The Orange Leader
It will be a battle of wills between two excellent football programs Friday night when the Vidor Pirates hook up with the Humble Summer Creek Bulldogs at 7 p.m. at Deer Park Stadium in the Class 4A Region III Division I bidistrict playoffs.
Both teams come in with plenty of momentum.
The Bulldogs (10-0) have yet to be defeated this season and captured the District 19-4A crown last week by defeating Dayton 45-7.
The Pirates (9-1), District 20-4A runnerups, are winners of six straight, including a wild 63-42 win on the road at Little Cypress-Mauriceville last week.
The Bulldogs will be a stern test for Coach Jeff Mathews’ Pirates, no doubt about it.
Summer Creek has outscored their opponents 481-115 for the season.
“Summer Creek is a very tough football team, from top to bottom,” said Mathews. “They have so much size and quickness. They’ve really dominated their competition for most of the season. They haven’t been in many close games, so hopefully we can break up that trend. We’re going to have to play, no doubt, our best game of the season.”
The Bulldogs have a tremendously balanced offense, led by left-handed gunslinging quarterback Aaron Sharp, who has helped them produce 441 yards a game.
Sharp has completed 129-of-199 passes for 2,361 yards and has 30 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
“The Sharp kid is a beast,” said Mathews. “He goes about 6-4 and is physical. He can bootleg around and really hurt you. He can throw the deep ball and he really shines throwing it over the middle. It will be the biggest challenge yet for our defensive kids.”
Sharp has three favorite targets in Gregory Holden, Torrey Johnson, and DeQuann Ruffin.
Hogan has hauled in 42 receptions for 840 yards and 14 TDs. Johnson has 30 grabs for 543 yards and nine TDs and Ruffin has 26 catches for 508 yards and four TDs.
The Bulldogs also turn to three running backs.
KeeVon Aldridge has 600 yards and 11 TDs on 69 carries. Demaruis Smith has rumbled for 505 yards and six TDs on 68 carries while Jordan Braden has 451 yards and nine TDs on 72 totes. The Bulldogs will face a Pirate defense that has allowed just 242 yards a game.
“They’re balanced, that’s for sure,” said Mathews. “The thing about them too, is that don’t make many mistakes. They protect the wall well and they don’t turn it over.”
One thing that the Bulldogs haven’t seen is a vaunted running attack that they will see when they face the Pirates. Almost every team in 19-4A runs the spread offense, so the Pirates’ Slot-T could pose a problem.
“I think that can play to our advantage,” said Mathews. “They haven’t seen anything like us and most team don’t run the offense we run as good as us or has a Montana Quirante back there running the show. I know one thing, their defensive line looks like a team from Southeastern Conference. They have some ‘space eaters’ in there, that’s for sure.”
The Pirates will check in with 20-4A’s most prolific offense, one that is averaging 435.3 yards a game of its own, 402.5 of it via the ground game. Perhaps the most stunning stat of them all, the Pirates are averaging
Quirante is certainly the engineer. The smooth senior operator has piled up 1,611 yards and a stunning 30 TDs on 171 carries and has also passed for 328 yards and a TD.
Fullback Justin Moore went over the 1,000-yard mark against LC-M. He now has 1,034 yards and 15 TDs on 109 carries. Tailback Thomas Novak has 516 yards and three TDs on 68 carries.
The two teams have had one common opponents — Port Neches-Groves. The Bulldogs defeated the Indians 54-14 in their second game while the Pirates downed the Indians 49-13 in 20-4A play.
“Summer Creek, no doubt, is going to be a very tough first round opponent,” said Mathews. “Everyone on our side of the bracket is so darn good. You know, to be the best, you’re going to have to beat those kind of teams. We’ve just got to go in there and play our type of game. We’ve got to avoid those turnovers and move the chains and play hard-nosed Vidor football. We believe our kids can do that.”
The Vidor-Summer Creek winner will face either Georgetown or Magnolia West in the area round next week.