THE BANNER LOOMS LARGE INSIDE LARRY WARD STADIUM ON THE CAMPUS OF BRIDGE CITY HIGH SCHOOL – THE 1960 STATE CHAMPIONS.
When Dr. Mike Kelly arrived as the new Superintendent, he started a drastic culture change starting with an investment in coaches and facilities.
He tabbed Cody McGuire, who had coached at perennial power Austin Westlake, to lead his football program and be the Athletic Director. McGuire took a 1-6 team in 2020 to a 4-6 programa year ago.
“I want to thank our community, school board and Dr. Kelly,” McGuire said. “The recent upgrades to the weight room, track, field turf and tennis courts has everyone fired up.”
Going into year two, McGuire is ready to take another step inside his program.“ When I interviewed, I could tell this community was hungry to get things back on track,” he said. “Your second year, you feel like will be better than your first year for several reasons. The seniors worked so hard last year and really bought into the system. That carried over with the guys coming back, who have continued to work hard. We expect them to do some great things.
“Having the guys for an entire offseason and summer together, we’ve seen our strength and speed increase incredibly. We are going to be better for it in 2022.”
For McGuire, it’s simple. He explains that there are five ways to get on the field for him.
“It starts with playing hard every play at practice and in the game,” he said. “You have to have knowledge of your assignment. If you don’t know what to do, we can’t put you out on the field. Are you physical and tough? This is a tough sport. You have to be a great teammate and uplift your brothers. And finally, are you a playmaker? It comes down to Godgiven talent. Can you play?”
McGuire came over from Westlake under the tutelage of legendary coach Todd Dodge. He also had stops at Tomball, Klein Collins and Lockhart High School.
“The thing about Westlake is the culture – they would play anyone, anytime, anywhere,” he said. “They aren’t scared of anyone. That is what we are trying to build here.”
It starts up front with offensive lineman Matthew Livingston, who will need to control the line of scrimmage. Sebastian Sandino and Keaton Watts will also help in the trenches. Tight end Noah Broussard will stretch the field, while Caden Welch will run between the tackles. Sophomore Hutch Bearden, will need to step up in the QB role and watch for Case McGuire at receiver.
On defense, JS Beardon will run the show as an outside linebacker. The all-state selection will set the tone for Nick Lejeune, Rayburn Hebert, Stephen Stone and Jagger Carlin. Landon and Keaton Watts and Mason Pruitt should play bigger roles in 2022 on defense along with Kayden Kibodeaux and Jerry Winfrey.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs,” he said. “That’s always the goal, right? We need to focus on being the best team on the field every Friday night.”
That banner will still loom large.