The Orange Leader
WEST ORANGE —
There’s no question about it, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs have a young team that wants to take steps each week to get better.
Well, Friday night at Dan Hooks Stadium, they took a nice leap forward.
Getting a strong effort from its defense and using a hard-nosed running attack, the Mustangs demolished Beaumont Central 31-7.
The Mustangs (2-1) had the answer early and often against the Jaguars (1-2), who made a ton of mistakes, especially in the early going.
The Mustangs took advantage of two bad special teams plays by Central that led to 10 points in the first quarter. The WO-S defense stopped Central’s offense three times in the red zone on fourth down and also came up with two interceptions.
The Mustangs received a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown from quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole while fellow quarterback Chase Rutledge rushed for two more.
WO-S outgained the Jaguars 280-232.
“The kids came out here and got after it,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “The first half was great. We had a few breakdowns here and there in the third quarter but I’m so proud of our kids. We’re still a young football team and it shows at times. We were much better than last week. We took a very nice step tonight, we’ve just got to keep getting better each week. I’m proud of them. We had a great week of practice and it carried over tonight.”
Cole completed 7-of-13 passes for 83 yards and rushed for 40 yards. Tailback John Scott rushed for 65 yards on 11 totes while Rutledge had 54 yards on seven carries.
Jaguar quarterback Michael Jacquet competed just 10-of-24 passes for 87 yards and two picks. Central tailback Devwah Whaley had a nice outing, going for 101 yards on 15 carries.
“Central is an extremely talented team and I’m glad we won’t have to face them a month from now,” said Thompson. “Last year, I thought they were the most athletic team we faced with the exception of Navasota and they have a lot of those kids back. It was a tremendous accomplishment to get a win here for sure.”
Mustang defensive back Kalen Garrett picked off a Jacquet pass at the Jaguar 28 and returned it to the 26 with 9:15 in the first.
WO-S hit paydirt six plays later.
WO-S converted a first down on fourth-and-4 from the 20 when Cole pitched the ball to James, who ran seven yards for a first down. Two plays later Cole kept the ball, going 10 yards off left tackle for the touchdown. Kicker Rodikson Cano nailed the extra-point, making it 7-0 with 6:52 left in the first.
Central punter Ian Bramble took a snap on the next Jaguar series but his knee went on the ground before he kicked it and the Mustangs took over at the Jaguar 16.
Central’s defense held firm and the Mustangs settled for a 27-yard field goal by Cano with 3:57 in the first.
Special teams woes continued for the Jaguars.
A punt snap went way over Bramble’s head, all the way back to the Jaguar 25 where the Mustangs took over with 1:43 in the first.
Five plays later the Mustangs found the end zone again. John Scott carried twice for 10 yards and Cole toted it twice for 12 yards and Chase Rutledge capped it when he scored from three yards out from the Wildcat quarterback slot as WO-S snared a 17-0 lead with 11:55 left in the half.
The Mustang defense kept Central off the board late in the first half, stopping the Jaguars on two fourth down plays. Garrett came up big again on the second fourth down play when he stuffed Jacquet on a fourth-and-3 play from the WO-S 14 with 3:08 in the half.
The Mustangs limited the Jaguars to just 42 total yards in the first half. Jaguar tailback Devwah Whaley had 45 yards on 11 carries while Jacquet completed 3-of-7 passes for 20 yards.
WO-S had 103 yards in the first 24 minutes.
Cole rushed for 40 yards on eight carries and completed 2-of-8 passes for 27 yards, including a 24-yard screen pass to Chris James.
The Jaguars drove all the way to the Mustang 5 on their first series of the second half with help from a 40-yard pass by Jacquet to receiver Garrison Mitchell. However, the Mustangs stuffed back Exavier Jones on a fourth-and-2 from the 5.
The Mustangs promptly responded with a outstanding 10-play, 95-yard scoring jaunt.
Key plays in the drive included a 24-yard run by Scott and a 16-yard pass from Cole to Boullard that went to the Jaguar 19. Two plays later Cole rolled right and found Boullard with a eight-yard touchdown strike in the end zone to up the margin to 24-0 with 5:56 in the third.
WO-S halted another Central drive when Tavin Terrell picked off a Jacquet pass at the Mustang 25 with 3:50 in the third.
The Jaguars got on the board with a nice five-play, 87-yard scoring drive to end the third. Terrell later suffered an injury with just 0:56 remaining in the game and was carted off the field with a right arm injury.
“That was so tough to watch,” said Thompson. “Tavin gave a great effort tonight and we’re going to miss him. You hate to see that with just 56 seconds left.”
Kamon Darby broke loose for a 36-yard run to the Mustang 39 and Whlaey capped it with a 39-yard touchdown scamper down the right sideline on the last play of the quarter.
The Mustangs had a quick answer though, navigating 43 yards in four plays on the next series with Rutledge finishing it off with a 32-yard keeper around the left end as he bulled his way into the end zone to up the lead to 31-7 with 10:12 remaining.
“I was real pleased how we controlled the ball some with our running game,” said Thompson. “You want to be able to do that when you get a lead like we did. Not one turnover tonight, that’s great. You would love that every week.”
The Mustangs will venture to Jasper next week to face the Bulldogs.
WO-S 10 7 7 7 —31
Cen 0 0 7 0—7
WO-S: Dillon Sterling-Cole 10 run. Rodikson Cano kick.
WO-S: Cano 27 field goal.
WO-S: Chase Rutledge 3 run. Cano kick.
WO-S: Dwain Boullard 8 pass from Cole. Cano kick.
Central: Devwah Whaley 39 run. Juan Perez kick.
WO-S: Rutledge 32 run. Cano kick.
First downs 17 17
Rushes-yards 40-197 39-123
Passing 83 109
Comp-Att-Int 7-13-0 11-25-2
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-28 3-15
Rushing: WO-S, John Scott 11-65, Chase Rutledge 7-54, Dillon Sterling-Cole 10-40, Chris James 12-38; Central, Devwah Whaley 15-101, Damon Thomas 6-14, Michael Jacquet 11-11, Kamon Darby 3-28, Exavier Jones 2-(-2), Ian Bramble 1-(-14), Team 1-(-15).
Passing: WO-S, Dillon Sterling-Cole 7-13-83; Central, Micahel Jacquet 10-24-2 87, Ian Bramble 1-1-0 22
Receiving: WO-S, Dwain Boullard 2-24, Chris James 1-24, Deionte Thompson 1-15, Caleb Collins 1-7, Tre Spencer 1-3, Chase Rutledge 1-0; Central, Garrison Mitchell 1-40, Michael Jacquet 1-22, Kamon Darby 1-7, Ian Bramble 2-22,, Carnell Seals 2-14, Damon Thomas 2-(-7).