Mustang season ends with Rattlers
A season that ended all too soon.
That is what any Mustang fan, player or coach would say about this years’ season that came to a close last Friday night against the Navasota Rattlers at Turner Stadium in Humble. The Mustangs, who ended an almost perfect season, where many records were set and broken, lost to the Rattlers, 38-7.
“The coaches prepared the kids last week,” Head Coach Cornel Thompson said. “They were prepared with great practices during the week and they were focused. We just weren’t able to get the job done.”
Although the Mustangs were trying to fight their way back into the game from the first few minutes, they never gave up and worked hard in the trenches to try to stop the Rattlers.
“Once you get to the play-offs, you are playing teams that are almost all seniors,” Thompson said. “We are starting five sophomores. This unit, however, set a lot of school records on both offense and defense. To have nine shut-outs with two in the play-offs is very impressive.”
The Mustangs’ leader, quarterback Jimmy Salter, who was chosen as the Offensive MVP of the district, had many accomplishments in his career at West Orange-Stark. Salter was impressive in his first start as a sophomore after being thrust into that role after quarterback Reggie Garrett passed away only two weeks prior. And 35 starts later, Salter has stats that not many can lay claim to. He started in 10 play-off games, completed 344 of 601 passes and finished his career with 4717 yards in the air. However, the stat Salter is most proud of is completing his senior year with a record low 5 interceptions-the first one coming in game ten of regular season.
“My favorite game this year was against PN-G,” Salter said. “And my favorite play was the 50 yard touchdown pass I threw to J’Marcus Rhodes in the Lorena game.”
Rhodes also made the All District team on both sides of the ball-first team wide receiver and first team cornerback. According to Rhodes, his biggest personal accomplishment while playing varsity was making a contribution to the team and getting better at what he was doing while helping the underclassmen get better.
“Every game was my favorite game,” Rhodes said.
The district’s defensive MVP, Joe Lynch, led the team in tackles for the year and has been starting on varsity, along with several others, for three years. Lynch felt his biggest personal accomplishment was making it to the quarterfinals two years in a row and he also agreed with Rhodes that all games were his favorite.
Quentin Tezeno, who made All District on both sides of the ball, offensively as kick return man and defensively as cornerback, agreed with Lynch that his biggest accomplishment on varsity was going four rounds deep both years. Tezeno’s favorite game was this years’ play-off game against Cleveland when he returned a kick for a touchdown. He was also ‘the man’ who scored twice against Bridge City last year to help the Mustangs win in a close game.
Outside linebacker Ar’Tevin McDonald also made first team All District. He felt that the teams’ biggest accomplishment was winning district again and breaking the shut-out record. McDonald blocked a punt in the Cleveland play-off game that Will Moore fell on in the end zone for a touchdown.
“My favorite game was the Silsbee game,” McDonald said. “It was a great match-up and we played 48 minutes of great football.”
Moore, who made second team All District Outside Linebacker, said that his biggest personal accomplishment was being a part of the best defense in the state.
“We played hard every snap and never settled for less,” Moore said. “Excellence was an expectation.”
Another player who made second team, but on the offensive side of the ball as a wide receiver was quiet Tremaine Anderson. Anderson, who could block, run and catch said that his favorite game was Navasota because it was his last and he played it like it was his last.
Defensive lineman Jhayllien Monette also made first team all district. Monette can be remembered by his sack on BC’s quarterback Matt Menard last year at the end of the game that saved the win for the Mustangs. His biggest accomplishments were being 13-1 and being a part of the #1 defense in the state.
Kaleb Franklin, also a first team pick as defensive lineman said his favorite game was against Lorena. He felt like the team could brag on the fact that “we had a good speed team that played 48 minutes.”
Dylan Brackens, who was a first team pick on the offensive line agreed with Franklin about Lorena being his favorite game.
“I had the big block of the week and my best bud had two interceptions and he (Deionte Thompson) set the tone for the game,” Brackens said.
Some of the hardest hits on defense have been by first team outside linebacker Colin Janice. Anyone who saw the LC-M game knows what Janice is talking about when he says his favorite play was sacking the Bear quarterback for a safety in the first game of the season.
“My biggest accomplishment while on varsity was making other players better while improving myself,” Janice said. “While on varsity, my team’s biggest accomplishment was bonding together with our brotherhood.”
Travon Blanchard, who made first team All District safety, says his favorite game was against Navasota.
“With that being my last high school game, I cherished things that I usually don’t pay attention to,” Blanchard said.
Last years’ MVP for defense, Daniel Woodson, scored first team defense as an inside linebacker. Woodson agreed with most of the defense that going 13-0 with nine shut-outs prior to Navasota was the team’s biggest accomplishment. Woodson was also known to be a hard hitter.
“Making first team all district (offensive line) was something I was the most proud of,” Austin Rutledge said. “I feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself.”
Rutledge, whose younger brother is back-up quarterback Chase Rutledge, said that his favorite play was in the Silsbee game when he “pancaked” the noseguard and his brother ran behind him for 20 yards.
“Being able to let four years of the Mustang legacy pass through me and not me through it” was Ra’Shon McDonald’s answer to his biggest person accomplishment on varsity. McDonald had several pivotal catches in big games throughout the season.
Kane Tezeno’s favorite game was against PN-G, when he scored his first touchdown.
Abear Simien, who was the leading rusher for the Mustangs this season, with 784 yards, made the All District second team.
To finish out the seniors is a young man who didn’t get to play after being injured in the Buna game, but was the biggest encourager on the sidelines, Elvis Hubert.
“Our team’s biggest accomplishment was that we came together and showed not only that we are great on the field but we serve the community and put the city on our backs,” Hubert said.
Although the season is over and all of the football equipment has been turned in, the memories and records will last forever. Thanks, Mustangs, for a wonderful and unique year-one that has never been before and will never be repeated!
Pictured at top: Defensive lineman Jhayllien Monette leads the defense on hitting Navasota’s Xavier Creeks. RECORD PHOTOS: Meri Elen Jacobs