The Orange Leader
While the Orangefield Bobcats are seeking their first playoff berth since 2003, the East Chambers Bucaneers are accustomed to joining the postseason party.
Both will take that first quest Friday when the Bobcats welcome the Bucs to town.
The Bobcats and Coach Josh Smalley will look to make a statement this time out as 15 starters return off last year’s 4-6 unit that barely missed the playoffs. Several of those players started on both sides of the ball and will likely do it once again in 2013.
Offensively, the Bobcats churned out over 310 yards a game last season with their vaunted Slot-T offense, led by the tremendous ability of tailback Carl Wiley, who was Second Team All-District.
Wiley, one of the most hard-nosed, tough runners in Southeast Texas is back in the mix after rushing for 1,074 yards and 12 touchdowns on 168 carries.
Wiley is also valuable in the return game and plays on defense as well.
Both Carmichael Wiley and Matthew Kress have looked solid at quarterback after two scrimmages.
Defense, which was a sore spot for a Bobcat team that allowed 355 yards a game, has been extremely impressive in two scrimmages against Class 4A units Vidor and Little Cypress-Mauriceville.
Coach Russ Sutherland welcomes back 11 starters, seven on offense, off a East Chambers unit that went 9-3 and advanced to the Class 2A Division I area round.
Quarterback Brandon Johnson returns after passing for 1,249 yards and six TDs and 200 yards and four TDs on the ground.
Defensively, the Bucs return all-district picks in linebacker Cody Casey (148 tackles) and defensive back Jarrod Guillory (79 stops, three interceptions).
East Chambers nipped the Bobcats 36-28 last year behind the effort of running back Glenn Roberts, who had 218 yards on 17 carries.
Despite the loss, the Bobcats outgained the Bucs 398-390 with all the Bobcat yardage coming via the ground attack.
The Bobcats will play host to Jasper next week.