Bears’ LeBleu, Pope feels team work will pay off

Published 10:09 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

By Caleb Adams

Orange Leader


LITTLE CYPRESS – The Battlin’ Bears of Little Cypress-Mauriceville are ready for a fresh season and new chance to take the district title. It’s been a long 23 odd years for the Bears between district titles, but this year they plan to reset that number and show everyone what a well-oiled team really looks like.

Last season the Bears finished even at 4-5, made a nice run in district play at 3-2 to finish in the third-place playoff spot. They went on to bidistrict where they dropped a tough decision to Kilgore.

The Bears have made the playoffs four out of five years now but are still in the hunt for their first playoff win since 1997.

The Bears will look to step up on defense this year and put up some impressive numbers on the offensive side of the ball to make a big push in their newly formed district.

With the new district alignment the Bears find themselves in District 11-4A Division 1, with Bridge City Huffman Hargrave, Livingston, Lumberton and Splendora. Gone are Silsbee, Navasota and Cleveland as the new-look loop looks very competitive.

Teamwork will be the focus of this season, according to center and defensive end Colt LeBleu.

“We gotta work together more as a team, last year I don’t think we did that very well,” said LeBleu. “We need to be unselfish and get after it this year.”

The theme of working hard and together is the motive for the Battlin’ Bears this season.

Quarterback and safety Adam Pope had similar feelings heading into the season.

“We have to work together a lot harder as a team,” said Pope. “We need to be be one as a unit on the field.”

With the loss of multiple important players at skill positions, the Bears will need to figure out how to deal with replacing them.

“We gotta work a whole lot harder, go to practice every day and get better and make up for that talent we lost,” said Pope.

For defense, Pope thinks that it isn’t some big hole or lack of talent.

“We just gotta get back on defense,” said Pope. “Last year we gave up a lot of deep balls. We need to rally to the ball and make tackles.”

The Bears this season will be working hard and working together as a team on improving along all fronts.

As far as personal goals for LeBleu, who was a all-district selection a year ago, he wants to give the team everything he has.

“I want to work and play my heart out every game,” said LeBleu. “For us seniors it’s our last shot and it would be awesome to get in the playoffs and see what we can do. It’s been a long time since LC-M won a playoff game, so we would love to change that.”

Pope has a grander dream as one of the main leaders of the team.

“For this team I want to be district champions,” said Pope. ”That’s the number one goal, to finally get that district championship.”

In the way of that championship is Lumberton, a new addition to the district and a team considered to be top of the table to begin the season according to several magazines and experts.

Both Pope and Lebleu are looking forward to that game,

“I’m itching to play the first game obviously, but the addition of Lumberton (to the district) is going to be a good game and hard fought battle,” said Pope.

“I’m ready and excited to play Lumberton, it’s going to be fun,” said LeBleu. “Same thing with Splendora and Livingston, people we have not played in awhile.”

The Bears kickoff their campaign with 3A Division I power Woodville on the road Aug. 31 and their first district game is at their long time rival Bridge City on Sept 10. LC-M has a tough year in front of them with a strong district but the Bears definitely seem to look forward to the challenge. The hard work and teamwork will be tested throughout the season, but that’s the fun of football.