Cards host Bears to start 11-4A play

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, October 10, 2018

BRIDGE CITY — After navigating two extremely tough non-district schedules, two young Orange County teams will look to turn the corner as the Bridge City Cardinals will host long-time Orange County rival Little Cypress-Mauriceville Friday night in the District 11-4A Division I opener for both teams.

Both the Cardinals (1-4) and the Battlin’ Bears (1-4) check in with identical records.

There is no question both were battle-tested as the Cardinals had tough losses against the likes of Diboll, Jasper, Silsbee and West Orange-Stark while the Bears’ losses have come against Woodville, WO-S, Jasper and Vidor.

Both teams had their byes last week.

The Bears nabbed their first win of the season last time out, taking down Hardin-Jefferson 30-18 as they showed improvement on defense and responded with big offensive plays in critical moments to turn back the Hawks.

The Cardinals’ win was a 13-6 victory over Anahuac Sept. 14. In their last outing, they fell to WO-S 21-0 on the road but showed tremendous strides defensively, keeping the Mustangs scoreless in the second half.

Bridge City will look to get its ground game churning out yardage again after the Cardinals were held to just 39 total yards in the loss at WO-S.

The Cardinals will check in averaging just 192 yards a game.

Bridge City’s bruising fullback Andy Lara has bulled his way to 308 yards through five battles.

Cardinal quarterback Cace Skinner and tailback Gavin Villanueva have also sparked the Cardinal running attack at times as Bridge City will face a Bear defense that has allowed 438 yards a game as LC-M has struggled at times in stopping opposing running games.

The Bears, without question, had their best offensive production of the season against the Hawks after averaging just 94.3 total yards a game going in, amassing over 300 total yards. Quarterback Adam Pope completed 9-of-17 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns and has two dangerous receivers in the forms of Darien Williams and James Williams. LC-M also received a spark from their running game as Christian Ickes had 121 yards and a TD on 21 carries.

The Bears will face a Cardinal defense that is allowing 365.8 yard an outing. The Cardinals allowed 314 yards to the Mustangs but shut down WO-S in the second half of that matchup.

It is just the 11-4A opener for both teams but it will be such an important game for playoff positioning in a district that looks to be wide-open for the taking as the district went a combined 10-20 in non-district play.

Splendora (4-1) is the only 11-4A unit with a winning record as the Wildcats will travel to winless Livingston (0-5) Friday. Also, Lumberton (2-3), the early favorite to win the district in the preseason, will be at home Friday when they host the Huffman Falcons (2-3).

Next week the Bears will return home to face Splendora while the Cardinals make the trek to Huffman.