With one season under his belt as the athletic director and head coach at West Orange-Stark, Coach Cornel Thompson is excited about what this year brings. Although his first season last year began a little rough with a 1-3 start, Thompson and the Mighty Mustangs ended up going four rounds deep in the play-offs before losing to the Coldspring Trojans in early December.

“I felt like we were better than Coldspring,” Thompson said. “We just didn’t perform well that night and had too many turnovers. Of course, when you make it to the play-offs, your season will end in a loss unless you win the state championship. We just didn’t get it done last year.”

But the Mustangs have a plan and a goal for this 2012 football season, starting with two-a-days, the two scrimmages, preseason, district and then on to the play-offs.

“We have to take care of business one game at a time from the beginning to the end,” Thompson said.

And the Mustangs have the personnel to do just that, starting with quarterback Jimmy Salter, who has been the starter the last two seasons and will fulfill that role again this year. J’Marcus Rhodes, who led the Mustang receivers last year in reception yards is also back and will be a threat on both sides of the ball. The offensive line returns three in Dillon Brackens, Jerquis Beasley and Austin Rutledge.

“Our offense goes as the o-line goes,” Thompson said. “They have struggled a little early, but one of them was out and we have been giving some of our younger ones time on the line.”

But the Mustangs first two scrimmages were against two very good football teams in Nederland, who is picked to win their district and Vidor, who does a lot of stunt plays and went three rounds in the playoff.

The Mustangs won two touchdowns to one in the scrimmage against the Bulldogs but lost to Vidor with the same score.

“We have a lot of starters back on defense so we should be pretty good,” Thompson said. “We are still looking at our defensive line, trying to get the right combinations but we look to be pretty good there.”

Returning on defense is Jhayllien Monette at noseguard, Colin Janice, Daniel Woodson, Joe Lynch, Quentin Tezeno and Travon Blanchard, who is making a switch in positions from the defensive end spot to safety.

Coach Ed Dyer, who has been a Mustang coach for at least twenty years, moved over during the off season from the defensive line coach to the offensive coordinator position. Other new faces on staff include Harold Haymen who took Dyer’s place coaching the defensive line; Tim Green, who is a Mustang graduate and also played for SMU, will be in charge of the defensive ends; Paul Thomas, another former Mustang graduate, will be coaching the running backs and Del Basinger, who has previously coached, came back out of the classroom to coach the offensive line.

The Mustangs will face the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears in the Orange Bowl on Friday at Dan R. Hooks Stadium at 7:30pm. The annual tailgate party will kick off the afternoon right after the first pep rally at 3pm in the Career Center parking lot. The tailgate party is open to the public and tickets for the game can be purchased at the WO-S athletic office beginning Wednesday-1-3pm, Thursday-9-12 and 1-3pm and

Friday-9-12 ONLY. Tickets are $5 for Reserved and $2 for the student section and all tickets at the gate are $5.