Banged up Bridge City tangles with Hamshire-Fannett in district opener

Published 12:34 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

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FANNETT – It was a tough road trip for the Bridge City Cardinals in their opening district game Friday night.

The Cardinals were downed, 34-0by the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns in District 9-4A Division II action at Longhorn Stadium.

The Cardinals (1-4, 0-1) certainly entered the night as underdogs. Starting quarterback Hutch Bearden sustained a shoulder injury in the previous week’s game, leaving Josmany Robleto to lead the Bridge City offense. However, Robleto also went down with an injury of his own in the first quarter, meaning junior receiver Gavin Bodin had to fill in as emergency QB.

The Cards relied on their run game against the Longhorns (4-1, 1-0), but lost yet another key player when starting running back JS Bearden was hit and had to exit the game.

With an inexperienced quarterback at the helm and their starting halfback on the sidelines, the Cardinals’ offense struggled all night. Noah Broussard could hardly find running room out of the backfield, and the Longhorns defensive coverage kept Bodin from connecting with his receivers. BC punted on 10 of 12 offensive drives — the two exceptions being an interception and a turnover on downs.

The first score of the game came at the four-minute mark of the first quarter. Hamshire-Fannett took over from their own 40, driving to their the Cardinal 24 in just three plays. Halfback Tyler Spencer took a handoff along the right sideline to the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown, making it a 7-0 ball game.

The Longhorns extended the lead with just a minute left before halftime. Two big passes from quarterback D’onte Zeno took them into the red zone, and Zeno kept the snap for a three-yard score.

Holding Hamshire-Fannett to just 14 points in the first half could be considered a success for the Cardinals. The defense held up well through the first two quarters, and Coach Cody McGuire took notice.

“Our goal is always to be the most physical team,” Bridge City head coach Cody McGuire said. “I think we were very physical tonight. We’ve just lost some key individuals two weeks in a row.”

To start the second half, Bridge City’s Jerry Winfrey recovered a fumble for the Cardinal defense. BC’s offense took the field, but Bodin threw an interception two plays later. Taking over at Bridge City’s 19, Zeno rolled to his right and scrambled his way to another touchdown.

The Longhorns’ offense scored again to end the third quarter as Zeno evaded the Cardinal pass rush, unleashing a throw across the middle which Mason Hein took 52 yards to the house. At the end of three, the Cardinals trailed, 28-0.

Hamshire-Fannett found the end zone one more time halfway through the fourth quarter, with Seth Ramirez rushing for a 12-yard touchdown. The PAT was botched, but the Longhorns went on to win comfortably, 34-0.

The Cardinals will have their bye week next week and will welcome in the Jasper Bulldogs to Ward Stadium Oct. 7.

In the meantime, McGuire is stressing the importance of a next man up mentality.

“The next guy up might have to play quarterback, running back, or receiver,” said McGuire. “You’ve got to have the mentality that the next man up is going to come in and play hard.”

The Cardinals will have their bye week next week and will welcome in the Jasper Bulldogs to Ward Stadium Oct. 7.

By Keagan Smith -Leader Sports Correspondent