It’s not the size of the package but the size of the heart.
The Mustang Insider
By: Meri Ellen Jacobs
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs are definitely not known for their size but their heart sure showed Friday night when they faced an offensive line that averaged 280 pounds and a Panther offense that was averaging 375 yards a game. The Chain Gang defense held the Liberty Panthers to just 77 yards on the ground and no pass completions as the Mustangs won, 32-0.
“It doesn’t matter the size of the package, our kids have big hearts,” Head Coach Cornel Thompson said. “Friday was a good step forward, especially for our defense. Our players grew up. It puts us forward and gives us what we have to have to catapult into the playoffs. ”
With the win over Liberty, the Mustangs are assured a part of the district championship. A win over Orangefield this Friday night will earn WO-S the outright title while a loss would put the Bobcats and the Mustangs sharing the title.
The Mustangs played a full 48 minutes of football to notch their 34th consecutive win. While the defense was swarming the ball all night, the offense was running like a well-oiled machine.
Quarterback Chaka Watson was the first one to score on a one yard touchdown run. Running back Kavyn Cooper and Watson combined to move the ball 48 yards down the field with the run. Chad Dallas’ PAT was good and the Mustangs led going into the second quarter.
The Chain Gang forced the Panthers to punt after three and out and it only took 6 plays for Cooper to get in on the scoring with a 9 yard run. Dallas’ kick was good and the Mustangs led, 14-0.
Right before the half, Liberty threatened to score with a 51 yard field goal attempt but the kick was too short and wide left.
After the half, the Mustangs took the ball and moved down the field with a couple of passes from Watson to Jarron Morris and Watson to Blake Robinson, as well as 15 yards on the legs of Cooper and scored on their first possession. Morris bobbled the snap for the PAT but was able to outrun the defense and score a two point conversion.
Watson scored again on a 15 yard run to start the fourth quarter and later Dallas hit a 32 yard field goal for three.
“We had players that grew up and people that stepped up,” Thompson said. “Several didn’t make tackles but they made plays so others could make the tackles. Our defensive ends, Tyshon Watkins and Herzel Washington did a good job. We also had several that showed some unselfishness.”
The Mustangs will face the Orangefield Bobcats Friday night as they celebrate the seniors that are a part of the football program, as well as cheer, band and drill team.
“We are in the same scenario as last year playing them,” Thompson said. “Coach Smalley coaches his players to be over achievers. They play hard with less talent. He may get more out of his team than we get out of ours.”
The Bobcats beat Hardin Jefferson last Friday, 13-12. Their only district loss was to Liberty in week 7, 24-16.
“There’s no way that they should’ve beet Hardin Jefferson,” Thompson said. “And I don’t want that to happen to West Orange-Stark. You can bet that they will have a good plan for us but hopefully we will win the outright district championship in our yard.”
The Bobcats depend on quarterback Christian Louvier, who is basically a running back that takes snaps. Dylan Williams and Zack Dischler are also a vital part of the offense.
“The seniors need to embrace this ball game because it’s the last one that they will play on Mustang turf,” Thompson said. “I’m going to be here next year but they aren’t. It’s not my last but theirs. They may not realize how special this night is until several years down the road.”
The combined freshmen/JV team will play their last game at Orangefield on Thursday beginning at 5 pm.
Tickets for the varsity game will be on sale in the athletic office Thursday, 9-12 and 1-3 pm and Friday, 9-12 only. Prices are $5 for adults and $3 for students. The seniors will be honored at the afternoon pep rally as well as prior to the game.