Last week was one the West Orange-Stark Mustangs would like to forget. That does not mean Coach Cornel Thompson will not remind the players of what he considers a step backwards taken by the Mustangs in the loss to Jasper.
The coach sees two different football teams on the videos of last year’s team that went to the state championship and this season’s squad. The only thing that has changed is the personnel. Thompson commented, “Same offense, same defense, the only thing that’s changed is the numbers and the people’s names that’s on the field trying to execute our offense and defense.” Some good news there are no injured Mustangs according to Thompson.
This Friday night is the start of district for West Orange-Stark. The competition is the Silsbee Tigers who are very good on offense according to Thompson. The coach flatly stated it does not matter what the Tigers have done on offense previously because against WO-S they will line up in the same alignment that Jasper did and attempt to run the ball right at the Mustangs.
That is what Thompson is telling the Mustangs and what they are working on in practices. He admitted there will be some new faces on the field in an attempt to slow down the Silsbee offense. “Maybe we’ll find somebody that will play for 48 minutes,” Thompson confessed.
The Tigers have two good running backs. Dralyn Taylor is shifty and has good speed. Chris Martin exhibits good straight, ahead speed and quickness for the Tigers. A team leader on offense for Silsbee is tight end Sterling Herrington.
Scoring the most points is how you win the game. Coach Thompson right know is less concerned about the Mustangs scoring points against a good Silsbee defense than he is about stopping them from putting up points on the board. He said the Mustangs offense is scoring plenty of points to win, but they’ve given up way too many in the tradition of the “Chain Gang Defense” at West Orange-Stark.
On defense Silsbee is led again by Herrington at linebacker. The Tigers have several two-way players including Marquell Hale at noseguard who is solid and hard to move. Two Tigers that standout in the secondary are Cameron White at a corner position and Jalen Davis at free safety.
Athletically, the coach believes the Tigers are superior to the Mustangs. “I don’t know which one of our football teams is going to show up,” Thompson analyzed.
Coach Thompson reminded Friday night will be a historical game for West Orange-Stark High School football. The game will be the 500th in the history of Mustang football and a win would give West Orange-Stark 400 victories for a winning percentage of .800 the greatest record in Texas high school football history. Thompson questioned, “I don’t know what’s it going to take to motivate these guys to play for 48 minutes. We may not be capable, we may not be good enough to play 48 minutes, but I don’t believe that. I believe that we are, we should be playing a lot better than we are.”
Friday’s contest with Silsbee is the start of district for West Orange-Stark and as the coach said the 500th football game in the history of the school. Coach Thompson is hoping both of those items will serve as motivation for the Mustangs. “If you can’t get ready and play for 48 minutes in this kind of a contest at home you’re a dead man. It’s my fault, and I’m going to take full credit for putting you out there on the field if you won’t play for 48 minutes, bottom line,” Thompson concluded.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-