Coming off a loss in Week 1 meant some changes for West Orange-Stark prior to last week’s game. Coach Cornel Thompson reflected on how the Mustangs responded in the second game of the season. Faces were changed on defense and on offense. Thompson commented, “Our kids went out performed and played hard, they made a few mistakes, but they did play hard and that’s what we were looking for, for 48 minutes.”
This Friday night will be a big test of the new attitude for the Mustangs as they play the state ranked Newton Eagles. Thompson evaluated the Eagles on offense. They are a multiple offensive football team. The Eagles can spread it out and then tighten down. Newton bases out an old Wing-T with two backs.
The talent is thick at Newton as already about five of their players have been offered Division 1 college scholarships. Quarterback Josh Foster was the starter last year when the Eagles won the state championship. He will provide leadership for the offense.
Joining Foster in the backfield is Darwin Barlow who rushed for 2,246 yards and 38 touchdowns during the championship run. Another standout on offense is Tamauzia Brown who can run the ball or catch it from where ever he lines up for Newton. “I love this type of game, we’ll find out who will and who won’t, and who can and who can’t, that’s the type of football game this is going to be,” Thompson exclaimed.
On defense Newton uses a somewhat unique formation which Coach Thompson described. The Eagles use a one linebacker scheme called Solo and also known as a 10-1. Celina and Newton have used it for years. Newton will show multiple sets out of that formation and use man-to-man coverage. The coach compared the Eagles on defense to a stirred-up ant bed. Thompson praised, “They do a great job with their scheme.”
Foster and Brown are the key starters on defense at the two cornerback positions. Playing centerfield at free safety is Zach Gulley. Jadrian McGraw is stepping in at the linebacker position after the graduation of Foster’s older brother. McGraw saw enough playing time last year to make 112 tackles with nine sacks and two interceptions.
Two of the best teams in southeast Texas will go head-to-head Friday. This is the kind of matchups Thompson strives for to get West Orange-Stark ready for the district games and later the playoffs. Neither the Mustangs nor the Eagles have a lot of teams calling them to play in non-district, but this game will have a playoff like atmosphere surrounding it.
This will be the first of two tough tests for West Orange-Stark as next week the Mustangs play the very good Class 5-A Crosby Cougars. “Win, lose, or draw we’re going to gain more out of these contests than we would by beating somebody by a big margin. I relish being in this kind of contest and putting the kids in this situation and find out what we’re truly made out of,” Thompson concluded.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-