BRIDGE CITY — There came a time in December when Bridge City Head Coach Cris Stump had to break some bad news to the players he would have returning in 2012.
It was shocking news and news the guys probably could not figure out for themselves and he didn’t want to wait for the local news media to tell his players the info over, and over and over again.
The news was Matt Menard, Cameron Dishon, Hunter Clark and several other star players would not be returning. They would instead graduate from high school in 2012.
Once the news was given to the players it was time to start offseason and move on.
So now this group of Cardinals players are set to make a name for themselves and prove they too can be a special team. History will be made if the Cardinals make the playoffs this year, so the team has motivation to match the success of the three previous Cardinals teams.
“Bridge City High School has not made the playoffs four years in a row,” Stump said. “Our guys want to reset the bar and that is a goal they have set.
“I told this team they would have to hear about Menard, Dishon, (Mitchell) Hubbard and those guys all year long. I told them they are going to hear this year’s team will not be any good and has no shot to make the playoffs.”
>So with that bit of information in their pocket, Stump said this year’s Bridge City team has decided to prove everyone wrong by making the playoffs and giving those 2012 graduates something to be proud of.
“We have a team that can do it,” Stump said. “We have a lot of guys who are young in experience yet were on varsity last year. They were the backups who were waiting their turn. Now they want to shine and be the stars.”
The Cardinals will have to replace a lot of offensive numbers which left after last year.
Menard alone rushed for 1,022 yards, threw for 1,270 yards and had 25 total touchdowns.
Clark had 828 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns while Dishon did a little bit of everything. Dishon rushed for 265 and hauled in 552 yards receiving with 13 total touchdowns.
In addition, there was Tyler Roberts’ contributions. All Roberts did was lead the Cardinals in 2011 with 35 receptions.
So who are the new guys that will have their names called out on Friday nights?
Start with Daniel Faulk who will replace Menard at quarterback. Faulk did get in 12 pass attempts last season. Most come in a playoff game against Coldspring after Menard went down to injury.
“It is Daniel’s turn to be the guy,” Stump said. “He practiced all year last year with the varsity and has went through the process. We held a little competition in the spring and Daniel won the job.”
Ashton Hunter came on strong last year behind Clark at the running back position with 30 carries for 189 yards and two trips to the endzone. Football seems to be in Hunter’s blood since his grandfather is longtime West Orange-Stark Coach Dan Hooks. <
Tanner Cervenka, Keaton Langston, Clint Delahoussaye and Adrian Schubarth all figure to spend time at the receiver position and then flip to play defensive back on defense.
Bridge City has nice size on both of its lines as center Josh Blanchard and Jordan Schamber check in over 6-feet tall. Christian Simonton, Alex Goodman and Jackson Roberts will also play on the offensive line.
Stump knows who to pick at the top of 21-3A as with every year he has been at Bridge City.
“I figure West Orange-Stark might be a little good this year,” Stump said. “Nothing has changed with those guys and they will still be West Orange. Silsbee like every year has some great players and great coaches. So they too are the same as every year.
“Everyone is going to be in the mix for the playoffs. We lost Coach (Josh) Smalley to Orangefield and now I can only hope he wins nine games. If we don’t make the playoffs I will be disappointed. That is our expectation now every year. You have to keep that attitude. We still have to play the games but we have a feeling this year is going to be No. 4 in a row for the Cardinals.”
Do that Bridge City Cardinals and your names will forever be linked to the guys just graduated.