(Orange, Texas)

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September 14, 2013

Cardinals cruise past Kelly, 31-7

BRIDGE CITY — Any time a football team loses its starting quarterback, one would expect at least a bit of agitation and concern. Not in Bridge City.

Junior starter Chase Shugart left Friday night’s game against Kelly after a tackle at the end of a 32-yard run that put the Cards at the Kelly 24 yard line. Freshman replacement Byron Trahan came in and didn’t miss a beat, helping lead the Cardinals to their first win of the 2013 season by a score of 31-7.

BC, now 1-2 for the season heading into an open week next Friday, saw Trahan enter the game late in the first half with the Cards already up 14-7 under Shugart’s leadership. On Trahan’s first snap from center, he took a hit from Kelly’s front-line defense, holding him to a zero-gainer.

On the next play, though, the freshman stepped up to hit Keaton Langston for 24 yards on a pretty pass play that upped the Cardinals’ lead to 21-7 heading into the break.

“Shugart hurt his shoulder last week against Vidor but he was good to go to start tonight,” Cardinals Coach Cris Stump said. “On that long run, he fell on it and it kind of shocked it. It was better than it was last week but we decided to go with the plan we originally had Monday and that was to go with the freshman.”

The touchdown was Trahan’s one pass completion of the game, although he added 31 yards on five carries through the second half of play.

“Credit the whole team because your starting quarterback goes out and here comes a freshman and it wasn’t ‘oh no’ … after he threw that touchdown, the whole bench went crazy,” Stump said. “You throw a freshman into a varsity football game on the 20 yard line, let him get hit once and then he throws a touchdown. He’s going to be a good one. We’re excited about him and what he brings to the team.”

Before leaving the game, Shugart completed 5 of 10 passes for 68 yards, including one hookup with Keaton Langston for 29 yards and the Cardinals’ first TD of the night.

“Up front, I’m going to give the offensive line a lot of credit. We were never rushed on a pass, we didn’t give up a sack,” Stump said.

The Cardinals, up 7-0 on the Shugart-Langston TD, forced Kelly to turn the ball over on downs on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the game. The Cards took their next opportunity to drive the ball 51 yards in seven plays for a 14-0 lead as Jonah Lemoine crossed from 2 yards out. Lemoine, the tough little senior back, finished with a game-best 86 yards on 18 carries.

Kelly turned the ball over on downs again on its next possession but Bridge City was unable to capitalize and was forced to punt, giving the Bulldogs possession at their own 30.

The Bulldogs then moved 70 yards in 12 plays, keyed by a strong rushing performance by quarterback Allonte Wingate. The junior signal caller ran 21 yards for the touchdown with 1:24 left in the first half to cut BC’s lead to 14-7. Wingate finished the game with 66 yards passing on eight completions while also running for a team-best 54 yards on 10 carries.

Play a bit of tit-for-tat, it took just 1:05 for the Cards to move 65 yards on their  next possession, with Trahan coming on for his aerial heroics to put BC out front 21-7 with 19 seconds left in the half.

“Our defense did a great job,” Stump said. “Kelly caught us once, their quarterback can run, but we made some adjustments and we shut them down.”

In the second half, Kelly was forced to punt twice, turned the ball over on downs once and Kolten Bergeron grabbed an interception to end another Bulldog possession.

At the same time, the Cardinals scored on a 38-yard field goal by Findlay and a 1-yard run by Jhett Simmons, both coming in the fourth quarter as BC took the critical Week 2 victory.

“If we don’t win, it’s a long open week,” Stump said. “This gives us a lot of momentum. Our guys are excited and it helps a lot.”

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