LUFKIN -- The Carthage Bulldogs began the playoffs the same way they have in all nine seasons with Scott Surratt as head coach: with a win.

Senior quarterback Jarod Blissett threw four touchdown passes, and Carthage's defense forced three turnovers in the Bulldogs' 44-20 rout of Bridge City in a Class 4A Division I bi-district playoff Saturday night at Abe Martin Stadium.

Surratt, who is now 32-4 in the postseason as Carthage's coach, will lead the Bulldogs into the area round next week against Houston Stafford. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday from Humble's Turner Stadium.

Carthage's Hunter Townsend catches a 7-yard touchdown during the Bulldogs' 44-20 win over Bridge City in a Class 4A Division I bi-district playoff Saturday night in Lufkin.

Blissett completed 24 of 39 attempts for 331 yards and connected with three different receivers for touchdowns. Senior Jakeldric Jackson was on the receiving end of two, while sophomores Hunter Townsend and Dee Bowens had one apiece.

Townsend had a team-high eight catches for 127 yards, Jackson -- the team's leading receiver for the season -- eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark with his seven-catch, 94-yard effort. Bowens caught three passes for 65 yards.

Carthage's defense set the tone early, keeping Bridge City (7-4) off the scoreboard until Derick Dearing's 13-yard scoring run with 39 seconds remaining in the opening half. The Bulldogs promptly answered with a Rafael Hernandez 39-yard field goal -- one of his three for the game -- as time expired for a 27-7 halftime lead.

Bridge City finished the first half with just 74 yards, 61 of which came on the Cardinals' lone scoring drive before the break.

By then, Carthage had already built a 24-0 lead on the strength of three Blissett touchdowns and Hernandez's first field goal.

Carthage's Dee Bowens races to the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown reception during the Bulldogs' 44-20 win over Bridge City in a Class 4A Division I bi-district playoff Saturday night in Lufkin.

Ravodney Hardy paced the Bulldogs' rushing attack with 11 carries for 81 yards, which included a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter for a 34-14 lead. That score answered Dearing's 22-yard touchdown that capped Bridge City's opening possession of the third.

Hernandez's final field goal -- a 28-yard boot -- pushed Carthage's lead to 37-14 later in the period, and Blissett's 6-yard strike to Jackson ballooned the Bulldogs' advantage to 44-14 in the early stages of the fourth.

Carthage produced points on four of its first five drives of the first half to mount a commanding 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Blissett connected with Townsend for a 7-yard touchdown to complete Carthage's 13-play, game-opening drive. The Bulldogs recovered a fumble at the Bridge City 32-yard line on the Cardinals' first play from scrimmage, and two plays later, Blissett found Jackson in stride for a 30-yard touchdown.

Hernandez's 33-yard field goal capped Carthage's fourth series, and put the Bulldogs in front, 17-0, with 11:48 remaining in the second quarter. Carthage traveled 63 yards in five plays on its next possession, and scored on a 29-yard pass from Blissett to Bowens.

Carthage's Mekhi Colbert (12) goes up for a first-half interception in the Bulldogs' 44-20 win over Bridge City in a Class 4A Division I playoff Saturday night in Lufkin.

Carthage 44, Bridge City 20

Class 4A Division I Region III Bi-District Playoff
At Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin

Bridge City           0      7      7      6    --    20
Carthage            14    13    10      7    --    44

First Quarter
CAR--Hunter Townsend 7 pass from Jarod Blissett (Rafael Hernandez kick), 6:42.
CAR--Jakeldric Jackson 30 pass from Blissett (Hernandez kick), 5:56.
Second Quarter
CAR--FG Hernandez 33, 11:48.
CAR--Dee Bowens 29 pass from Blissett (Hernandez kick), 7:27.
BC--Derick Dearing 13 run (Alfredo Heraldez kick), :39.
CAR--FG Hernandez 39, :00.
Third Quarter
BC--Dearing 22 run (Heraldez kick), 9:09.
CAR--Ravodney Hardy 1 run (Hernandez kick), 6:38.
CAR--FG Hernandez 28, 3:27.
Fourth Quarter
CAR--Jackson 6 pass from Blissett (Hernandez kick), 8:54.
BC--Caleb DuBois 1 run (kick failed), 4:30.

                                             BC                CAR
First Downs                            14                   15
Total Yards                           263                 453
Rushes-Yards                  46-199            23-122
Passing Yards                         64                 331
Comp.-Att.-Int.                   2-5-1           24-39-1
Punts-Avg.                        4-36.8            2-47.0
Fumbles-Lost                         6-2                 0-0
Penalties-Yards                    6-30               8-52

RUSHING--Bridge City, Derick Dearing 8-67, Camden DuBois 15-55, Cayce Draper 9-40, Colt Poole 5-31, Jacob Trahan 1-6, Caleb DuBois 3-4, Hunter Denton 1-(-2), Byron Trahan 4-(-2). Carthage, Ravodney Hardy 11-81, Keontay Ingram 6-35, Jatavion Spillmon 3-3, Jarod Blissett 2-3, Hunter Townsend 1-0,
PASSING--Bridge City, Camden DuBois 2-5-1--64. Carthage, Blissett 24-39-1--331.
RECEIVING--Bridge City, Kane Booth 1-36, Draper 2-28. Carthage, Townsend 8-127, Jakeldric Jackson 7-94, Ingram 4-38, Dee Bowens 3-65, Brewster Griffith 1-4, Jerrod McLin 1-3.

Carthage quarterback Jarod Blissett threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 44-20 win over Bridge City in a Class 4A Division I bi-district playoff Saturday night in Lufkin.