WEST ORANGE —
The task should be a much tougher one for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs, they certainly know that.
After dismantling the Cleveland Indians 57-0 in the Class 3A Region III Division II bidistrict playoffs last Friday, the fourth-ranked Mustangs (11-0) are gearing up for a much stiffer challenge in the forms of the West Columbia Roughnecks (8-3) Friday night at 6 p.m. at Channelview’s Maddry Stadium in the area round.
The Roughnecks certainly have a storied football history, just like the Mustangs.
The two programs have hooked up before. The Mustangs downed the Roughnecks 30-7 in 1987 in the third round on their way to the Class 4A state title.
Coach Randy Lynch led the Roughnecks all the way to the 3A Division I state semifinals last season where they fell to eventual state champion Chapel Hill 21-16, finishing 13-1.
“West Columbia has a proud football tradition, just like us,” said WO-S coach Cornel Thompson. “They went four rounds deep last year and won 13 straight games in the process. They have several key returners off that group. To put it simple, they have guys there that know how to win, they’ve proven that.”
West Columbia roughed up Houston Kashmere 33-6 in the bidistrict round.
The Roughnecks welcomed back nine starters off the state semifinalist squad with several key veterans that certainly know what picking up W’s are all about.
West Columbia likes to keep things simple, utilizing a power ground attack to try to thwart opposing defenses.
They like to hand the ball off to tailback Floyd Bess, who has 934 yards and 14 TDs on 123 carries.
Broderick Thomas has 514 yards and 11 TDs on 87 carries.
Quarterback Willis Johnson has rushed for 338 yards and four TDs on 40 carries and has completed 24-of-49 passes for 459 yards and three TDs.
“They will certain offer up a challenge to our defense,” said Thompson. “They like to run it and they like to run it a lot. The biggest thing is that they like to run the ball in a variety of ways in so many different multiple formations. They’ll be in the I-formation one play, they might be in the Wishbone next and then they’ll even go no-back. We’re really preparing for just about anything. They’re pretty darn good, no doubt about it, they’re averaging more than 360 yards a game.”