The Port Arthur News
BRIDGE CITY —
BRIDGE CITY – In a back-and-forth battle between two teams fighting for their playoff lives, Bridge City found itself with their backs against the wall. So they did the only thing they could … move forward.
With Hamshire-Fannett leading 17-14, the Cardinals found a passing game that had been missing all night, moving down the field to claim a 20-17 win over the Longhorns at Cardinals Stadium on Friday night.
With under a minute remaining in the game, Bridge City quarterback Chase Shugart hit Blaine Slaughter on a slant pattern in the middle of the field and the junior receiver took it 20 yards for the score and the 20-17 advantage.
“When we started the drive, we still had three or four minutes,” BC Coach Cris Stump said. “We needed to continue to run the ball, and we did that, and we took our shots. The kids just made some good plays. The touchdown pass, it’s a play we run all the time. Chase was calm and cool and he hit the slant and Blaine made the catch and took it in.”
The Cardinals improved their overall record to 2-5 and pick up their first win of the District 21-3A campaign to move to 1-2. The Cards travel to Sour Lake next Friday to face Hardin-Jefferson.
“Every week we’re fighting for our playoff life,” Stump said. “We had four games left and we had to win three to make the playoffs. We won one of those tonight and we’ll have to do it again next week”
H-F, which fell to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in district, opened up the scoring on a 30-yard field goal by Jorge Alvarado. In the meantime, Bridge City struggled offensively, particularly in the passing game with the Longhorns defensive line manhandling the BC offensive front.
“They were just beating us man to man and we couldn’t get the time to get some good passes thrown,” Stump said. “Hamshire-Fannett is much improved this year.”
On the legs of Jonah Lemoine and Shugart, the Cardinals found a way to move the ball anyway. The Cards orchestrated an 11-play, 68-yard drive late in the first half with Lemoine running the ball six times. It was Shuggart, though, who capped the push with a 5-yard run for the TD at 4:44 in the second quarter for a 7-3 edge. Lemoine would lead all rushers with 104 yards on 19 carries, while Shugart managed 81 yards on 16 totes.
Before the touchdown celebration was even over, H-F’s Kendrick King would take the ensuing kickoff and run 72 yards to the Bridge City 18. Five plays later, Longhorn Alex Bell pushed across from 2 yards out for a 10-7 H-F lead.
King finished with 84 yards rushing on 23 carries while Bell had 58 on eight carries.
BC took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove to the H-F 25 where Thomas Finley attempted a 42-yard field goal that went wide left. But after an H-F punt on its next drive, the Cardinals got back to work.
BC moved 34 yards in five plays, capped by a 4-yard TD run by Jhett Simmons to give the Cardinals a 14-10 lead with 6:24 left in the third.
Starting at its own 35, H-F took its next possession and King ran 24 yards with a 15-yard penalty added to move the Horns to the BC 26. It took H-F eight more tries, but finally King crossed from 10 yards out to give H-F the lead again at 17-14, setting up BC’s late-game heroics.
Starting at the BC 25 with 4:28 left in the game, Shugart would finally find his passing game, hitting three of his eight completions in the drive, one each to Cade Moseley, Malcolm Busby and Slaughter. Shugart finished the game 8 of 17 for 103 yards with his top receiver, Slaughter, grabbing three catches for 48 yards.
“When we were down there at the end, I didn’t have to tell our guys anything,” Stump said. “We know, it’s not over, we’re not going to stop. As long as we have the ball, we have a chance and our kids know that.”