Bridge City picked to win 10-4A DI by DCTF

Published 8:33 am Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The District 10-4A Division I football race should be an interesting one indeed in the upcoming campaign as most teams have a lot of returning players to try to help to get their teams into the postseason.

Last year it was the Bridge City Cardinals who strolled through the district with a perfect 5-0 mark. Including in that run was a dramatic 42-41 victory over the Silsbee Tigers in dramatic fashion that helped clinched the Cardinals the title in Coach Dwayne Dubois second year at the helm.

In the Dave Campbell Texas Football Magazine the Cardinals (9-3 last year) are picked to repeat as champions. The 2016 campaign was certainly one to remember for Redbird fans as the Cardinals advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

Coach Dubois and Co. welcome back 12 starters, nine of them off a defense that made tremendous strides by late in the 2016 campaign. Offensively, the Cardinals will try to find their groove again despite losing District Offensive MVP in running back Cayce Draper and fellow back Patrick Morris, both 1,000-yard rushers along with quarterback Byron Trahan and the loss of all five offensive line starters that had been starting together for three years for the most part.

The Cardinals do return scatback Max Baker, who had nearly 1,000 yards along with standout defensive backs Justyn Romero and Hunter Denton along with linebackers Blake DiChiara, Brennon Tregge and Ethan Hamm and linemen Stetson Wilson and Zeke Mendez. Fullback/linebacker Andy Lara should give the Cardinals a boost after seeing some nice playing time as a freshman.

Silsbee (6-5) is picked second and cupboard is far from bare for second-year Tiger coach Randy Smith as the Tigers return six starters on offense and seven on defense. They still have dangerous weapons in 4A state 100 and 200-meter champion in receiver Kalon Barnes along with backs Adonis Thomas and Aaron Sells.

The Navasota Rattlers slipped to a 2-9 record but still squeezed into the fourth-place playoff berth. What a fall it was for the Rattlers in Coach Patrick Goodman’s first year after replacing Lee Fedora. They returned 10 starters last year from a team that had reached the regional semifinals the year before but struggled mightily. Navasota captured state titles in 2012 and 2014. The Rattlers had won at least nine games a season from 2007 to 2015.

The Rattlers are tabbed to finish third as they look for a bounce back with 13 starters returning, seven on offense and six on defense.

The Huffman Hargrave Falcons ( 4-6) are predicted to finish fourth after failing to make the postseason last year despite have 17 starters that returned.

They return 12 starters, including 1,300-yard rusher Camron McMahan and quarterback Brody Logsdon, who missed the better part of 10-4A play last year with a broken leg.

The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Battlin’ Bears (5-6) will look to make the postseason for the fourth time in the past five years after nabbing the third-place berth last season. LC-M will be seeking its first playoff win since 1997.

The Bears could certainly be playing with a chip on their shoulders by being picked fifth this season.

Coach Randy Crouch will see the return of five starters on both sides of the ball and will have three stout offensive weapons back in versatile back Chris Winters, receiver Katon Brown and fullback J’Lon Douglas, who is “rough-and-tumble” on both sides of the ball after being named the district Defensive MVP at linebacker last season.

The Cleveland Indians are picked to come in sixth. The Indians (4-6) captured four of their five non-district games but struggled in 10-4A play, going winless.

The Indians return 10 starters, six of them on defense.

The Cardinals are ranked No.19 overall in Class 4A Division II by Texas Football while Silsbee is No. 20.

Eight teams in 4A Division II region III are in the top 20 including defending state champion Carthage (13-2) at No. 1, Henderson (11-2) at No.9, Kilgore (7-5) at No. 10, Stafford (9-5), which defeated Bridge City in the regional semifinals last year at No. 12.El Campo (11-1) is at No. 14 and Bay City (7-5), who Bridge City defeated in the area round, is at No. 16.