After getting all they could handle from old rival Jasper, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs lived to play another day thanks to what will be known as The Mustang Drive” Friday night at Turner Stadium.
Mustang sophomore quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole engineered a six-play, 67-yard scoring drive in the waning minutes of the game, finishing it off with a 13-yard touchdown strike to receiver Will Johnson over the middle of the end zone on third-and-goal with 1:28 left in the game as the Mustangs held off the Bulldogs 18-16 in the Class 3A Region III Division I semifinals in what turned out to be the “Rumble in Humble.”
Sterling-Cole connected with receiver Dwain Boullard on a 17-yard gain on the first play of the series. Two plays later, the same pair hooked up again as Boullard hauled in a 41-yard reception down to the Bulldog 3.
Running back Chase Rutledge scored on what looked to be a three-yard touchdown but it was called back due to holding.
After being stopped for no gain and then an incompletion, Sterling-Cole hit a wide-open Johnson just inside the middle of the end zone for the game-winner.
“This will go down as another WO-S-Jasper classic,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “Jasper got after us all night. It was just great to see the poise we had there at the end. Dillon (Sterling-Cole) was magnificent on that final drive. Our receivers made the key catches too. We feel fortunate to walk out of here with a victory. At this point, that’s all you want to do.”
Johnson was elated to nab the game-winner.
“I broke out on my route, knew I was open and Dillon delivered it to me on the money,” said Johnson. “We were really calm on that drive and we knew we had it in us. We made the key plays when we had too. Give Jasper credit, they played hard and got after us. Wow, what a way to end it.”