The Orange Leader
SOUR LAKE —
After picking up their most vital win to date of the 2013 season, the Orangefield Bobcats will hit the road to Sour Lake Friday night looking for another signature win as they keep high playoff aspirations in District 21-3A.
After belting Hamshire-Fannett 52-14 last week, Orangefield (4-2, 1-1) will visit a much-improved Hardin-Jefferson program this week.
The Hawks (3-2, 0-1) fell to West Orange-Stark 46-6 last week.
The Bobcats used a devastating running attack to chew up H-F last week, amassing 415 yards on the ground.
“We really bounced back well last week and the kids got after it for the entire 48 minutes,” said Bobcat coach Josh Smalley. “We’re proud of them. We’ve been banged up a lot lately but the kids are playing hard. That was a big, big win for us.”
Tailback Carl Wiley had another field day against the Longhorns, gutting them for 257 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just 18 carries.
Wiley can probably taste another 1,000-yard season. He leads 21-3A with 947 yards and has six TDs on 145 carries.
Orangefield quarterback Carmichael Wiley has darted for 378 yards and three TDs on 80 carries while Colby Choate has 189 yards on 26 totes.
The Bobcats are averaging 328.7 yards a game, 309.0 of it via the ground arsenal.
They will tangle with a Hawks defense that leads the district in allowing just 212.8 yards a game. H-J allowed 319 in the loss at WO-S.
“H-J is pretty darn solid defensively,” said Smalley. “They slowed down WO-S’ running game pretty good last week. They’re big and physical and really pursue the football well.”
The Hawks, who run a similar Slot-T offense like Orangefield, held the ball for a little more than 30 minutes last week despite the loss to the Mustangs.
H-J is churning out 252.6 yards per outing, 247.2 of it with their rushing attack.
The Hawks have three backs that the Bobcats will be keying on.
Logan Thompson leads the way with 288 yards and four TDs on 48 carries. Hunter Cooley, who has 262 yards and two TDs on 36 carries, had 83 yards and a TD on 13 carries against the Mustangs. Jared Gieseke also has 204 yards and two TDs on 26 carries.
“The Hawks, like us, do not do anything fancy,” said Smalley. “They keep it on the ground over 90 percent of the time. They have some big kids up front that block very well. They don’t have anyone that completely stands out in their backfield, which is scary because they’re really balanced back there and you don’t know who has the ball.”
The Bobcats held a good H-F offense to 260 yards last week. Dustin Verrett led the Bobcats with 12 tackles and an interception and Choate had eight tackles and two sacks.
The Bobcats squeezed out a 19-14 decision at home against the Hawks last season, gaining 303 of their 312 yards on the ground. H-J had 223 yards in the loss.
The Bobcats will return home next week to host WO-S, which has its bye this week, while the Hawks travel to Buna to face the Cougars.