It may have appeared on Friday night that the Mustangs were getting a slow start, but it was hard for quarterback Jimmy Salter to decide which “weapon” he was going to use first. However, once he chose John Scott to get the scoring started, there was no looking back in the 49-0 romp over the Hardin Jefferson Hawks.

“Give Hardin Jefferson credit. They played well and they played hard,” Head Coach Cornel Thompson said. “They had two weeks to prepare for us and we definitely got their A game.”

The defense worked hard all night long, only giving up one big play early in the contest when HJ quarterback Jared Gieseke hit receiver Andrew Martel down the sidelines for a 52-yard gain. However, the Hawks had to settle for a field goal attempt and the ball sailed wide right as HJ walked away with no points on the board.

The Mustangs quickly went to work, and Scott was able to put points on the board with 11 seconds on the clock to finish the first quarter. Kicker Rodikson Cano, who was seven for seven on PATs, put WO-S up, 7-0.

The next weapon Salter chose was sophomore Dre Spencer who caught an 18 yard pass in the end zone for the second score. The Hawks, who used clock control to keep the score down, kept the Mustangs from scoring when they recovered a fumble in the red zone late in the second quarter.

“We played much better offensively in the second half,” Thompson said. ‘We stayed with it and our conditioning was also a factor.”

Scott struck again on the first play from scrimmage after the half, when he hit the line running and went 61 yards for six.

“John (Scott) had a big run. He hit his block and headed north for the score,” Thompson said. “We have really been working with our running backs on running north, not east and west.”

Next, Salter chose weapon J’Marcus Rhodes to carry the pigskin in on an 8-yard pass. After Cano’s kick, the Mustangs were up, 28-0 with plenty of time left in the game. To end the third quarter, running back Abear Simien tore into the end zone from one yard out and a Cano kick set the game at 35-0. Salter still had weapons to use, although he didn’t want to use them all in one night. A hand-off to Ar’Tevin McDonald went 20 yards for what most thought would be the final touchdown.

Down 42-0, the Hawks, who had mustered negative yards rushing and only one first down, started their best drive of the game. Gieseke used the strength of Devan Cooper to push forward for yardage.  With 12 seconds left in the game and threatening to score, Gieseke went to the air, looking at Martel in the end zone. The ball, tipped by senior Kaleb Franklin, was snagged by linebacker Joe Lynch, who took the ball 96 yards for a touchdown as time ran out.

And Salter had completed his mission of using seven weapons to score with,  sixteen overall who moved the ball upfield with their legs or arms, while the defense posted its fourth shut-out of the season and 85th in the history of the program. The defense has held opponents to an average of 147 yards a game while posting close to 300 on offense.

The defense played well all night, limiting the Hawks to (-2) yards rushing and only 75 passing, with four first downs. Sophomore Deionte Thompson had a spectacular night snagging two of Gieseke’s passes, one that set up the Simien touchdown.

The Mustangs will have an open week this Friday, but at the corral, the team is still working hard, preparing for the next two contests that according to Thompson will be extremely difficult mental tests.

“We don’t want to lose the edge that we have,” Thompson said. “We will use the open date to work and condition and possibly put in some new stuff, but for us it isn’t an off week. Orangefield and Buna run the same type of offense-the slot T and we haven’t done well in the last few years against their offense.”

Orangefield is led by Carl Willey, who has carried the ball 103 times for 713 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Eric Truncale is also a threat with 474 yards and four touchdowns of his own. The Bobcats are averaging 347 yards a game while giving up 356, but posted almost 600 against Hamshire-Fannett in this past weeks’ 54-28 win.

This will be the homecoming game with festivities kicking off with the parade Monday night at 6:30 p.m. The parade will start on Western close to the water tower and will end at the high school with a community pep rally immediately after at Dan R. Hooks Stadium. The homecoming court will be announced and then the king will be crowned on Friday at the Homecoming pep rally around 3:15 and the queen will be crowned during half time of the game. Tickets for the game will be available at the normal hours-Wednesday 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday 9 to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. and Friday 9 to noon.

The subvarsity teams all won this past Thursday. All four middle school teams won, with no one scoring on the Stallions. The ninth grade team played Silsbee since Hardin Jefferson doesn’t have a freshman team and won, 22-16. Maliki Hodge started the scoring with a 37 yard pass to Thomas Wallace. WO-S’ Devon Williams fell on the ball in the end zone for a two-point safety. Hodge also completed two other passes for touchdowns- a 13-yarder to Wallace and a 33-yard pass to Kobe Colbert. JD Thompson scored a two point conversion. The freshmen team is now 4-2.

The JV team faced the Hawks JV team and came out with a 58-0 victory. Jordan Richard scored two touchdowns on a 13 yard and four yard runs and two two-point conversions. Trey Baldwin scored on a one yard pass from quarterback Jermaine Mitchell and also on a two point conversion. Dillon Sterling had a 15 yard touchdown run and Caleb Collins caught a two point conversion thrown by Sterling. Sterling also scored on a 55 yard run. Two fumbles were turned into touchdowns. Dee Wolfford picked up a fumble and ran it in from 40 yards out while Elijah Teel recovered a fumble for a touchdown. Defensive standouts were Teel, Steven Tims, Mitchell and Wolfford while offensive standouts were Sterling, Cameron Herbert and La’Jarious Sonnier.

The Subvarsity teams will combine to play Orangefield next Thursday night at Orangefield at 5 pm. The Stallions will take on the Bobcats at home at the middle school stadium.

Come out and enjoy all of the homecoming festivities next week, beginning with Monday’s parade. This Friday, support one of the other local Orange County teams. Wear your blue and silver and let the teams know that WO-S supports them…at least when they aren’t across the field from us.

Pictured: As the leading rusher for the game, John Scott carries the ball one of nine times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. RECORD PHOTO: Meri Elen Jacobs