For The Record – Meri Elen Jacobs

The Mustangs stormed into NRG Stadium Friday night and left no doubt in anyones’ mind as to who was moving on to the state championship game to be played in “Jerry’s World” this Friday at noon. WO-S will face the Sweetwater Mustangs, who beat Gilmer, 48-35 last week.
“We have 48 minutes left in our season,” Head Coach Cornel Thompson said. “This is the game that everyone has been waiting for but we tell the kids that this is a business trip. We are going to Dallas to take care of business, not to sightsee.”
The Mustangs lost the toss and had to kick to the Panthers, who try to hog the ball. However, when the run didn’t work after two plays, Navarro went to the air, but was immediately picked off by Jarron Morris. Morris was knocked out of bounds at the 25 and Dallas and company set up shop. Eight plays later, the ball went over on downs while the Mustangs came away empty-handed.
Navarro wasn’t able to do anything with the ball and the Mustangs got decent field position to start their second drive. Five plays later, Dallas hit Keion Hancock down the sideline for the first six points. Kicker Chad Dallas’s PAT was good and the Mustangs led, 7-0.
On their next possession, Dallas wasted no time moving the ball down the field before carrying it in from 6 yards out for the score. The PAT was good.
The Panthers made a deadly mistake by punting to KJ Miller, who returned the punt 65 yards for a touchdown. This made Miller’s fifth punt return for a touchdown this season.
On the Mustangs’ next possession, Dallas hit a wide-open Jarron Morris for a 47 yard touchdown and the last score for the half came on another touchdown pass from Dallas to Hancock for 23 yards. The Mustangs left the field with a commanding 35-0 lead.
“I felt like we played a heck of a first half,” Thompson said. “We didn’t come out in the third quarter ready to play but we finally got our feet under us and finished the contest. We went in focused early to get the job done.”
Navarro came out in the second half with a little fire. After holding the ‘Stangs to three and out, the Panthers drove the ball down the field and scored on a 17 yard pass. Navarro attempted an onside kick and recovered the ball at the fifty yard line while the purple and black dressed fans went crazy.
But the Chain Gang defense woke up and stuffed Navarro on fourth down to take the ball back. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Mustangs would hit the end zone again. Miller was able to get one hand on an Eveld pass, pull it in and run 71 yards for the score. Late in the fourth quarter, Kayvyn Cooper took the hand-off and zipped 18 yards for six. Dallas, who was 7 for 7 on the night, made his last PAT.
The Mustangs know what they have to do in order to claim another state championship. According to Thompson, they must stay focused and practice hard Monday, Tuesdayand Wednesday.
“This is a big week for us with a lot of outside interruptions,” Thompson said. “The players must stay focused on the task at hand. This bunch has the opportunity to be the first team to ever own a 16 game victory season and the first team to win in Dallas.”
The Sweetwater Mustangs are heading to the state championship game for the first time since the 80’s. They are 13-1 with a 19-16 loss to Monohan. The Mustangs spread offense is  led by junior quarterback Chris Thompson, who has thrown for over 3000 yards and 34 touchdowns. Other returners on the offensive side of the ball are two way running back Jacoby Hunt and receivers Luke James and Jordan McGee.
“This bunch has athletes,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be a contest like when we went and faced Gilmer. They are pretty good on both sides of the ball or they wouldn’t be where they are.”
The bell cow on defense is Hunter Mobley, the coach’s son, who was All District last year and led the team in tackles. Another player to watch on their defense is noseguard Tate Rainey, who is a two way guy. The defense the Panthers run is a 5/3 or 3/3 stack.
“I would like to thank the fans and the following along the way,” Thompson said. “We notice that. It’s a big deal and we don’t take it lightly. Everyone loves a winner and I want to return to Orange, Texas a winner.”
The game will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington at noon on Friday. Tickets were available on Tuesday and Wednesday until noon. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $15, both adults and students. Age 1 and up must have a ticket. Parking is $10 at the game. The gates will open at 10:30am. All fans will be subject to the stadiums clear bag policy and will be searched upon entering the stadium. No airhorns or whistles but cowbells and shakers are allowed.
Please come out and support the WO-S Mustangs in their last 48 minutes as they play for a state championship title.