Staff Report

In a ceremony complete with a pep rally and DJ, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs were awarded the ‘Army Strong Texas Team of the Year.’ The presentation took place at Mustang Gym at WOS high school on Friday. The Mustangs are featured in the latest edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine on stands now.

“It is because you rose above adversity and achieved greatness despite all that you had been through,” said Brad Hilliard a representative of the magazine. “We came to respect what you and the school, and the community had to overcome.”

Early in the 2010 high school football season the team lost senior quarterback Reggie Garrett Jr. who died of natural causes on the sideline Sept. 17 during a home game against Jasper. Garrett had just thrown his second of two touchdown passes. Despite the tragedy, the Mustangs advanced to the second round of the Class-3A state football playoffs after going undefeated in Dist. 21-3A.

Two U.S. Army soldiers made the trophy presentation to Coach Dan Hooks.

Hooks took the microphone and motioning to senior wide receiver Mark Roberts said, “Mark, come up here and bring one of your buddies with you.” Roberts and running back Darius Mitchell jogged to join the group at mid court where Hooks gave them the trophy.

“This is truly a great honor for West Orange-Stark, the community, the faculty and the staff,” Hooks said, “but mostly for this group of football players. We truly appreciate this.”

“Yes, they did overcome adversity,” Hooks said, “a traumatic event but they rose above it and played well and went into the playoffs. I’m proud of them.”

Presenting the trophy were U.S. Army Sgt. Kelly Heathman and Captain Charles Carroll.

The ‘Army Strong Texas Team of the Year’ honors one football team for each classification. The Mustangs received the honor in Class 3A.

The ‘Winter Edition’ of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine featuring the West Orange-Stark Mustangs are now available in stores and online.