Two rounds have been completed in the state football playoffs. The West Orange-Stark Mustangs played one of their best games so far this season last week in the Area Round of the playoffs winning 42-14 over the La Grange Leopards.
Coach Cornel Thompson is happy to see a more complete effort with the playoffs now entering the third round. The coach voiced his opinion that the Mustangs came out of the chute ready to play for the first time this year. West Orange-Stark put the game of reach early.
There was a little lull to the Mustangs’ momentum in the third quarter against La Grange that Thompson was not happy with, but West Orange-Stark regrouped and finished well. “I thought we played admirably in a second round game, we did a good job,” Thompson evaluated.
A familiar opponent is this week for West Orange-Stark in the Bellville Brahmas. Thompson said Bellville runs the Slot T Offense with variations. The Brahmas have changed offensive coordinators who has added some things to that basic run offense.
The changes added by the new offensive coordinator have made the Brahmas more dangerous. They do not stay in the typical two tight ends of the normal Slot T Offense. Bellville will shift into three wide receivers to one side and into the Spread. This causes opposing defenses to take their tacklers out of the box.
There’s new life in the Brahmas’ offense. In their last five games they are averaging over 43 points a game, all wins. Thompson admitted, “That’s really a major concern for us.”
The Brahmas are led especially on offense by sophomores according to Coach Thompson. Fullback Richard Reese is a sophomore and has rushed for 1,846 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Joining Reese in toting the football is another sophomore Robert Briggs at a slot back. Briggs is a bullet with 833 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Bellville quarterback is also a sophomore. Jake Lischka has passed for 581 yards resulting in eight touchdowns. “They’ve got three quality players there,” Thompson professed.
Bellville uses two players at tight end who are also stalwarts on defense. Grayson Mays is a four-year starter for Bellville. He played for the Brahmas when they faced the Mustangs in 2016. Mays has grown from 185 pounds as a freshman to a real specimen now at 225 as a senior.
Mays is a defensive end lined up next to Dalton Bills at a tackle. Bills is a senior and 215 pounds. Coach Thompson admits it is going to be a task for the Mustangs to block either one of those two or both of them on every play.
Thompson analyzed the Brahmas defense as being very multiple in their alignments on that side of the ball as well. Bellville bases out of the 4-3, but will show a 4-2-5 look or a 3-3 Stack. The Brahmas are acknowledged as being very well coached based on past playoff experience with the Mustangs. Thompson pointed out, “There’s a reason that they’re in the playoffs every year.”
Both teams are entering this third round game on a roll. West Orange-Stark has won seven straight games suffering their only loss of the season in Week 3. Bellville is riding a five-game winning streak. The Brahmas last loss was to the Giddings Buffaloes who play the Silsbee Tigers from the Mustangs’ district this week.
West Orange-Stark is coming off possibly its best game of the season. Coach Thompson explained why he thinks the Mustangs are playing their best ball of the season is continuity. There have not been any games called because of weather or scheduled byes for now six consecutive weeks.
The Mustangs have stayed thankfully predominantly healthy during the recent stretch of games. Thompson thinks West Orange-Stark is getting better on both sides of the football. “We’re doing some good things and we need to continue doing that if we’re going to be successful in the playoffs,” Thompson concluded.
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs and the Bellville Brahmas play Friday night at Randall Reed Stadium in New Caney. The game will be carried live on KOGT beginning at 6:30 PM.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-