It’s playoff time, and the West Orange-Stark Mustangs are on the warpath. They came into the season as the team to beat in the district and met those expectations by decisively locking up the division. Everyone knew they would be good, because they are good every year, but nobody really knew how good.

Last Friday, Coach Thompson led the Mustangs into battle against a tough West Columbia squad. The Mustangs came away with the 20-10 win, but weren’t able to employ the same level of dominance as in previous weeks. Some may think they’re finally meeting their match, as far as their level of competition, but this is a team that has shown the ability to adapt and overcome, all season long.

Jimmy Salter has been consistent all season, delivering time and time again, getting the Mustangs whatever points they needed to get the win at the time. He has gotten it done on the ground and through the air with this match-up being no different. Salter went 10 of 12 through the air for three touchdowns to two different receivers. J’Marcus Rhodes, Salter’s favorite target all year long being the recipient of two of those scores and Quinton Tezeno getting the last one.

It wasn’t another “chain-gang”  shut out for the defense, but the boys got the job done holding West Columbia under 100 yards rushing for the day. The crew managed to force three turnovers, scooping up two fumbles and picking off the WC quarterback for an interception. It’s like splitting hairs when you have to think that the Mustangs were slipping because they allowed any points, but that is the standard that WOS has set for themselves racking up seven regular season shut outs and another week before last in the first round game versus Cleveland.

With only one other 21-3A team still alive in the competition, WOS is still this areas only hope for a state champ. Coach Thompson and the Mustangs have made it all the way to the quarter-final portion of the tournament and they face Lorena High School this Friday at 7 p.m. They should be able to pull another victory out, but anything can happen once these teams take the field. That’s why they play the game.

The Mustang Chain Gang held West Columbia’s leading rusher, Floyd Bess to only 48 yards on 11 carries. West Columbia’s quarterback also suffered six sacks. RECORD PHOTO: Meri Elen Jacobs