The Orange Leader
It’s been a decade in the waiting but the Orangefield Bobcats will get to do what the program has not done since 2003 — and that’s making the postseason.
The Bobcats (6-4, 3-3) captured their playoff berth by dismantling Orange County rival Bridge City 35-14 last Friday to capture the Bayou Bowl.
Now the Bobcats have much bigger fish to fry when they take on District 22-3A champion and annual Class 3A playoff power in the form of the Coldspring Trojans (8-1, 6-0).
The two squads will duke it out Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Huffman High School in the Class 3A Region III Division II playoffs.
“The kids are excited, the community is excited,” said Bobcat head coach Josh Smalley. “It’s been a long time coming. We can’t wait until Friday gets here, that’s for sure.”
The Trojans knocked out Bridge City in the same round the last three seasons. Coldspring’s only loss this season was 24-0 to 2012 3A Division II state champion Navasota in non-district.
“It’s the same old Coldspring, they’re big, physical and very athletic,” said Smalley. “ Coach (Bryan) Barbay has done an excellent job with that program. They’re in the playoffs year-in and year-out and they’re used to making long runs in the playoffs. They definitely have the experience on us as far as the playoffs go. But we plan on getting on the bus and playing our tails off.”
Standing at 1-3 in 21-3A play two weeks ago, the Bobcats bulldozed their way into the postseason after big wins over Buna and Bridge City.
“The kids went out and performed and got things done because they knew they had to do it and they got it done and we couldn’t be prouder of them,” said Smalley. “They believe if they play well, they can play with anybody.”
The Bobcats piled up 484 total yards in the win against the Cardinals last week, including 448 on the ground.
Orangefield is averaging 354.7 yards a contest and will face a Trojan defense that has allowed just 148 points for the season.
Coldspring has outscored opponents 336-148 on the season, including 273-88 in six 22-3A tilts.
The Bobcats will have a chance to match wits with former Orangefield head coach Blake Morrison, who is the Trojans’ defensive coordinator.
“Coach Morrison has done a fine job with their defense the last several years,” said Smalley. “It was fun working for him when he was here. We went up against him and that defense when I was an assistant at Bridge City a couple years back. They’re fast and fly to the football.”
Orangefield will turn to their fierce running attack, led by a veteran offensive line and the duo of Carl Wiley and Carmichael Wiley in the backfield.
Carl Wiley won the 21-3A rushing title this year by 330 yards. He currently has 1,555 yards and eight touchdowns on 220 carries.
Carmichael Wiley has darted for 765 yards and seven TDs on 130 carries. He has completed 15-of-32 passes for 268 yards to go along with four TDs and four picks. He threw two TDs in the win over the Cardinals.
Coldspring will check in with the same style of offense as the Bobcats.
The Trojans have churned out 404.7 yards per game, 369.6 of it via the ground game.
Coldspring has an assortment of weapons to go to.
Their running game is paced by Patrick Giddens, who has 898 yards and 13 TDs on 105 carries.
Douglas Johnson is averaging over 14 yards a carry with breakaway speed and has 649 yards and 10 TDs on just 46 carries.
Other backs the Trojans lean on include Drevion Cooper (63-427-2), Edward Hayes (37-296-3) and Alec Dunham (32-265-1).
Quarterback Kaleb Morrison, son of Blake Morrison, has completed 18-of-48 passes for 254 yards and three TDs with two picks. He doesn’t run much, rushing for 24 total yards, but does has four QB sneaks for scores.
Coldspring will face a Bobcat defense that has allowed 288.3 yards a contest. Orangefield held Bridge City to 264 yards last week and forced four turnovers.
“Offensively, they love to run the ball too and they like to line up in a lot of formations doing it,” said Smalley. “We’ve just got to keep them in front of us as much as possible and not give up the big play.”
The winner between the Bobcats and Trojans will face either LaMarque or Houston Kashmere in the area round next week.