The West Orange-Stark Mustangs and the Orangefield Bobcats entered Friday night undefeated in district and tied for first place. When the night finally concluded the Mustangs were alone in first place after defeating the Bobcats 27-7 at F. L. McClain Stadium in Orangefield.
West Orange-Stark (6-1, 4-0) has won its last six games and are the only undefeated team in District 11-4A, Division II. Orangefield (5-2, 2-1) drops into second place with the loss.
The game was delayed over an hour because of lightning and did not begin until 8:45 PM instead of the scheduled 7:30 kickoff. At least one and possibly two stadium light standards went out in the second quarter which further delayed the playing of the game for another fifteen minutes or so.
The rain had ceased by the opening kickoff, but the field was wet and officials were constantly drying the footballs. The Mustangs took advantage of two poor snaps on attempted Orangefield punts to score quick touchdowns once in each half.
On its opening possession the Mustangs ran a reverse with Dakarion Judge who busted loose for 61 yards to the Orangefield 19. Elijah Gales scored two plays later from the 14 to give West Orange-Stark a 6-0 lead with 6:16 left in the first quarter.
Orangefield responded on its next possession using the Wildcat formation as Cameron Dischler took a direct long snap and found daylight for 44 yards to the Mustang 17. Hunter Ashworth got a first down to the one on an 8-yard run before scoring on the next play. Ty Butler added the point-after to give the Bobcats a 7-6 lead with 2:38 to play in the first period.
The next Bobcat possession was the first of the bad snaps which went over punter Dischler’s head and he was tackled at the Orangefield 24. Gales carried two times for 11 and 13 yards to reach the end zone for the second time. He then ran in the two-point conversion to put the Mustangs up 14-7 about a minute and a half into the second quarter.
Orangefield missed out on a golden opportunity to possibly tie the game in the closing minute of the half. Quarterback Brayden Parker completed a short pass to Morgan Sampson who then lateralled to Dischler who sprinted down the sideline all the way to the Mustang 30. The play would have covered almost 30 yards, but it was called back on a holding penalty against the Bobcats and the half ended with no more scoring.
Just as it did in the first half, West Orange-Stark took its first possession of the second half for a score. On first down Gales broke several tackles before racing down the right sideline 68 yards to the Bobcat 21. After Gales picked up a first-and-goal at the six, Jailen Brown ran the final six yards to give the Mustangs a 20-point lead with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
A penalty against West Orange-Stark on the point-after was enforced on the ensuing kickoff which resulted in great field position for the Bobcats who started at their own 48. Orangefield could not move the ball, and when forced to punt Dischler fielded a low snap with his knee on the ground downing the play at the 32 of Orangefield.
Gales cut loose again on a 32-yard run for the final score of the game. Cristian Quiteno Polio added the final point with 4:05 to go in the third quarter.
The big difference in the game was the running of Gales who scored three of the four touchdowns for West Orange-Stark. Gales had 175 yards on 15 carries surpassing the Bobcats total of 173 yards rushing.
The Bobcat ground game was balanced with Gavin Perry-Koci running for 69 yards. Dischler and Ashworth gained 61 and 57 yards respectfully on the ground for Orangefield.
Both teams had trouble passing the ball. The Mustangs’ Keyshawn Robinson was only 3 of 8 for minus two yards. Brayden Parker of Orangefield was one of eight for four yards and suffered an interception.
West Orange-Stark will play the Liberty Panthers next Friday at Dan R. Hooks Stadium on Senior Night for the Mustangs. Orangefield will travel to Bridge City to play the Bayou Bowl.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-
photo by Darren Hoyland
WOS 6 8 13 0- 27
OF 7 0 0 0- 7