Last week the West Orange-Stark Mustangs were scheduled to play the Jasper Bulldogs. Jasper was under COVID-19 protocol and the game was cancelled.
Coach Cornel Thompson of the Mustangs has battled illness himself this season and updated his condition as well as his team concerning the Coronavirus. Thompson said he is doing fine after having blood clots in his lungs following his getting the COVID vaccination. He has a doctor’s appointment in the coming days to confirm the clots are gone.
The team does not have any problems with the Coronavirus currently. Thompson indicated, “I hope we don’t have any that are going to pop up in the next couple of days, but right now we seem to be okay.”
The Mustangs resume action this week on the road in Newton. The Eagles operate out of the Wing T and do shift into multiple formations from that including the Shotgun or no backs, but prefer two backs to run the ball.
Thompson pointed out the Eagles have a star running back in DeAnthony Gaston to lead them. Last year he had over two thousand yards rushing with 29 touchdowns. Gaston was a work horse a couple of weeks ago toting the football 38 times for Newton.
Thompson saw the Newton game against Kirbyville and reported that Gaston is an outstanding runner. “He’s a 205-pounder, hard to tackle, so we’re going to have to deal with him,” Thompson warned.
For years Newton has used the same defensive formation which Coach Thompson called Solo or Seven Diamond with a single linebacker and has used it on occasion himself with the Mustangs. He described the Eagles as using an aggressive pressure style defense coming up the field with man coverage in the secondary for the most part.
The Eagles pursue the ball very well, and they are difficult to block. Thompson advised, “They’ve got athletes on the defensive side of the ball, and the thing about them is they’ve got everybody back from last year because they were mostly sophomores and juniors, so they’ll be very difficult to deal with.”
The Mustangs and the Eagles have played each other for several consecutive seasons. West Orange-Stark dominated the series in the early years of the rivalry, but Newton has won several games in the more recent seasons despite being two classifications lower.
Last year was a rare blowout by West Orange-Stark against Newton, but Thompson is not anticipating a repeat of that on Friday night. He reminded that the Mustangs have not won in Newton the last two times they have played there. Newton returns almost everybody back from last year when the Eagles were district champs. The Mustangs lost 23 seniors off their football team from last year which means many of them have never played in a varsity situation at Newton, while Thompson knows it’s going to be very difficult.
This is the final game for West Orange-Stark before the start of its district schedule, and Coach Thompson promises it will be a battle. “I look for a 48-minute contest, they’re waiting on us, they weren’t real happy about last year’s game, but they were young, they played a full season of about 12 or 13 games, so they’ll be waiting on us when we show up in Newton, Texas,” Thompson concluded.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-