By Alex Wilder
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CYPRESS – The Cy Woods Wildcats (2-3, 1-1 in district) took on the #74 ranked team in the nation, the Bridgeland High School Bears (5-0, 2-0 in district) at Ken Pridgeon Stadium, Thursday night, Sept. 30, 2021.
The Bears took home a 41-14 victory over the Wildcats.
It was an interesting matchup, as the Wildcats, whose homecoming game was tonight, were looking to knock down the undefeated Bears.
The game started off differently than most would expect, as the Wildcats took an early 7-0 lead over the Bears with a run play to the house. However, the lead wouldn’t last long, as Bears quarterback Connor Weigman connected with Jonathan Nelson on a quick slant to tie it up 7-7. The game slowly started to slip from the Wildcats as they lost the ball on the following drive due to a sack and fumble caused by Roroghene Imarah. Weigman proceeded to score two plays later on a short run to the endzone.
One part of the game that some may overlook is the Bear’s defense. The star of the show usually tends to be Weigman, a five-star quarterback and Texas A&M University commit, but a star on the defensive side of the ball tonight shined, that being Graham Gillespie.
Gillespie had two interceptions, one on the first play of the second quarter, and one early in the third period of play on pass attempts. Gillespie is a three-year varsity player and helped lead Bridgeland to their deepest run in the playoffs in school history last year. A definite leader on defense, and one that helped the Bears triumph over the Wildcats.
Some key highlights include a Bears 46-yard hook-and-ladder play for a touchdown with 5:10 in the second stanza; a low snap on a punt attempt by Cy Woods, resulting in a 8-yard punt turned into a Bears score on the next play.
Overall, the Bears still look to be a solid collective unit. Their play-calling by the offensive coordinator is fresh and interesting, seeing Weigman lined up as a wide receiver on a couple of downs through the night, as well as seeing an attempted reception for him that was mis-thrown and well covered.
The Bear offense keeps you guessing and even with Weigman maintaining the spotlight, they have other options a defense should look out for. One player that emerged was wide receiver Jonathan Nelson, who had three touchdowns going into halftime. Considering wide receiver Andrew Maleski usually has the defense’s eyes on him, it brings an opportunity for other players on this offense to get going, and Nelson did just that. The Bears’ defensive unit manages to make stops when called upon and is able to keep the ball in Weigman’s hand, which is ideal for the Bears. Holding the opposition to just 14 points has usually won the game for the Bears, seeing as their lowest scoring outing through five games this year is 24 points against a stout Shadow Creek defense.
The Wildcats are still a solid team, with other losses being to Katy High School, ranked No. 11 nationally, Shadow Creek High School, ranked No. 49 in Texas. A difficult schedule can bring challenges to a team, and the Wildcats seem to be facing that issue.
A triple-option-heavy offense that struggled to bring much firepower against the Bears, and a defense that even with a few takeaways couldn’t manage stops when they needed them, but overall not a bad team. The Bears are primed to make another deep playoff run this year.
The Bears take on a rival next week in Cypress Ranch High School at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium, Saturday at 7 p.m.