The Mustangs are used to breaking records, but the record that they broke Friday night with their 34-0 win over the LaMarque Cougars will be one that goes down in the Cougars books that they might not want to remember. For the first time in 18 years, since 1996, LaMarque was shut out, held to zero points. That is definitely something for the WO-S Chain Gang to hang their hats on.
“I told the kids to savor the win,” Head Coach Cornel Thompson said. “It’s been 18 years since they have been shut out, so we had a reason to celebrate. But when the sun rises, we have to quit celebrating and prepare for LaGrange.”
The win over LaMarque moves WO-S to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs where they will face the undefeated LaGrange Leopards, who beat Hardin Jefferson this past Friday, 36-28.
“I thought we finally got 48 minutes of effort out of our guys,” Thompson said. “I was really proud of that. Coach (Ed) Dyer, our offensive coordinator and Coach (Mike) Pierce, our defensive coordinator had their guys prepared and had a great game plan and the kids executed it well.”
The Mustangs used all three phases of the game to whip LaMarque. “We had a little trouble with our special teams against Giddings, but they were a lot better this week,” Thompson said. “We won in all three phases and we can’t have anything short of that this Friday.”
Starting out strong, WO-S never looked back, even though they were only ahead 7-0 at the half. The defensive first half saw the only touchdown after Mustang Trey Baldwin blocked a Cougar punt setting up great field position on the 34 yard line. Grant LaPoint-Teate moved the ball down the field and six plays later, Baldwin did the honors by toting the ball in from just one yard out.
“I was kind of concerned about their concentration with it being the holiday week,” Thompson said. “We didn’t have school so we didn’t have our athletic period, so they had to mentally prepare themselves to play, which they did.”
The Mustangs came out after half time fired up and were able to score on the first series after Will Johnson returned the kick to the 23. With LaPoint-Teate out of the game with an injury, WO-S called on Malech Edwards to run the ball. Edwards took the ball 18 yards and when Baldwin was denied at the 3 yard line, Deionte Thompson took a direct snap right into the end zone. Kicker Hector Vela’s PAT was good and the Mustangs led 14-0.
On LaMarque’s next drive, the Mustangs forced them to punt and Thompson took the ball 60 yards to set up shop on the 20. Two plays later, quarterback Jackson Dallas found receiver Jeron Preston wide open in the back of the end zone for six more points. Vela added on the PAT to up the score to 21-0. The Cougars were unable to get anything going on the next drive, punting to the Mustangs again on fourth down. The Mustangs took time off the clock, running the ball using Edwards, Baldwin and Jeremiah Shaw before Dallas found Tre Spencer for two yards off of the goal line for the touchdown.
Edwards was able to hit paydirt early in the fourth, scoring from 2 yards out after breaking through the middle for a 39 yard run to set it up.
The Chain Gang defense held the Cougars to only six first downs, only one in the second half and less than 100 yards of offense.
Now, there are eight teams left and the Mustangs are one of them, facing the Leopards, Friday at 7:30 pm at Buddy Moorhead Stadium in Conroe. “If you are still playing in December, then you are pretty good,” Thompson said. “We’ve had trouble the last four years with the fourth round. We’ve just got to go in and play our game to get beyond this round.”
LaGrange, according to Thompson, is “pretty dang good.” JK Dobbins is their work horse who plays quarterback or running back. Other players to watch are Bralon Hutchison and Rylan Rigdon. The Leopards have a pretty solid program.
“We’ve got to do something about Dobbins, Hutchison and Rigdon,” Thompson said. “To this point, I have been proud of our team. We’ve overcome some obstacles with nicks and bruises and defections. We just have to continue to overcome, especially the LaGrange Leopards.”
Tickets will be on sale in the WO-S Athletic office Thursday, December 4th from 9-12 and 1-3pm and Friday, December 5th from 9-12pm only. Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $4 for students. All tickets at the gate are $8. The Mustangs are the visiting team.
The players would like to thank all the fans who have followed them and cheered them on and ask that everyone in the area come out to support them this Friday night. To get to Moorhead Stadium in Conroe (3200 West Davis, Conroe 77304) Take I-10 to Beaumont. Take the 69/96/287 exit toward Parkdale Mall. Exit State Highway 105 and make a left onto Hwy 105. Stay on 105 all the way through Conroe. The stadium will be on the right after passing under I-45.