For the seventh straight season the West Orange-Stark Mustangs have advanced to the quarter-final round of the state football playoffs. Coach Cornel Thompson is fortunate to have a health squad going into the elite eight. Several players went into last week’s contest with minor injuries or sickness, but they have come out of that game in very good shape.
The Mustangs’ opponent in the Regional Finals is Salado. Thompson pointed out the Eagles run a familiar offense West Orange-Stark has faced over 20 times in the last two seasons. Salado’s Slot T Offense is maybe the most potent one the Mustangs have faced this year because the Eagles do have the ability to throw the football as well as run it which they do most of the time.
Leading the Eagles’ offense is Coach Alan Haire’s son Hayden at quarterback. Standing at 6’4” Hayden is tall enough to throw the ball with effectiveness when Salado needs to throw a wrinkle at opposing defenses. Otherwise the Eagles like to stay with their run game. Fullback Trey Sheppard is dangerous on the quick trap. Halfback Aaron Torczynski is the power runner off tackle for Salado. Then they have slot back Cade Deploys who runs the buck sweep. The Eagles pose four or five problems for the Mustangs’ defense. “You’re not going to stop them, but hopefully we can slow them down,” Thompson believes.
The two teams use similar defensive alignments according to Coach Thompson. The Eagles are a 50-Defense and do basically the same thing as the Mustangs. They are a pressure defense also like the “Chain Gang” is. Thompson indicated, “They’re almost a mirror image of our defensive front.”
Salado’s defensive line is the strength of the Eagles’ defense. Zach Adams at 6’2”, 220 pounds is a defensive tackle the Mustangs are going to have to deal with. The coach admitted Adams will be very difficult to block. The noseguard is Andrew Sniggs and is a returning starter from last year as is Adams. Sniggs is very active and a dangerous player that can penetrate into the opponent’s backfield. Tommy Barker is the other defensive lineman, and along with linebacker Matt McCall are key defensive players for the Eagles.
West Orange-Stark always wants to win at least two of the three phases of the football game. Coach Thompson stated the Mustangs need to execute all three phases this week against Salado, but they especially need to step-up their kicking game this week.
Numerous mistakes by the Mustangs’ specialty teams like a blocked punt and three long kick returns kept a very good Madisonville team in the game last week. “We’ve got to go out and win the offensive, defensive sides of the ball this week or we’re not going to be playing next week. We’ve got to get better in the kicking phase of the game,” Thompson concluded.
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs play the Salado Eagles on Friday night at Legacy Stadium in Katy. The kickoff is at 7:00 PM, and the game will be carried live on KOGT with a replay of the broadcast Saturday at 7:00 AM.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-
|WOS (11-0)||Salado (12-1)|
|Bridge City 39-6
Orangefield 54-0Brookshire-Royal 54-0
Hyde Park 35-27
Fairfield 35-42 OT
Connally 41-7Columbus 42-14
Bellville 13-10 OT