Gerry L. Dickert
The Port Arthur News
BRIDGE CITY —
The struggles continue for Bridge City but the bright spots are coming more and more often as the Cardinals battle through the 2012 football season.
The Cards dropped a 45-20 decision to Silsbee in a District 21-3A showdown Friday night but found a way to keep the game exciting for the home crowd with several explosive moments.
Though Silsbee won the coin toss to start the game, the Cardinals would win the first battle as Tigers quarterback Patrick Reed fumbled the opening snap with Cardinal Dylan Sams falling on the loose ball.
Three plays later, the Cardinals took a 7-0 lead when quarterback Daniel Faulk connected with Tanner Cervenka for a 9-yard TD strike.
The Cardinals stopped Silsbee on its next drive, forcing the Tigers to turn the ball over on downs. It appeared at that point that Bridge City had turned the corner and would make a stand at home.
Silsbee answered in a big way, taking a 17-7 lead with 6:04 left in the first half. The Tigers started the push on a drive late in the first quarter as they went 49 yards in three plays, capped by a 44-yard run by Zayon Jackson, tying the game at 7-7. Then, the Tigers forced a Bridge City punt and mounted a 13-play, 60-yard drive that resulted in a 20-yard field goal by Lazaro Vasquez.
Another BC punt, and Silsbee converted a 38-yard punt return into a three-play drive that ended with Chris Elam taking a reverse 27 yards for another score.
To star the second half, Bridge City’s Ashton Hunter took the kickoff and sprinted 84 yards to the end zone, closing the gap to 17-13 with 11:47 left in the third quarter.
Silsbee came right back, though, moving the ball 59 yards in five plays with Floyd Spearman bulling over from the 1 to put the Tigers back out front 24-13.
From there on out, it was the Silsbee Tigers show. Bridge City punt, Silsbee score. Another Cardinals punt, another Tigers TD. A fumbled kickoff by BC, a Silsbee visit to the end zone.
The Tigers scored on an 84-yard pass from Reed to Chris Elam for a 31-13 lead, then took advantage of a 55-yard punt return by Elam to set up a 4-yard run by Spearman for a 38-13 lead.
Spearman found the end zone again on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter for a 45-13 lead.
Even down by 32, the Cardinals refused to yield as BC embarked on a nine-play, 52-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown run by Hunter.
The Cardinals were led by Hunter’s 67 yards rushing while Faulk finished 5 of 13 for 53 yards and an interception. His top receivers were Adrian Shubarth with two catches for 24 yards and Colin Smith with two for 20.
The Tigers saw Patrick Reed go over the 1,000-yard passing mark for the season after completing 10 of 20 for 203 yards and a TD. His top receiver was Elam with three catches for 119 yards.
Jackson led the Tigers running game with three carries for 56 yards, while Reed had 11 totes for 45.
The Tigers, who improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in District 21-3A play, will take their bye week next Friday, while Bridge City travel to Hamshire-Fannett.