The Orange Leader
BRIDGE CITY —
Bridge City will bring a young team to the table Friday night when the Cardinals open the season against Class 2A No. 1 state-ranked Newton at Larry Ward Stadium.
Coach Cris Stump will look to lead the Cardinals into the playoffs for the fifth straight year and the Redbirds have another stiff non-district schedule to help them prepare for District 21-3A.
The Cardinals improved from their first scrimmage at Lumberton to their second scrimmage with Woodville.
Chase Shugart, a all-district safety last year, has been impressive early on with his mobility at quarterback. Jonah Lemoine has produced well at tailback while Thomas Findley will once again be scoring points at kicker with a nice leg.
Defensively the Cardinals are led by all-district defensive end Josh Henry and defensive tackle Jordan Schamber.
Newton Coach W.T. Johnson will have 15 starters back off a squad that went 13-1 and advanced to the state semifinals.
Two 1,000-yard backs return in the forms of Kevin Shorter, who had 1,810 yards and 31 touchdowns and Brandon Johnson, who had 1,250 yards and 17 TDs.
On defense, the Eagles return all-district picks linebackers Anthony Hadnot (119 tackles, 12 sacks) and Chedrick Hanks (81 tackles, four sacks).
The Eagles took down the Cardinals 35-12 last season. They led 28-12 at the half as the Cardinal defense stiffened in the second half.
Newton finished with 324 total yards. Shorter had 104 yards on 11 carries, scoring on a 48-yard run and a 26-yarder and caught a TD pass that went for 60 yards.
The Cardinals finished with 195 total yards.
Newton went on to dominate District 10-2A Division I, going a perfect 7-0. They dominated three straight playoff opponents, scoring 199 points in three games. The Eagles eventually fell to state champion Cameron Yoe 39-22 in the semifinals.
Bridge City went on to a solid third-place finish in District 21-3A, finishing 5-6 overall and 4-2 in 21-3A play before falling to a powerful Coldspring team again in the bidistrict round of the postseason.
The Cardinals will visit the Vidor Pirates next week.