One more makes 3 for the Mustangs
Meri Ellen Jacobs
For the Record
When the high powered Wimberley Texan offense met the Chain Gang from West Orange-Stark, the saying “Defense wins Championships” was proven yet again. The Mustangs will head to AT&T Stadium, “Jerry’s World,” on Friday to face the Pleasant Grove Hawks, after beating the Texans, 30-21, to play for their fifth state title.
“Our guys gave a great effort and beat a quality team,” Head Coach Cornel Thompson said. “They made big plays but we were able to adjust and force them to run. They came to play and it was a battle. We were fortunate that we won the contest.”
The Texans definitely made big plays, the first one coming just a few seconds in the game when Texan quarterback Jordan Weeks hit a wide open Cade Stoever for an 84 yard touchdown. Two series later, Jarron Morris returned a punt to the 28 yard line and on the next play, WO-S quarterback Chaka Watson took the ball to the end zone for a score. Kicker Chad Dallas’ PAT was good and the game was tied at 7.
Two plays later, Weeks was picked off by Jarron Morris. But the Mustangs weren’t able to move the ball and Dallas had to punt to the Texans. Wimberley scored three plays later when Weeks found Stoever again for a 69 yard touchdown.
Watson put on a show on the Mustangs next possession, when he ran 81 yards to set up the Mustangs second touchdown. Kavyn Cooper took the ball in from 7 yards out on the next play. Dallas’ PAT was no good, leaving the Mustangs trailing by 1.
Watson made the Texans pay on the next series after Weeks’ punt stopped inches from the goal line. Taking the snap for a quarterback sneak, he snuck through the line and ran 99 yards for a touchdown. The Mustangs went for two but an illegal formation penalty cancelled out the conversion and put the ‘Stangs back on the 7. Dallas put the ball through the uprights and the Mustangs took the lead, 20-14.
Morris got in on the action when the Texans punted to him, as he took the ball on a bounce, went back and forth, slipping through tackles and headed 76 yards to the end zone for six. Dallas kick was good and the Mustangs were up, 27-14.
With less than a minute in the half, Weeks found Gavin Martinez for a 39 yard touchdown.
Both teams hit the locker room with the Mustangs leading 27-21.
The second half was a defensive challenge as only the Mustangs were able to hit the end zone, when late in the game, Dallas hit a 25 yard field goal to add three. Two on the defense made crucial interceptions on the Texans last two series of the game, sealing the win for the ‘Stangs. Justin Sibley picked off Weeks and returned it 19 yards, while Morris intercepted with 9 seconds left.
“We couldn’t seem to cover their wide outs so we made some adjustments and double covered them,” Thompson said. “We also put 5 guys in the box. We had pass pressures from Paul Ivory and Ja’Qualen Coleman also.”
The Mustangs will now focus on the undefeated Pleasant Grove Hawks. The Hawks defeated Graham, 45-14 last Thursday. The two will battle it out Friday, December 22 at 3 pm at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Mustangs are the home team.
The Hawks run an offense all too familiar to WO-S, the Wing T. They also run a 50 defense, like the Mustangs.
“They are kind of like Kennedale,” Thompson said. “They are very athletic.”
The Hawks are led by sophomore quarterback Ben Harmon, who throws the ball well. Tailback TJ Cole and fullback Josh Roberts are also an important part of the offense. On defense, linebacker Caleb Porchia and rover Xavier Benson are players to watch.
“We will have to have a great week of workouts,” Thompson said. “We have a job to finish. These kids have no idea the impact they have had on ‘Fruit City.’ This has been a year of turmoil with so many being affected by Harvey and this has drawn everyone together. “
According to Thompson, there will be plenty of peaks and valleys in the game and it will definitely be a tough 48 minute contest, just as state championships should be.
“My message to the kids is to relish and savor this week,” Thompson said. “Starting today-Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, will be the most important week of their athletic lives. And it will be a week that they remember for life.”
The WO-S athletic office sold tickets Tuesday and Wednesday only, with Wednesday’s sales ending at noon. Tickets can be bought on Ticketmaster 48 hours prior to the game or at the stadium for $15. Age one and up must have a ticket to get in. Gates will open 1.5 hours prior to game time. All fans will be subject to being searched upon entering and the stadium has a clear bag policy. Cowbells are allowed but no air horns or whistles.
Kennedale, the team that the Mustangs beat in overtime this season, will play Carthage for the state championship for 4A Div. 1 at noon before the Mustangs play.
The community is invited to the send off for the Mustangs on Thursday morning. The team will leave the high school at approximately 8 am and go by all three of the other campuses as well as down 16th street.
“The coaches, players and I would like to thank the fans for supporting us during our play-off run. Hopefully everyone can make the game,” Thompson said. “But if not, tune in and support us. Believe me, we have noticed our following.”