Orangefield to welcome in formidable Diboll

Published 9:09 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

ORANGEFIELD — Wanting to close out a short non-district season in style, the Orangefield Bobcats will welcome in a formidable opponent in the forms of the Diboll Lumberjacks Friday night.

The Bobcats (1-1) snared their first win of the season last week, going on the road to defeat the Beaumont Kelly Bulldogs 32-26.

Orangefield is steadily getting back in the groove after Hurricane Harvey decimated the school district as Coach Josh Smalley is seeing his young team get back in shape.

“It’s been a slow process for sure but the kids have really been working hard,” said Smalley. “There should be a little more normalcy this week for them because it looks like we’re getting back into our fieldhouse in a couple days.”

Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks (3-1) have already eclipsed their win total from last year. They made the playoffs last year despite going 2-9, finishing fourth in District 8-4A Division II.

The Lumberjacks, coached by former Orangefield head coach Blake Morrison, have defeated Tarkington (42-0 last week), Center (45-42) and Crockett (54-16) and their only loss has been to 3A state juggernaut Newton (40-20).

“This Diboll team is so much improved over the team they had last year,” said Smalley. “They have some major weapons. They’ve put up 40-plus points in their three wins and played Newton tough.”

Diboll has been piling up nice offensive numbers throughout their non-district slate. Former Bridge City head coach Cris Stump, Diboll’s offensive coordinator, has seen running back Ty Hamilton pile up nice numbers.

Hamilton zipped for 364 yards and six touchdowns on 34 carries against Crockett. He ripped off another 209 yards and two TDs on 28 carries against Center and zipped for 129 yards and three TDs on 17 carries in the win over Tarkington last week.

“The Hamilton kid, without a doubt, is a tremendous, tremendous player,” said Smalley. “You know that the main goal is to try and contain him and no one has really done that yet. Plus, he’s not the only weapon they got. They have an excellent senior quarterback, a couple go-to receivers and a physical offensive line. They’re much improved on the defensive side of the ball so we’ll have our work cut out for us but we feel the kids are up for the challenge.”

Senior quarterback Nathan Garcia has had steady play at quarterback and passed for two scores against Tarkington. He has two solid wideouts to get the ball to in the forms of Domonique Guy along with Jemarcus White.

The Bobcats picked up a 31-21 road victory at Diboll last season. The Bobcats piled up 316 yards, 305 on the ground as tailback Christopher McGee rumbled for 171 yards on 17 carries. Diboll managed 325 yards, 165 on the ground and 160 in the air.

After a tough season-opening 35-7 loss to Little Cypress-Mauriceville in which the Bobcats had limited practice time to get ready for, Orangefield bounced back with a vital road win over Kelly.

The Bobcats were down 26-24 late in the second half but got a key turnover and running back Christian Louvier put the Bobcats ahead to stay with a six-yard TD scamper. Louvier, who had started at quarterback against LC-M, also had a nine-yard score in the first half. Fellow back Chase Broussard had a scoring run against the Bulldogs as did fullback Blake Bradley. The Bobcats also received a 30-yard field goal from standout kicker Jacob Rainey and received solid play from quarterback Mason Gonzales.

“We saw some positives in the Kelly win, but saw plenty of opportunities to get better in so many areas,” said Smalley. “It was nice last week to have a full week of practice with less distractions and this week will be the same. It was just great to get the kids back to school and to get things rolling again.”

The Bobcats will crank up District 12-4A Division II play Oct. 13 when they welcome in the Liberty Panthers for Homecoming.