Bobcats power their way past Cardinals, 23-14

Published 12:09 am Saturday, October 23, 2021

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By Caleb Adams

Orange Leader

BRIDGE CITY – With all of the game’s scoring coming in the first half, the Orangefield Bobcats captured a 23-14 District 11-4A Division II victory over the Bridge City Cardinals in their Bayou Bowl clash at Ward Stadium Friday night.

Both teams left everything they had on the field but it was the Bobcats (6-2, 3-1) that controlled things in the first half as they were able to turn back the Cardinals (3-5, 1-3).

Cameron Dischler would lead the way for the Bobcats’ offense all night long. With 23 rushes for 128 yards, Dischler was able to break tackles and speed past defenders and break open the game for the Bobcats. Complementing Dischler was Hunter Ashworth, the freight train in the backfield. Ashworth would put up 68 yards between the tackles, and catch a sneaky seven-yard pass out of the backfield.

Overall the Bobcat run game was smothering for the Cardinals. They were able to control the tempo of the game, and put the Cardinals on the back foot from the get go.

Quarterback Ethan Ocegeura, was be a good chunk of the Cardinals’ offense. Ocegeura finished 13-of-25 with 176 yards in the air, and an interception on the final drive for the Cardinals. Ocegeura’s ability to extend plays in the pocket was key for the Cardinals’ pass game.

Jaris Brown, receiver for the Cardinals, would make a big statement in this game. Brown had four catches for 98 yards and a big 56-yard touchdown catch for the Cardinals’ first offensive play. Brown’s speed and ability to get open really helped out Ocegeura on extended plays.

The Bobcats took control of this game from the first drive, and never lost their handle on it. The Cardinals would fight and keep it close all game, but the Bobcats were able to keep them just out of striking distance all night.

The Bobcats made the first strike with a great opening drive. Dischler broke off a big 17-yard run to get the drive started. In a fourth down situation, quarterback Brayden Parker found Gavin Perry-Koci for a big 16-yard pass that no one expected. Ashworth would truck ahead to put them within the 10-yard line, and Dischler would find the edge for a five-yard scamper for the touchdown. After the PAT the Bobcats led 7-0 with just over eight minutes left in the first quarter.

The Cardinals answered with a big pass from Ocegeura for a one-play drive. Ocegeura would drop back and find Jaris Brown for a long 56-yard touchdown pass on the first play. After the PAT the Cardinals tied it at 7-7 with eight minutes left in the first quarter.

The game started with a big burst of offense from both teams, as the Bobcats ran it down the field for another score. Ashworth, Perry-Koci and Dischler would all get a few carries on the scoring drive, including a quick pass to Ashworth from Parker for seven yards. Parker would then fake a handoff up the middle and took it for himself around the outside. He found plenty of room and shucked a few would-be tacklers for a big 43-yard run for the touchdown. The PAT went through making it 14-7 Bobcats with 2:57 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats increased their lead with another touchdown run from Dischler. Dischler and Ashworth would split carries on the scoring march, getting a great starting position around mid-field. Ashworth punched the ball into the red zone with a tough run up the middle. Dischler then found the outside hole and breoke a few tackles to score from 14 yards out. The Bobcats bobbled the snap on the PAT and miss, but they led 20-7 with 8:24 left in the first half to play.

Kyler Garlaska made his presence known with some great tough running for the Cardinals on their next score. Ocegeura’s pass game would start to pick up this drive, with three completions, the longest going for 16 to Brown early in the drive. After reaching the red zone, Garlaska started to work. He got a few carries in a row, putting his head down and bashing through the defense for extra yards. He would eventually punch it in from six yards out, after pushing his way through the line. The PAT went through and the Bobcats lead was shrunk to 20-14 with 3:40 left in the first half.

The Bobcats squeezed in a field as the time wound down before halftime. The Bobcats were able to go the majority of the field, starting at their own 26, and got all the way to the opposing 26. Parker would find Perry-Koci two times for passes to get within field goal range. Ty Butler squared up for a 36-yard field goal, and made it with room to spare as the Bobcats led 23-14 heading into the half.

No one would score in the second half, as both defenses figured out the opposing offenses. Bobcats were able to stop the passing game from the Cardinals, and the Cardinals were able to stifle the Bobcat running game towards the end. However, the Bobcats run game in the first half was plenty to carry them to a victory in this game.

The Bobcats return home next Friday to face Hamshire-Fannett while the Cardinals will travel to Liberty.

Hamshire-Fannett (5-3, 2-2) dropped a 36-35 nailbiter to Silsbee (4-4, 3-2) Friday while Liberty (4-4, 1-3) fell to West Orange-Stark (7-1, 5-0) 73-7.