Bobcats prepare to make noise in 3A

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, August 7, 2018

ORANGEFIELD — It doesn’t matter if they will be in a new district or a smaller classification, one thing for certain, the Orangefield Bobcats will be ready to compete for Coach Josh Smalley.

The Bobcats, after being one of the smallest schools in Class 4A, made the nice move down to the Class 3A ranks as they will prepare to renew old rivalries against the likes of Buna, Kirbyville, Woodville and East Chambers.

Despite battling the onslaught of Harvey last season, the Bobcats punched their way into the playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

So does dropping down a class make it easier?

“We’re not battling the numbers game like we have had in the past, but we’ve got a very tough district that we’re competing in,” said Smalley. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of things to work on and get better at, but we’re all excited to get things rolling.”

There will be no district battles in 4A against the likes of WO-S and Liberty. However, District 12-3A Division I will be no slouch with the likes of Woodville, East Chambers, Buna and the Anahuacs of the world.

“It’s going to be an interesting district for sure and there is not much room for error with eight teams in the district, compared to the six-team district we’ve been in,” said Smalley. “We just want to get better each week and hopefully avoid the injury bug and go out and compete.”

The Bobcats reported at 2 p.m. Monday and were hitting the weight room at 3 p.m. before hitting the field for the first time.

Orangefield had a little more than 90 players show up for the first day which impressed Smalley.

“Our numbers are up and we have a big freshman group,” said Smalley. “The kids have been up here all summer getting after it and it has carried over and they came in here in pretty good shape.”

The Bobcats have some momentum going into the year with the return of 14 starters.

“We love the kids we have coming back but there are some holes to fill,” said Smalley. “We like what we have in some of our skill guys but we need some young kids to step up on the line. The only starter we have back on the offensive line is our center.”

Orangefield has a pair of scrimmages lined up as they will visit LC-M on Aug. 17 and will host Lumberton Aug. 23.

The Bobcats will open up their season at home Aug. 31 against Houston KIPP. They will begin District 12-3A Division I play Sept. 28 with a road trip to Buna.

Team picture and mugshot day will be Saturday, Aug. 11 starting at 8 a.m. followed by a scrimmage practice.