The end of something good is never easy-whether you are the winning team or not.
The end for the Mustangs’ football season came Friday night with a devastating 20-12 loss to Waco La Vega. The Mustangs held the Pirates at the goal line four times, but were unable to hold out for the win. Ending their season 11-2 while still holding the District Champ title and the Area title was a big accomplishment for a young team that some picked to come in second in district behind Kirbyville.

“We had a very young team that showed up August 6th to start the season. We had two good scrimmages before we faced Dayton for our first game,” Head coach Dan Hooks said. “We came from behind to beat Dayton and we just kept getting better every week.”
The seniors leave behind many memories and several new records were set, including Hooks’ 250th win over the Coldspring Trojans in the first play-off game.

DePauldrick Garrett has been a wrecking force since stepping foot on the high school campus four years ago. He will leave his mark as he surpassed the most career rushing yard record set by Terrence Brown in the mid 80’s. Brown rushed for 3,112 yards while Garrett upped the record to 3,251 in his three years on varsity.

“Garrett is one of the best running backs I have seen in high school football. His work ethic, vision, and drive are second to none,” Coach Brett McPhatter said. “He has a great passion for the game and has great instincts to find the holes and use his God given talent to make plays. Because of that, he will be able to compete at the next level.”

Garrett, who many will remember as the player who could stay on his feet while almost parallel to the ground, wasn’t the only one setting records. Senior Ronnie Dennis set a couple of his own. Dennis, who was known for catching “uncatchables” surpassed a record set by Earl Thomas just last year for most punt return yards in a season. He also set the record for the most pass receptions in a single season with 58 catches and is only two catches behind Jacoby Franks in career catches. Dennis finishes his senior career with 82 while Franks holds the record at 84.

Three senior players didn’t start out as Mustangs but ended in the blue and silver, which will go with them for life.

Cory Bell, who transferred here from California his junior year, led the team in tackles this year with 130. He was a team leader on defense and was voted defensive MVP for District 21-3A. Some of the licks he laid could be heard several streets over from the stadium.

By way of Hurricane Katrina came Tim Matherne from Chalmette , La. Matherne played at Chalmette High School on Friday, got his starting position as defensive end on Saturday morning and Katrina struck on Sunday. Fortunately for WO-S, Matherne and his family stopped in Orange and never left, except to evacuate for Rita a couple of weeks later. By the time school started back up, he had sat out his 15 days and was able to start at left tackle in the first game after Rita against Anahuac and he’s been playing ever since for Coach Del Basinger, the line coach.

“Tim came in during the storm when both of our worlds were turned upside down and we just went from there,” Basinger said. “The last two years he has been like an assistant for me. I could always trust him to take a player under his wing and coach them on his side of the line. He’s definitely a proven winner.”

Matherne’s favorite play this year would have to be his big “Dock Block” in the Giddings game.

The other transplanted Mustang, Sam Dixon, who came from Chicago , was a defensive threat to many. Dixon had a great blocked punt against Hardin Jefferson, the only blocked punt of the year.

Carltives Zetar was not the biggest on the team, at 5’6”, 175 lbs. but his hard work paid off at nose guard as he led the team in sacks with 9 for the season. Zetar worked hard in the off-season for Defensive Coordinator Cornel Thompson to earn his starting spot.
Coming up with several unbelievable catches for touchdowns, Josh Rhodes’ game winner against LC-M will never be forgotten, especially by the Bear defenders. With less than a minute in the game and the score tied at zero, Rhodes jumped between two and snagged the ball that saved the day.

Seth Thomas, who occasionally has had to walk in the shadow of big brother Earl, made his presence known on defense, finishing second behind Bell with 97 tackles, even though he sat out two games with an ankle injury. Thomas has had several offers from around the area, including McNeese State University .

Usually the only time the center is noticed is when he doesn’t get the snap off, but Brandon Allensworth made sure he made his presence known, especially at the Giddings game when he hit Alan Dock on a punt return and caused him to fumble the ball. Just the hit was worth it-the fumble was the icing on the cake.

“ Brandon is another one that I could always count on to help me coach,” Basinger said. “He moved from tackle to center and could’ve been a great tight end, but he was willing to play wherever it would do the most good.”

Before every game, after half time and after the game, team leader and motivator Chase Adams led the team in the Lord’s Prayer. After sitting out his freshman and sophomore years to concentrate on basketball, Adams came back and earned his spot; playing anywhere the coaches needed him and giving 100 percent.

“Chase was always there for whatever we needed him for. He always did a super job no matter where we put him. He is the epitome of a team player,” Basinger said.

Bay City was the first loss of the season, but that was the game where Ryyan Edwards really shone.  He had two big tackles for loss and a Mustang tackle, according to Thompson.

The last three seniors, Clint Vital, Joel Gloston and Cedric Dantzler, were players who may not have hit the field a lot, but worked hard and earned the respect of their team mates.

“Clint is what athletics is all about. He worked hard through the off-season and never missed,” Basinger said. “He never really got any credit, but he sure deserves it.”

According to Thompson, the defense may have set another record with four defensive scores in one season. Bell scored on a 60 yard interception return against Hamshire-Fannett. Junior Quintavious Garrett scored on a 23 yard fumble return on the second play of the game against Hardin Jefferson. Ronnie Dennis scored on an 83 yard punt return against Hardin Jefferson and Kevin Robinson had a 27 yard interception return against Orangefield.

Hardin Jefferson was also an interesting game, with all three brothers, DePauldrick, Quintavious and Roderick Simmons scoring in the game. DePauldrick had 3 TDs, Quintavious had 2 and Simmons had one.

Although the season ended too soon for the Mustangs, there comes a time for those of us who are die hard fans to realize that only one team will go home truly happy at the end of the play-offs-the team that wins the State Championship.