The Orangefield Bobcats have clinched at least a third-place finish in District 12 4-A. The Bobcats won a thrilling game with Hardin-Jefferson last week to guarantee they will finish no lower than third. Orangefield still has a chance at the district championship with a win this week.
The opponent this week is West Orange-Stark, and Coach Josh Smalley said the Bobcats have a real challenge slowing down the Mustangs’ Spread Offense. The Mustangs prefer to run the ball out of the Spread, but they do have the players to throw it as well. Smalley pointed out, “They’re balanced offensively, they like to run the football, but they do have the ability to put the ball in the air to make you defend the perimeter of the field, and also the deep ball.”
Chaka Watson at quarterback is the one that makes the Mustang offense go. He is an outstanding runner with 435 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Watson can also throw the ball as evident by his almost 450 yards passing good for seven more touchdowns.
The offensive threats do not stop with Watson. Kavyn Cooper is the Mustangs’ leading ground gainer with 735 yards. Jarron Morris and Kaleb Ramsey are the top two receivers to which Watson throws the ball.
West Orange-Stark is known for its outstanding defense, year after year. Smalley looked at the Mustangs’ “Chain Gang” defense and praised WO-S Coach Cornel Thompson and his staff for the excellence and consistency of West Orange-Stark on defense. The 50 defense the Mustangs use has not been changed in decades, and every year they are one of the top defenses in the state. “It looks like sometimes they’re playing with 14 or 15 kids on defense because they’re just everywhere out there,” Smalley observed.
Linebacker Davien Teate is the heart of the Mustang defense and makes things go for the “Chain Gang”. Paul Ivory anchors the defensive line. Both Cooper and Morris also star on the defensive side of the ball.
A victory Friday by Orangefield would create a three-way tie for the district title between the Bobcats, the Mustangs, and the Liberty Panthers. Coach Smalley outlined the keys for Orangefield in this important contest as the same every game, but are emphasized more because of the caliber of the opponent this week in West Orange-Stark.
The Bobcats must limit the big plays by the Mustangs and force them to work the ball downfield. On offense Orangefield must avoid pre-snap penalties, turnovers, and playing behind the sticks with long yardage situations. The goal is to keep the Bobcats’ offense on the field and the Mustangs’ offense on the sideline. “It’s one of those games you have to play your perfect football game, and our kids will compete. I like their fight, and I like their grit, and I like their attitude. We’re going to go over there and compete Friday night as hard as we can and hopefully play well enough to compete for a victory,” Smalley concluded.
Orangefield plays at Dan R. Hooks Stadium in West Orange on Friday night. The kickoff between the Bobcats and Mustangs will be at 7:30 PM.