Cardinals brace for Stafford in regional semis
Published 9:10 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016
BRIDGE CITY — After plowing through the Bay City Black Cats in the Class 4A Division I Region III area round last week, the red-hot Bridge City Cardinals will look to tame an even tougher beast Friday when they take on the Stafford Spartans in the 4A Division I Region III semifinals at Channelview’s Maddry Stadium at 7 p.m.
This will mark the first time since 2005 that the Cardinals have reached the third round when they fell to the Hutto Hippos 27-10.
The District 10-4A Division I champion Cardinals (9-2) have been on fire, winning seven straight games behind their powerful running game, sparked by an all-senior offensive line and an explosive backfield that brings plenty to the table.
“The kids are so excited to be practicing during Thanksgiving week,” said Cardinal coach Dwayne Dubois. “Most of them barely remember what happened way back in 2005. They want to continue to make their own mark. They were so happy with the win against Bay City but they’ve been bouncing around here ready to go. This group, they’re not satisfied. They’re hungry for more.”
Meanwhile, the Spartans (9-3) have rolled throughout their season as well. The Spartans have actually won 11 games on the field, having to forfeit non-district wins over Calhoun (47-35) and Bellville (42-0) due to an ineligibility issue.
Stafford, runnerups out of District 12-4A, toppled District 9-4A champion Kilgore 27-21 in the area round. The two teams do have a common opponent. Stafford handed Bay City a 29-6 loss in 12-4A play.
“Stafford, they are such a formidable opponent,” said Dubois. “They have so many tremendous athletes.”
Stafford has outscored its opponents 503-149 for the season. There only loss came at the hands of 12-4A champion El Campo 31-20. El Campo (11-1) fell to Henderson in the area round last week.
The Spartans love to spread the ball around, sparked by junior quarterback Walter White.
Stafford averages 390.3 yards a game, 219.1 on the ground and 171.2 in the air.
The Cardinals have already faced two outstanding quarterbacks in Center’s Kyle Parks and Bay City’s Dylan Davidson and were able to make excellent adjustments, especially in second halves, to nail down a pair of big playoff wins.
White has completed 128-of-203 passes for 1,894 yards with 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He has also toted the leather 88 times for 516 yards and 11 scores.
“The quarterback is as solid as they come,” said Dubois. “He’s versatile, can run it and throw it. This will be the third straight week that we will be facing such a tremendous threat. Defensively, we’ve adjusted to it pretty well, especially in the second halves the last couple weeks.”
White has a plethora of receivers to get the ball to. Hazekiah Jones has hauled in 34 receptions for 580 yards and 13 TDs. Jalen Curry (20-364-4) and Desmond Mathis (20-307-6) are threats as well.
The Cardinal defense, which is allowing 333.5 yards a game, will also have to hone in on standout Spartans’ running back James Brown. Brown is certainly a dual threat.
He has rumbled for 1,276 yards and 19 TDs on just 112 carries. He has also caught 26 balls for 396 yards and six TDs. His backfield mate Cameron Montgomery is explosive as well with 711 yards and eight TDs on just 65 carries.
“White is certainly a threat, but so are all the kids around him,” said Dubois. “They have shifty backs and excellent receivers. They’re good up front. We’ve got to do our best to keep those guys in front of us.”
The Spartan defense certainly has a tall chore in front of them as well with the Cardinal running game that features a ton of senior leadership.
Cardinal senior quarterback Byron Trahan has ran a steady ship taking the snaps and has shown he is capable of putting it in the air as well as running it. He passed for 92 yards against Bay City last week.
He definitely has the backs to get the ball to and one of the most powerful offensive lines to set things up.
Bridge City is close to putting three backs over the 1,000-yard mark.
Fullback Cayce Draper bounced back with a big game against Bay City last week after missing the Center game due to a foot injury.
He strolled for 165 yards and three TDs against the Black Cats. He now has 1,175 yards for the campaign. Tailbacks Patrick Morris and Max Baker certainly compliment each other well. Morris has zipped for 1,030 yards while Baker has piled up 874 for an offense that has churned out 411.6 yards per outing, led by a powerful offensive line sparked by Alex Lara, Trace Moore, Joseph Adams, Nick Menard, Zayne Trahan and tight end Chase Boneau.
The Spartans are sparked on defense by linemen Charles Hester and Eric Reid and hard-hitting free safety Jalen Pitre.
“We’ve really been able to move the ball well,” Hopefully that can continue with such an experienced group. We just can’t make mistakes like penalties and turnovers. This is the third round now, you simply can’t afford that. Everyone is here for a reason now. We feel we have a pretty good football team and so does Stafford.”
This won’t be the first meeting between the two squads.
The two played in non-district action in both 2010 and 2011 with the Cardinals coming away victorious 36-0 in 2010 and 37-19 in 2011 as Bridge City advanced to the playoffs both those seasons.
The Bridge City-Stafford winner will move on to face either Henderson (11-1) or Carthage (9-2) in the 4A Division Region III Finals next week.
BC 56, Hamshire-Fannett 15
BC 56, North Forest 12
WO-S 55, BC 0
Newton 38, BC 16
BC 42, Cleveland 3
BC 54, LC-M 28
BC 42, Silsbee 41
BC 49, Navasota 31
BC 56, Huffman 14
BC 35, Center 28
BC 39, Bay City 19
Stafford 33, North Forest 13
Stafford 47, Calhoun 35 (forfeit)
Stafford 42, Bellville 0 (forfeit)
Stafford 51, Navasota 6
Stafford 29, Bay City 6
Stafford 48, Columbia 7
Stafford 39, Needville 15
Stafford 69, Brazosport 8
Stafford 44, Sealy 7
El Campo 31, Stafford 20
Stafford 54, Worthing 0
Stafford 27, Kilgore 21
Stafford 422, Opponents 182