Three straight trips to the state championship game and back-to-back titles have the West Orange-Stark Mustangs riding high. Is a third consecutive state championship in the future for the Mustangs? Head Coach Cornel Thompson expects WO-S to be in the playoffs every year, and the team has advanced to at least the fourth round each season Thompson has been the head coach, but he advises to make it to another championship the Mustangs will have to get better fast.
To keep the Mustangs’ offense running Coach Thompson has several players back. Paul Ivory has experience with three years on the varsity and starting last year in the offensive line. Also with some experience in the offensive line are Bobby Rash and Adrik Mims.
Back as a wide receiver is Blake Robinson. Kavyn Cooper gained quite a few yards in a mop up role as a running back last season. Thompson believes Cooper was WO-S’s best overall running back, and he is coming back on the offensive side of the ball.
Defense has been the basis of the last two state championships at West Orange-Stark. Thompson, however, is looking for a leader on this year’s Chain Gang defense. Ivory will also log time on defense in the line. Davien Teate got starting time last year at linebacker when Justin Brown had a broken arm, and Teate’s experience will be invaluable.
Thompson is looking for a great year from Tyshon Watkins at defensive end. Jarron Morris returns at one corner and Teshaun Teel is also coming back in the West Orange-Stark secondary. “We’ve got a little experience back there,” Thompson states.
The Mustangs may be reloading this year following graduation, but Coach Thompson has at least two silver and blue bullets with which he can load the West Orange-Stark gun. Justin Sibley did not see a lot of playing time in the Mustangs’ championship run last year, but the coach thinks Sibley will show good things as both a running back and a slot receiver this season.
Chaka Watson will be the new quarterback. He can run very well and has great speed. Thompson implies the WO-S offensive philosophy will have to change from when Jack Dallas was at the helm. The Mustangs will use Watson running the option and the zone read plays as well as the sprint out and boot legs more. Thompson praises, “Those are two on the offensive side of the ball I think are going to come out and have a good year.”
The annual Texas Football magazine has picked West Orange-Stark to compete for another state championship this season. Thompson is not quite ready yet to start having himself fitted for another ring. The coach admits the magazine’s writers are not looking at the same practices he and the Mustangs’ coaches are observing.
The Mustangs will have a number of fine prospects according to Thompson, but presently they also have a bunch of suspects. “We’re lacking leadership at this time. We came in in poor, poor shape so I am very disturbed about that. We better hurry. I’m questioning how much pride we’ve got cause a bunch of our guys have been standing looking and riding the coattails of the last two state championships. It’s time for them to perform, and we must pick up speed in practice,” Thompson concluded.