The Port Arthur News
One thing for sure, no one can fault the effort that the Orangefield Bobcats displayed Friday night against Coldspring. But the Trojans still walked away with a 28-14 Class 3A Region III Division II playoff victory at Falcon Stadium at Huffman High School.
The Bobcats (6-5), making their first playoff appearance since 2003, went toe-to-toe with the 22-3A champion Trojans (9-1) for four quarters.
However, the Trojans simply wore down the Bobcats to nab the win.
Coldspring quarterback Kaleb Morrison passed for two touchdowns and ran for another.
The Trojans outgained the Bobcats 395-200.
“There’s no reason any of our kids should hold their heads down,” said Bobcat coach Josh Smalley. “We played one of the Top 20 teams in the state tonight hard. A lot of people thought that we would get blown out of here but our kids, like all season, showed tremendous character. We gave a superb effort all night long.”
Morrison completed 7-of-10 passes for 118 yards. Trojan tailback Daylon Giddens ran for 95 yards on 19 carries and fellow back Patrick Giddens finished with 78 yards on 13 totes.
“The Morrison kid, by far, had his best game of the season tonight,” said Smalley. “He hit a couple nice passes that they scored on. We gave up a big play here and there but not many. We hurt ourselves at times with penalties and we had a couple drops. Defensively, I thought we held our own, they were just out on the field too long.”
Bobcat quarterback Carmichael Wiley led the Bobcats with 59 yards on 12 carries. The Trojan defense held standout Bobcat tailback Carl Wiley to 26 yards on six carries.
The Bobcat defense played extremely well in the first half, bending but not breaking until nearly the end of the half.
The Trojans found the end zone on the first series of the game, going 45 yards in five plays.
Morrison connected with receiver Douglas Johnson on a perfect 35-yard touchdown strike down the left sideline for the touchdown. Brett Sykes ran in the two-point conversion as the Trojans led 8-0 with 10:12 left in the first quarter.
The Bobcats got a nice 27-yard run by Colby Choate that went down to the Trojan 23 but, unfortunately, he got the ball stripped there as Coldspring took over with 0:06 left in the first.
Coldspring drove from its own 23 all the way down to the Bobcat 2 but the Trojans were denied when, on fourth-and-goal from the 2, Johnson got stuffed by a hard-charging Choate from his linebacker spot.
Orangefield failed to move the ball and the Trojans took over at the Bobcat 41 with 5:04 in the half.
Tailback Daylon Giddens was barely able to produce a first down with a three-yard run on fourth-and-3 from the 34. Two plays later the Trojans went up 15-0 when Morrison hit receiver Tre Williams with a 31-yard touchdown dart over the middle with 2:20 in the half.
Coldspring outgained the Bobcats 221-89 in the first half, limiting Orangefield to just three first downs. The Trojans ran 33 plays in the half while Orangefield ran 15.
Morrison was 4-for-6 for 91 yards in the half with Johnson catching three balls for 60 yards.
Daylon Giddens and Patrick Giddens combined for 66 yards rushing in the half.
Choate led the Bobcats with 30 yards on three carries.
The Trojans went up 22-0 with 5:40 left in the third when Daylon Giddens capped off a five-play, 49-yard scoring march with a two-yard run off left tackle.
The Bobcats kept battling as they got on the board with 1:38 left in the third when running back Dylan Gray bolted off right tackle for a four-yard touchdown.
Orangefield went 57 yards in seven plays, highlighted by an outstanding 36-yard keeper by Carmichael Wiley that got down to the Trojan 21.
The Trojans answered quickly by zipping 77 yards in nine plays, 63 of it coming on the ground. Morrison put the finishing touches on it with a 30-yard quarterback keeper up the middle for the touchdown to make it 28-7 with 9:56 left in the game.
The Bobcats showed their grit at the end of the game, going 73 yards in 15 plays to get into the end zone again on a two-yard keeper by Carmichael Wiley with just 0:12 remaining.
The Bobcats will get their offseason cranked up again Monday.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this group of seniors,” said Smalley. “They set out to reach a goal this season and they accomplished it. We’re going to get back to work next week. This was a fun and rewarding season and hopefully we can get back to the playoffs again next year to start a trend.”