It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the Orangefield football program over the last few months. And on June 11, former Orangefield assistant and Bridge City native Josh Smalley was named the program’s new head coach, replacing Brian Huckabay, who resigned May 21.
Smalley, a 1994 graduate of Bridge City High School, has spent the last four seasons as the offensive coordinator at Bridge City; before that, he was an assistant at Orangefield for two seasons (2006-07). He also spent time coaching at Little Cypress-Mauriceville and Vidor. This will be his first head coaching position.
“I’m thrilled,” said the 36-year-old Smalley. “This was a great opportunity, and I love the environment here at Orangefield. Athletic directors come and go, but I would like to change that. I want to build this program that brings everyone together. This is such a tight-knit community, and I want the kids to have fun.”
The drama began March 27 when dozens of supporters rallied around Brian Huckabay at a school board meeting. After nearly two hours in executive session, the board voted 3-2 in favor of keeping Huckabay for another year despite many complaining about his offseason policies.
Nearly two months after the extension, Huckabay threw a curve ball and resigned May 21 due to health complications. The coach had knee surgery and didn’t think he would be healed before the season started. Huckabay went 16-14 overall, 6-9 in district in three seasons at Orangefield. The team’s best record during his tenure was 7-3 in 2010.
Smalley, a quarterback in high school, has a tough road ahead in what has become a legit Class 3A district with the likes of West Orange-Stark, Silsbee and Bridge City. The last time Orangefield saw the postseason in football was in 2003.
West rallies to beat East
The West squad rallied from a 13-0 deficit to defeat the East 14-13 at the third annual Southeast Texas Ford Dealer’s All-Star Classic football game held at Provost Umphrey Stadium at Lamar University on June 9.
Quarterback Trey Green of Ozen scored two touchdowns in the second half; one was to Kade Hardy of Huffman, and then he snuck in from two yards out to give the West a win.
Green was named the offensive MVP for the West; East Chambers’ Kirby Johnson was named the Defensive MVP for the West. Davonte McMillan (Port Arthur Memorial) was named the Defensive MVP for the East, and Karrion Morrisey of Jasper earned the Offensive MVP for the East. All four players received a $500 scholarship.
Kountze football coach quits
After just one season, Kountze head football coach Lance Dale has resigned and accepted an assistant coaching job at East Chambers. Dale, who graduated from Hamshire-Fannett in 1991, led the Lions to a 3-7 season last year. Kountze currently suffers the longest playoffs drought of any team in Southeast Texas — 33 years.
Dale applied for the head coaching position at Hamshire-Fannett during the offseason, but the school district hired Kane Harris, an assistant from Midland Lee.
With the job open at Kountze, this will become the 10th new school in the Golden Triangle that will hire a new coach for the 2012 season. In 2005, teams in Southeast Texas saw nine new head coaches.
Hardin-Jefferson hires girls hoop coach
Matt Garrett has been hired to replace Janet Davis, who left H-J after three seasons to move into administration at Lumberton. Garrett, 43, comes over from Class 2A Bowie High School and has gone 396-179 as a head coach at Bowie, Nazareth and Victoria Memorial. Garrett led Class A Nazareth to three consecutive state titles from 2000-2002.
Golden Nugget releases early betting lines
The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas released early betting lines on what it thinks are the 111 biggest college football games for the 2012 season. The intent is to get early money due to the fact the NBA season is virtually over and the only daily sport to bet now in Vegas is Major League Baseball.
Games involving teams from the state of Texas are Florida at Texas A&M (even), Arkansas (-2.5) at Texas A&M, Baylor at West Virginia (-11), West Virginia at Texas (-4), Texas vs. Oklahoma (-5.5), LSU (-8) at Texas A&M, Baylor at Texas (-11), Texas A&M (-3.5) at Auburn, TCU at Oklahoma State (-9), TCU at West Virginia (-6), Texas A&M at Alabama (-20), Baylor at Oklahoma (-20), Kansas State at TCU (-2.5), TCU at Texas (-7), Missouri at Texas A&M (-3), Texas (-3) at Kansas State, and Oklahoma (-9.5) at TCU.