Battlin’ Bears will look to sink Pirates

Published 8:42 am Wednesday, November 20, 2019

LITTLE CYPRESS – After punching in a playoff victory for the first time since 1997, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Battlin’ Bears will turn their attention to the Crandall Pirates as the two will battle Friday night at 7 p.m. at Nacogdoches’ Dragon Stadium in the Class 4A Region III Division II area round of the playoffs.

The Bears (6-4) are coming off a dominating 48-21 bidistrict victory over Stafford while the Pirates (9-2) shut down Kilgore 14-0.

LC-M dominated Stafford on both sides of the ball. The Bears piled up 495 yards of total offense while limiting the Spartans to only 229, including just 56 yards in the first half in which they built a 20-0 lead.

Bear senior standout quarterback Ethan McCollum had another stellar game against Stafford as he rushed for 197 yards on 21 carries and completed 13-of-18 passes for 159 yards. The competitive QB went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark last week and now has 1,008 yards on the ground and 1,481 yards through the air.

McCollum was able to spread the ball around nicely to receivers Brendon Pollock, D.J. Spears and D.J. Williams.

LC-M also receiver strong rushing performances from backs Andy Mcdow, who had 84 yards and two touchdowns, and freshman Da’Marion Morris, who had 61 yards on the ground.

The Pirates will be a strong foe for the Bears. Crandall is the top seed out of District 9-4A.

They were 4-1 in 9-4A play with their only loss to Midlothian Heritage, 23-7. However, Midlothian Heritage had to forfeit that win due to playing an ineligible player in the first half.

The Pirates were a 7-3 bidistrict playoff team last year and returned just three offensive starters and five defensive starters entering the season but have played well.

Crandall opened the season with a tough 42-0 loss against Chapel Hill. They also fell to Dallas Carter 39-22 in non-district. They did notch non-district wins against Kaufman (48-0), North Lamar (27-6) and Palestine (24-20).

The Pirates claimed 9-4A victories over Mabank (21-14, OT), Life Waxahachie (35-8), Ford (28-6) and Athens (52-28).

The Pirates are definitely sparked by a trio on offense.

Senior quarterback Holt Reese has had some huge passing nights throughout the campaign and has thrown for more than 160 yards on eight different occasions with his favorite target being senior receiver Billy Myers, who has five 100-yard receiving games.

The Pirates’ bellcow on offense is sophomore Damerian Wigenton. Wigenton is over the 1,000-yard mark and has 435 yards in his last three games, including a 175-yard, four-touchdown performance against Athens in the regular season finale.

The winner of the LC-M-Crandall game will face either Carthage or Lumberton in the regional semifinals next week.