While West Orange-Stark is looking to fine-tune a young football team before the start of District 21-3A play next week, the Jasper Bulldogs will be trying to bounce back from a rough couple weeks when the two teams duke it out at “The Alamo” Friday night.
The Mustangs (2-1) are coming an impressive 31-7 victory over a talented and deep Beaumont Central squad.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (1-2) find themselves in a two-game rut.
Jasper fell to Kirbyville 23-20 last week and fell to the Orangefield Bobcats 30-22 on the road Sept. 6.
Coach Darrell Barbay’s Bulldogs return six starters on both sides of the ball off a unit that went 9-3 and advanced to the area round last year.
“Jasper has hit a bump in the road the past couple weeks but Jasper is Jasper and we know darn well they will be ready for the Mustangs,” said WO-S coach Cornel Thompson. “It’s been a good rivalry for years and years. It’s always extremely tough when you have to go to their place too. They’ll be up there waiting on us.”
There’s no doubt that the Bulldogs have some explosive weapons.
Quarterback Steven Walker is back after having a superb 2012 campaign.
They have excellent backs in DeAnthony Cuney and Terrence Cuney. Receiver Chris Spikes is dangerous as well after he hauled in 12 receptions for 140 yards against Orangefield in that loss.
“Jasper always has tremendous athletes,” said Thompson. “You can’t blow any assignments against that bunch or they will make you pay in a hurry. They have a lot of talent there, they always do. They’ve kinda been snake-bit the last couple weeks with some turnovers.”
The Mustangs dug deep against the Jaguars and showed that they were the more physical team that night.
WO-S limited the Jags to just 232 yards and didn’t allow a point to the last play of the third period.
Offensively, the Mustangs moved the ball last week with a little ground-and-pound rushing attack as they used excellent ball control to total 280 yards, 197 on the ground.
The Mustangs are chewing up 343.7 yards a game.
The two-headed quarterback attack has worked well with Dillon Sterling-Cole and Chase Rutledge.
Cole has completed 19-of-37 passes for 285 yards. Rutledge is 15-of-31 for 163 yards and has rushed for 149 yards on 35 carries.
Tailback Chris James is having a productive senior campaign, rushing for 288 yards on 35 carries.
The Mustangs are getting nice production as well from receivers Dwain Boullard, Will Johnson, Chris Horn and Tre Spencer.
“I was really pleased with our overall effort against that tough Central bunch,” said Thompson. “The kids are working hard to get better, they just have to continue to work at it. We’ve had another tough non-district schedule with one more to go. We want to just try to stay healthy and hopefully come out with a win Friday and then the real season begins when we play Hamshire next week.”
The Mustangs open up 21-3A play Sept. 27 on the road at Hamshire-Fannett.
The Mustangs defeated Jasper 17-7 last season. Quarterback Jimmy Salter passed for 219 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.