Your password needs to be at least 8 characters and one number.
The Bridgeland Bears off to a great start
Lonnie Madison hopped into the fire at Bridgeland High School, immediately.
The former College Park football coach took over a Bear program this Spring, which has had tremendous success under the direction of coach David Raffield – who opened the school.
“What I told our football family at the first parents meeting of the year was this… ‘We are going to know a lot about ourselves after our first three non-district games’,” he recalls. “Well, we have learned that our kids know how to overcome adversity.”
Going 2-0, the Bears have ascended to the VYPE’s No. 3 ranking entering Week 3 against No. 5 Shadow Creek.
Bridgeland first knocked off Cy-Fair, 31-30, in a last-second win, and followed that with an overtime, 41-35, win over highly-ranked Katy Tompkins.
“I don’t feel like we have played our best game yet,” he said. “We had four turnovers in our own territory against Cy-Fair, and we were challenged by our special teams against Tompkins. We aren’t doing ourselves any favors in the field-position game, but we are cleaning that up.”
Madison, however, sings the praises of the Bridgeland community.
“This is a sports-rabid community with great kids,” he said. “These families invest a lot of time in their athletes across the board, and the kids work really hard. I love where we are headed.”
He also brags on the talent inside the Bear locker room.
“On offense, we rotate a sophomore (Tyler Begeal) and junior (Jett Lewis) at quarterback,” he said. “They are both playing at a high level and are handling the situation well. We have some dynamic running backs (Fredrick Moore, Noah Allen Cuellar and Kendall Burns), who run behind a phenomenal offensive line led by Jonte Newman, Ryan Fodje and Ben Mulholland.
“Our receivers are explosive,” he said. “Oscar Nnanna is now a full-time receiver who had the game-winner against Tompkins. Mason Simmons had a game-winner against Cy-Fair. They are tremendous players who make a ton of plays.”
The defense has had to make some tough stops in pivotal positions as well.
Omar Khan (Washington-commit) and Davion Baptiste anchor the front seven, freeing up linebackers Cole Fattig and Karson Krause. Phillip Meyers and Josh Matthews patrol the secondary.
“Those guys in the back-end are some of the best I’ve ever coached,” he said.
With two big wins on the record, the Bears travel to Alvin ISD’s Freedom Field to face Shadow Creek.
“Our first two games were against run-oriented, tight-end type of offenses,” he said. “Shadow Creek is a spread offense with tremendous speed and length. It’s a different style for our defense to prepare for. That will make us better as we enter district play.
“I tell the guys all the time, ‘I don’t worry about where we are on September 5th, but where we are on October 5th, November 5th and even December 5th’.”
But he’s not complaining having beaten two state football brands in the first two weeks.
“I like this better than the alternative,” he laughed.
Some of the stars of 2023-24 Bridgeland Volleyball
THE BRIDGELAND BEARS WERE ON THE BRINK OF TAKING THE ROAD TRIP TO GARLAND LAST YEAR AND PLAYING IN THE UIL STATE VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT FOR A SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR.
Unfortunately, the Bears fell in the Region II Championship to The Woodlands and finished the year 42-9 overall.
Now, can Bridgeland, with three starters returning off that 2022 squad, reach the Region II-6A Championship for a third-straight year and earn its second State Tournament berth in three years?
If they do, TCU-commit Alice Volpe will play a major role in the achievement. Volpe racked up 720 digs in 2022, which earned her a first-team, all-district nod, Defensive Specialist of the Year, THSCA Defensive Player of the Year, and a TGCA All-State team selection.
Other names to remember include second-teamer Lauren Baek (702 assists, 293 digs), Rebekkah Pfefferkorn (192 kills, 93 blocks), Raylee Schaffner, and Amelia Creacy (Angelo State University-commit).
Verena Khalil enters year No. 7 of leading Bridgeland and has posted a 165-44 record in that time.