Bridge City Cardinals hit ground running; quest for playoff berth starts with 5:30 a.m. practices

Published 12:24 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

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BRIDGE CITY – Hitting the field early and enjoying every second of it.

The Bridge City Cardinals, cranking up practice at 5:30 a.m. every morning this week, were thrilled to have the first official practice day on Monday.

The Cardinals are looking to make waves for second-year head coach Cody McGuire. They improved from one win to four in McGuire’s first season and are looking for more in 2022.

“We’ve seen a lot of these faces throughout the summer and the participation was really good,” said McGuire. “Mot of the kids have come in here and are looking pretty good. Now is when it really gets fun. We have a pretty good schedule set for the first week.”

The Cardinals go through stretching drills at 5:20 a.m. They then go through some conditioning and work on offense and defense until 7:30 a.m.

They were busy wrapping up offensive and defensive schemes late in the practice Monday.

“We’re instilling a few new things this year on both sides of the ball,” said McGuire. “We’ve got Coach (Jason) Aubry in here as the new offensive coordinator, and the kids really like his ideas and look forward to grasping them. Defensively, a lot of it is going to be new. We’ve worked on some of this stuff during the summer during our allotted times, but now we can spend more time on what we want to do.”

The Cardinals get a break from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., before returning to the facilities.

“We’re going to go from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in which we will run, do some lifting and then do some film study,” said McGuire. “By then, the kids have regenerated some more energy and we’ll work a little more.”

As the week progresses, the more drills the Cardinals coaching staff installs.

“We’ll work on some 7-on-7 with our offense and defense and also a lot of 1-on-1 situations,” said McGuire.

McGuire and the Cardinals will wear their helmets those first four days, but Friday is what they are all waiting for.

“You get to put those shoulder pads on Friday and on Saturday, you get to put all of those pads on and hit some,” he said. “We’ll go at it at 8 a.m. Saturday in our intra squad scrimmage, and that’s when it gets real.”

Senior middle linebacker Mason Pruitt, who made more than 150 tackles last season, is thrilled about hitting the ground running.

“Man, it just feels great to kick everything off; I couldn’t wait to get here and I was ready to rip at 5 a.m.,” said Pruitt. “You could just see all of the energy we had. Everyone is just so pumped up. We’ve been up here all summer, but that first day of practice really gets your juices flowing.”

Pruitt is ready to go to work for Coach McGuire and the Cardinals coaches as they look to make a playoff push this season.

He said it was a learning process with Coach McGuire last season, adding he came in and boosted team confidence.

“He really pushes us, believes in us and is always up here working hard,” Pruitt said. “He sets a really good example with the way he goes about things, and we follow his lead. We’ve had a full offseason now with what he expects of us, and it has been awesome and so has the turnout this summer.”

Pruett certainly likes the Cardinals’ chances.

Last season, they showed they could improve as long as everyone worked together.

“This year, the goal is to get in the playoffs, win a district title and be the first group to get Coach McGuire in the playoffs for the first time as a head coach,” Pruitt said.

The Cardinals are also looking ahead at two Thursday scrimmages.

The Cardinals host Vidor Aug. 11 and visit Woodville to face the Eagles Aug. 18.

Bridge City kicks off the season for real Aug. 26 visiting the Orangefield Bobcats in the Bayou Bowl.