This week is the Regional Final in the state playoffs. Coach Cornel Thompson at West Orange-Stark said the Mustangs came out of their win last week over Jasper in good shape.
The game with the Bulldogs may have been one of the more physical games of the season, but the Mustangs gave it back as good as they took it. Thompson advised, “Everybody will be ready to go Friday night.” That includes quarterback Tyrone Wilson who missed the game with concussion protocol.
For the second week in a row West Orange-Stark has a rematch with a school they met in the regular season. The Mustangs play the Silsbee Tigers who they defeated for the 400th win in the school’s history during Week 7.
The Tigers have been rolling offensively since that loss to the Mustangs according to Thompson. They are primarily an I-Formation offense and prefer to run the ball. At 9 and 4 on the season West Orange-Stark and Silsbee have identical records. “We better be ready to play them because it’s hard to beat a team twice in one year when the talent level is even and that’s where we are at this time,” Thompson reminded.
Gearing their offense around the run the Tigers use multiple backs to stack up big yards on the ground. Three backs are featured. Drayln Taylor gained 131 yards in the Week 7 game with two touchdowns. Chris Martin like Taylor does not play defense to keep him fresh for the offense. He was kept pretty well in check during the first meeting with 23 yards on eight carries. The third back is Antonius Arline who carried for 75 yards and broke a long run for a touchdown against the Mustangs.
Coach Thompson analyzed the Tigers on defense. In Week 7 Silsbee lined up in a 50 much like West Orange-Stark. Since then the Tigers have switched to a Four-Man even front on defense.
Their “bell-cow” on defense is linebacker Sterling Herrington. Anchoring the defensive line is power lifter Marquell Hale. The defensive secondary is led by strong safety Aaron Sells. Thompson evaluated, “Defensively here we are, we’re pretty evenly matched.”
The Mustangs and the Tigers battled down to the final seconds in their first meeting with Angel Ibarra kicking the game winning field goal for West Orange-Stark with just six seconds left. Thompson believes the same tight contest will be the case this meeting. He thinks it could be the marquee matchup of the weekend especially in Class 4A.
The winner on Friday advances to the semi-final round. Coach Thompson stated stopping big plays could be the key to winning the ball game. The coach wants his “Chain Gang” defense to make the Tigers bleed slowly when they have the football. Silsbee scored two of its three touchdowns in the first meeting on runs of close to 50 yards and have continued that success since then into the playoffs. “Of course, you’re not going to stop them, you’ve got to slow them down is the bottom line,” Thompson concluded.
Friday’s game between West Orange-Stark and Silsbee will be played at Texan Drive Stadium in Porter. The contest will be carried live on KOGT.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-
Thursday Playoff Scores
Newton 79 Daingerfield 12
San Augustine 43 Tenaha 17
Decatur 38 Hereford 28
San Saba 31 DeLeon 17
WF Rider 38 Lubbock Cooper 35
Brock 23 Shallowater 21
Canadian 19 Abernathy 7
East Bernard 17 Tidehaven 0
New Deal 57 West Texas 6
Marsall 47 Huntsville 43