. He also played defense and intercepted two Cardinal passes.
The Orangefield defense forced five turnovers in Bayou Bowl XI. Along with Evan’s two interceptions, Josh Shores also intercepted and Bridge City lost the ball twice to fumbles. Bobcat defensive back Logan Moss forced one fumble and Jeromey Watkins the other.
The Cardinals advance to play Coldsping in Huffman in the bi-district round of the playoffs on Friday.
Orangefield scored on the opening drive of the Bayou Bowl when Casey Raley crossed the goal from the two yard line. Freshman kicker Westin Crain’s PAT was good and the Bobcats led 7-0 with 6:11 left in the first quarter.
The Bobcats scored again early in the second quarter when Ty Johnson scampered 32-yards for the TD. Crain’s kick split the crossbars as Orangefield went up 14-0.
With 7:34 left in the half Bridge City quarterback Matt Menard hit wide receiver Jason Broussard for a 39-yard touchdown pass. Bobcat defensive end Logan Moss blocked the PAT and the Cardinal left the field behind 14-6.
Orangefield scored again on their next possession on a drive that ended when Quinton Evans run it in from the five yard line. Crains kick made it 21-6.
Bridge City battled back with 1:12 left in the half. Menard rambled five yards to score for Bridge City; closing the gap to 21-20 after Bertrand’s PAT.
The Bobcats scored first after intermission on a drive courtesy of an interception by linebacker Josh Shores. The drive was capped off when Evan Guidry punched it in from the one yard line with 6:03 on the clock in the third quarter, 28-20.
With 7:02 left in the game Cardinal running back Cameron Dishon sped 64-yards for a touchdown. Bridge City tried to tie the game, but the two point conversion failed leaving the score at 28-26.
In the final seconds of the Bayou Bowl the Bobcats gained possession and cruised to near mid-field as Jacob Nunez came in as quarterback and went to the air. It was a valiant attempt but time ran out and the annual get-together came to an end.
For the season Bobcat quarterback Quinton Evans, who spent the previous two games sidelined by an injury, racked up 1,152 yards rushing on 163 carries that included 11 touchdowns. Running back Evan Guidry scored 14 touchdowns on 644 yards on 137 carries. Ty Johnson cranked out 411 yards on 40 carries and two touchdowns. The Orangefield offense rolled up 3414 yards rushing and 38 touchdowns.
Defensively the Bobocats were led by linebacker Josh Shores who compiled 73 tackles for the season. Also at the top of the tackling chart were Eric Truncale with 59, Rylan Cook with 57 and Logan Moss with 44.