Lone Star Gridiron

Mustangs 40th Win Earns the Right to Play at State

West Orange-Stark vs Wimberley 121517

Chaka Watson and Jarron Morris Lead the Way

Legacy Stadium, Katy - Friday night saw the Semifinal battle between the West Orange-Stark Mustangs and the Wimberley Texans. The Mustang enter the game at 12-0 and riding a 39 game win streak that includes back-to-back state championships. The Texans come in at 13-1 and haven't reached this far in the playoffs since winning a state title in 2011. At stake? Another gold ball and a trip back to the state championship game next week at AT&T Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Wimberley began with the ball on their own 15 and and JoJo Weeks tossed an 85 yard TD score to Cade Stoever. Just 21 seconds into the game, the Texans led 7-0. West Orange-Stark responded with what looked like a drive but quickly turned. A Mustang fumble recovered by Texan Thomas Carruthers  set the Texans up at their own 47. Unable to do anything with the gift, they returned the ball to WO-S on their 13.

On their second possession of the game, the Mustangs were unable to make anything happen and soon they were punting the ball away. The Texans' took over at their 37 but found themselves punting. A Mustang return to the Texan 28 put them in great field position. One play later, Chaka Watson rambled untouched to the endzone for the tying score 7-7.

Jarron Morris made short work of the Texans next drive by intercepting Weeks' pass on the 32. This marked only the second interception thrown by Meeks all year. The Mustangs weren't able to capitalize on the gift and gave the ball to the Texans over on down at the 28. JoJo Weeks got his groove back as he launched a 71 yard TD score to Wyatt Mann with 1:07 remaining in the first quarter. 14-7 Wimberley.

The Mustangs began their final drive of the 1st quarter at their own 7. Chaka Watson make a couple of quick shakes and rambled 80 yards down to the Texan 10 before being tackled by Cade Stoever.  At the start of the second, West Orange-Stark was sitting at first and goal at the 7. Kayven Cooper pinballed in for the score to make it 14-13 Texans after the missed PAT.

The Texans next had a five minute drive that ended up going for naught as they punted the ball down to the West Orange-Stark 1 foot line when JoJo Weeks made the touchback saving touch. It was all Chaka next as he sprinted left and exploded 99 2/3 yards to the end zone giving the Mustangs their first lead of the game. At this point in the game, Watson had 5 carries 210 yards!  With 8:03 to go in the half, West Orange-Stark led 20-14.

Wimberley responded by marching the ball from their 15 up to midfield. At that time, penalties drive the Texans all the way back their own 21 where they ended up punting the ball back to the Mustangs.  Morris took the punt, danced around tacklers causing a half dozen to fall over before weaving his way through the Texans 77 yards for another West Orange-Stark score - his second of the nght. With 3:26 to go in the half, the Mustangs led 27-14.

The Texans took the final drive of the second half down to the Mustang 39 and it appeared they would run out of clock. With 18 seconds left on the clock however, Weeks connected with Gavin Martinez and a score. West Orange-Stark would take a 27-21 lead into the break.

The second half saw both teams swap punts before the Mustangs started their next drive on the Texan 40 yard line. Justin Sibley reeled off a 22 yard run to the 18 and it appeared that West Orange-Stark was set to go up by two scores once again. The drive was ended when Hunter Bonugli intercepted Watson at the 4 yard line. Unable to make anything happen, they punted it back to WOS giving the Mustangs great field position once again at the Texan 25. This time, Stark was able to take advantage of the field position when Chad Dallas knocked in a 25 yard field goal for the 30-21 lead with 11:57 to go in the game.

Starting at their own 21 and down by 9, the Texans needed to make something happen. A 21 yard run by Carruthers was all they could manage before punting it away. The punt was blown dead at the Mustang 10 yard line where they took over with 10:20 to go in the game.

West Orange began a methodical clock-burning drive in hopes of salting away the clock and locking down their lead. Wimberley had other plans as their defense stepped up big forcing another Mustang punt.

Needing a score with time running out, the Texans came up one yard short on 4th and 7 when Weeks scrambled. From there the Mustangs continued to run the clock when they had the ball and despite a couple of valiant tries by Wimberley, it was the West Orange-Stark sidelines that erupted as the final seconds clicked off.

The Texans finished with a 13-2 record and the best since their 2011 state championship. It was Head Coach Doug Warren's best season. The Mustangs move to 13-0 with this, their 40th consecutive victory. West Orange-Stark will next face the Texarkana Pleasant Grove Hawks next week at AT&T Cowboys Stadium for the Class 4A DII State Championship title.

by Chris Doelle

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