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Bears travel for St. Pius battle

LITTLE CYPRESS — Looking to continue the momentum of a two-game winning streak, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Battlin’ Bears will head to Houston Friday to wrap up their non-district schedule against powerful private school Houston St. Pius.

The Bears (2-2) are coming off back-to-back wins against Hardin-Jefferson and Orangefield (in a 43-42 overtime thriller).

Meanwhile, the St. Pius Panthers (5-0) are perfect after last week’s 61-20 romp over Bryan Rudder.

The Bears certainly picked up steam before there bye week last week, especially on offense where they have moved to the spread offense more and it has paid off.

LC-M is averaging 302.3 yards per outing now after piling up 415 yards against Orangefield.

LC-M quarterback Beau Bickham had a great game against Orangefield, passing for 245 yards and three scores.

He has completed 27-of-52 passes for 453 yards for the season.

Tailback Chris Winters leads the Bear ground game with 386 yards on 71 carries after a 96-yard effort against the Bobcats. Fellow backs J’Lon Douglas and Kayne Williams have combined for 230 yards.

Receiver Katon Brown will look to play a factor again after hauling in seven receptions for 161 yards and three TDs against Orangefield.

In the Texas private school football arena, the St. Pius X Panthers are known as heavyweights for whom long playoff runs are a habit.  That habit continued in 2015 as the Panthers rolled into the TAPPS Division I State Semifinals before falling to Dallas Bishop Dunne.  With a strong returning core of starters, Coach Stephen Hill counted on breaking through to the finals and netting the Panthers yet another state championship and they have been rolling.

The Panthers are averaging 594 yards a game behind standout quarterback Grant Gunnell.

Gunnell has completed 112-of-163 passes for a whopping 2,014 yards with 29 TDs and just four interceptions.

Gunnell’s big targets include Bryson Jackson (29-521-8), Jacob Jefferson (25-447-5) and Foster McLaurin (19-417-6).

The Panthers have a feature back in the form of Justin Hill, who has 607 yards and four TDs on 75 totes. Gunnell has rushed for 166 yards and three TDs on 17 carries.

The Bears are allowing just 257.8 yards a game on defense.

Senior defensive end Brady Webb will lead the Panther defensive line which will also include fellow senior defensive end James Wolf and sophomore nose guard Thomathan Good.  Senior middle linebacker Mckamri Bowie will lead the Panther linebackers.  Senior strong safety Ayrton Payne and senior cornerback Josh Murray will team to patrol the St. Pius secondary.

This will be the second meeting ever between the two schools. Little Cypress High School captured a 9-7 victory way back in 1965.

The Bears will crank up District 10-4A Division I play Oct. 7 when they travel to Silsbee to face the Tigers.