Last week was a big road victory for Orangefield. The Bobcats went into Liberty and defeated the Panthers 34-13.
Coach Josh Smalley summarized Orangefield’s win on the road last Friday as a good one adding the Bobcats had not played well in Liberty their last few trips there. The Orangefield defense held the Panthers to only 13 points while the Bobcats rushed for big yardage to secure the triumph.
Orangefield remained undefeated in district. Smalley reminded, “Now we get to move on to the gold standard of this area this week.”
The gold standard of high school football locally are the West Orange Stark Mustangs. Smalley is impressed with the Mustangs’ Spread Offense. They have two standout running backs in Elijah Gales and Jamaal Shaw. Sophomore Keyshawn Robinson who began the season as the third stringer has been starting at quarterback the last two district games for West Orange-Stark, both were Mustang victories.
The offensive line for the Mustangs may be the best assembly of blockers Smalley has seen in high school football. The group of five linemen are led by the center Demetrius Hunter who is committed to play his college ball at Oklahoma.
The Orangefield coach praised the work of West Orange-Stark Offensive Coordinator Ed Dyer and his staff for using a third string quarterback and still rolling up impressive numbers like the Mustangs have done so far in district. The Bobcats must try to stop screen passes wide and the potent running game while tackling in space because the Mustangs have players that can take it to the house on almost every play.
Dyer has implemented the Wildcat formation now for West Orange-Stark using Gales at quarterback. “It just gives something else we’ve got to kind of prepare for and look forward to,” Smalley pointed out.
West Orange-Stark is known for its defense, and Coach Smalley analyzed the Mustangs’ 50 defense which they have been doing since the 1970s as very good. Not much has changed in those five plus decades.
Leading the Mustangs on defense are Carmello Jones and Bryson Jordan at defensive tackles, and noseguard Andrew Wilson in the front line. The secondary has Jadon Jones and Dakarion Judge as standouts. Both Gales and Shaw will add speed and toughness as Mustang defenders.
An attribute of the Mustangs on defense is they all swarm to the football, Smalley observing it sometimes looks like they have 15 or 16 guys on their side of the ball making the tackles. Smalley explained, “You’re not going to trick them. You’ve just got to line up and play, and do what you do, and be physical trying to match their physicality and their tempo of the game, and try to move the ball against them.”
The Bobcats and the Mustangs are both undefeated and tied for the district lead going into Friday’s game. Smalley provided the first key for Orangefield to win the game is to stop one of two things the run or the pass. He believes the West Orange-Stark running game is what makes the Mustangs go so that is the first priority and then not giving up the big play which they are so good at pulling off with their skilled players.
On offense Orangefield must avoid turnovers and penalties to sustain the Bobcat drives in order to control the football which will keep the Mustangs’ offense off the field. Smalley admitted West Orange-Stark is the program the Bobcats need to beat to raise the Orangefield program to the next level.
Smalley commented it is fun to go against top ranked state competition like West Orange-Stark to see how Orangefield stacks up against them. “If that’s where we want to be one day, where we want our program headed, that’s who we’ve got to go through,” Smalley concluded.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-