Bobcats, Pirates face tough playoff competition Thursday night

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 10, 2023

LUMBERTON — The Orangefield Bobcats’ 2023 football season came to an end Thursday night as the Woodville Eagles steamrolled the Bobcats, 51-7, at Raiders Stadium.

The Woodville Eagles defense set the tone from the onset as the unit forced the Bobcats offense into a three-and-out on its first series following two runs for minimal gains and an incomplete pass.

The Eagles offense wasted little time in finding its rhythm, as the squad marched the ball 59 yards downfield in nine plays while consuming three minutes off the clock for a quick 7-0 lead after the 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ralon Williams and the extra point by kicker Gage Tolar.

A stingy Woodville Eagles defense swarms Orangefield running back Mason Manning, No. 2, for no gain during the second-half of Thursday’s game. (Tommy Mann Jr./The Leader)

The Bobcats looked ready to respond as the offense began marching the ball downfield.

Mason Manning had a 9-yard run to move the ball into Woodville territory, and Kane Smith followed with a nice 18-yard gain to the Eagles 29-yard line.

A false start penalty on third and one at the 20-yard line moved the ball back five yards before the Woodville defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs.

The Bobcats defense settled and forced Woodville to punt. Orangefield took possession deep in its own territory, but the Eagles recovered a Bobcats fumble at the 8-yard line.

Three plays later Woodville running back Zaylon Williams punched the ball in from the 4-yard line for another Eagles touchdown and 14-0 lead to start the second quarter.

Orangefield started the following drive at its own 22 yard line, and two plays later Eagles defender Tayvion Hunter picked up a loose ball and returned it 34 yards for a scoop-and-score touchdown to extend the Woodville lead to 21-0 with 10:41 to play in the second quarter.

The Bobcats continued to try to pound out yardage on the ground with a stable of running backs. Manning, Lane Gipson and Fernando Sandoval-Rodriguez tried to find a soft spot in the Woodville defensive line to no avail.

Bobcats quarterback Carson Gonzales throws a pass during first-half action against Woodville in the bi-district round of the Class 3A- Division I playoffs. (Tommy Mann Jr./The Leader)

Following an Orangefield punt, the Eagles took possession on their own 35-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Williams handed the ball to fullback Dustin Barlow, who rumbled up the middle for a 57-yard gain before being dragged down at the Bobcats 8-yard line.

Williams added his second touchdown of the night on the next play on a 8-yard touchdown run for a 28-0 Eagles lead midway through the second quarter.

The Bobcats were unable to get much traction on their next drive as the rain now fell lightly, but steadily, and turned the ball over on downs.

The Eagles added a 29-yard field goal from Tolar and led 31-0 at halftime.

Woodville fumbled the ball on its opening second half drive deep in Orangefield territory, giving the Bobcats a glimmer of hope. The Orangefield offense responded, moving the ball from its 10-yard line to near midfield, but another fumble ended the drive.

The Eagles put the game away on the next play as Williams roared around the end and to the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown, which made the score 38-0 in favor of Woodville.

Woodville added a 46-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Ty’Marion Walker after forcing another Bobcats turnover on downs to put the Eagles ahead 45-0 early in the fourth quarter.

Orangefield found some success on its next possession. On first and 10 from the Bobcats 28-yard line, quarterback Carlos Gonzales handed the ball to Rodriguez, who gashed the Eagles defense for a 46-yard run to the Woodville 26-yard line. Three plays later it was Smith who punched the ball in from the 8-yard line for the Bobcats touchdown and cutting the Woodville lead to 45-7.

The Eagles added another score on the ensuing kickoff as Walker picked up the ball off the ground, ran right then back to the left and down the sideline before cutting back toward the middle of the field for a 77-yard touchdown on the return.

Orangefield finished the night with 245 total yards of offense, but the team also fumbled the ball seven times and lost four of those.

Woodville had nearly 400 yards of offense for the game, including 184 passing yards and lost just one fumble.

Orangefield ends the season with a record of 5-6.

Woodville (8-3) moves on to the Area round.

Vidor/ Lindale

The Vidor Pirates’ football season came to an end Thursday night in Nacogdoches.

The Lindale Eagles defeated Vidor Pirates for the second season in a row, winning their bi-district matchup 49-28.

Lindale advances to take on Iowa Colony in the area round.

The Vidor Pirates (6-5, 3-2) were the third place team from District 10-4A Div. 1.

This was the second consecutive year the Pirates and Eagles met in the Bi-District round and third time in the past four years.

Lindale won 29-13 in 2020 on its way to a state finals appearance and 45-23 in 2022.

Before Thursday, the Pirates won three consecutive games to close out district play and put together the second highest scoring offense in its district, averaging over 33 points per game this year. Vidor also has the second best scoring defense, allowing just over 22 points per game.

— Reported by Tommy Mann Jr.