In the 35-year history of West Orange-Stark football, only six teams have played in the state quarterfinal game. The 2011 team was one of those six, although they fell to the Coldspring Trojans, 35-13, this past Friday night in Humble at Turner Stadium.

“I thought the kids overcame so much this season,” Head Coach Cornel Thompson said. “We lost a starter at the beginning of the season. Then our injury situation hurt us. We also had a senior starter quit in the seventh week and lost one to grades for three weeks.”

So to go four rounds deep in the play-offs after a 1-3 start wasn’t something that was expected in week four.

“We had back-ups that stepped in and got the job done,” Thompson said. “Great credit goes to the coaching staff and team for staying together even when things got tough. Everyone bought in to what we were doing and we all started playing together. The O-line got better and more consistent as the season went on, in turn improving the team.”

However, the Mustangs weren’t able to hang on this past Friday night to advance to the semi-final round.

The Mustang’s Chain Gang, who had been holding teams to fewer than 180 yards in the play-offs, gave up 445 yards, most of it on the ground to the Trojans.

“We didn’t lose to the ‘sisters of the poor,’” Thompson said. “They (Coldspring) are an excellent ball club, just like we are and they were just able to capitalize on some of our mistakes that cost us.”

The Mustangs never gave up in the fight, though. Senior Britton Lindsey only had 79 yards in the loss, but posted over 1700 yards for the season, even after sitting out a couple of games due to injuries. Lindsey was voted by the coaches as the 21-3A All District Offensive MVP.

Although quarterback Jimmy Salter had a tough game, with two minutes left, he was talking to his receivers on the sidelines, trying to formulate a plan for a late game come-back that never happened. Salter finished the season as the first team All District quarterback, with 143 completions for 1825 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also carried the ball for 348 yards and five rushing touchdowns.

Receiver Nathaniel Colbert had an outstanding game against the Trojans, with 5 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

“We played games in the play-offs one game at a time and that really helped us,” Thompson said. “Keeping our focus on each team helped us not to look ahead. We had a bunch of kids that played hurt. They will have a few days to heal before we start the off-season program preparing for next year.”

Although no one knows what the redistricting will look like until it comes out in February, Thompson doesn’t think things in this area will change much. With that being said, the preseason schedule for next year is pretty much set.

“We’ll open with LC-M next year at home,” Thompson said. “Then we’ll go to PN-G and Central and have Jasper at home for game four. We still don’t know about the fifth game for sure but it could be Giddings again.”

Although this 2011 football campaign is over, the seniors will never be forgotten. Eight seniors made the All District team with four of those making it in more than one position. The WO-S seniors are Lindsey, Derek Ledet, DaCarlos Renfro, Larry Sonnier, Ian Jenkins, Ryan Allen, Lawrence Gilmore, Tawain Lucas, Sheldon Lee, LaDarius Wilkes, Devin Hebert, Matthew Lackey, and Julius Knolley.

The future also looks bright for the Mustangs as seven starters on defense and five on offense will return to play next year. Junior linebacker Daniel Woodson was voted unanimously the Defensive 21-3A MVP and exactly twelve juniors also made the coaches’ All District team with four of those making it in two categories.

On the wall in the field house is a record of wins per season, beginning with eight. On the line with ten wins are several seasons but none will have the title that this years’ will have-STATE QUARTER-FINALIST.

Thank you, 2011 Mustangs, for such a great year! This Mustang Mom couldn’t be more proud of you!!