orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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December 26, 2012

2012 All-Orange Leader Football Team

ORANGE — Another superb Orange County football season wrapped up after the West Orange-Stark Mustangs advanced all the way to the Class 3A Region III semifinals.

The five Orange County schools combined to notch a overall record of 35-21.

The Mustangs (13-1) stormed to their eighth straight District 21-3A title and set some school records in the process. WO-S has won 23 games the last two seasons under coach Cornel Thompson.

WO-S notched a school-record nine shutouts and at one point had allowed no points through 25 straight quarters. Also, quarterback Jimmy Salter became the school’s all-time leading passer and J’Marcus Rhodes became the all-time leading receiver.

The Vidor Pirates (9-2) rumbled to their second straight playoff berth with their amazing running attack, one that chewed up more than 400 yards per game on the ground alone under quarterback Montana Quirante and head coach Jeff Mathews. The Pirates have piled up 19 wins of their own the last two campaigns.

This year’s Bridge City senior class will leave with some pride. After all, Coach Cris Stump’s group has made the playoffs for four straight seasons. The Cardinals (5-6) lost a lot of key folks off the 2011 team but the seniors on this year’s squad proved that they were not going to be left out of the equation, making the postseason despite having some doubters way back in August.

Little Cypress-Mauriceville (4-6) had its share of high moments behind the explosive legs of tailback Alex Sezer and the late surge by quarterback Caleb Harley.

Coach Randy Crouch’s Bears put up some nice numbers on the offensive side of the ball and got a huge win at home over a ranked Coldspring team while also dismantling 20-4A rival Port Neches-Groves.

The Orangefield Bobcats competed well under the leadership of first-year head coach Josh Smalley.

The Bobcats (4-6) used a vaunted running attack to wear down opposing defenses. Orangefield was right in the hunt for a playoff spot to the very end before falling to their rival Cardinals in the Bayou Bowl in the season finale.

The Orange Leader Friday night staff, which includes Van Wade, Gabriel Pruett, Steven Pollock, Gerry Dickert, Tommy Mann, Jr; Mark Pachuca, Troy Jones, Mike Louviere and Greg Mann would like to congratulate everyone involved for such a competitive season!

So without further ado, here are the superlatives for the 2012 All-Orange Leader Football Team:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: MONTANA QUIRANTE, VIDOR

Coach Mathews has seen his share of excellent players stroll the Pirate program over the years and so have the Pirate faithful, but they could all arguably say that Mr. Quirante is the best overall player that has ever put on a Pirate jersey.

Quirante was the key force in leading the Pirates to back-to-back playoff trips.

As a senior this year, Quirante rushed for 1,783 yards and a stunning 33 touchdowns on just 193 carries.

He was just as effective on the defensive side of the leather, notching 147 tackles, seven sacks and three interceptions. When he wasn’t running it down opponents’ throats, he also passed for 344 yards and two scores.

To put Quirante in even better perspective, in the last two seasons, he’s rushed for 2,813 yards and 53 TDs on 342 carries, passed for 701 yards and three scores and has piled up 290 tackles.

OFFENSIVE MVP: JIMMY SALTER, WO-S

Over the last three seasons, you couldn’t mention the West Orange-Stark Mustangs without mentioning Mr. Salter.

After all, Salter led the Mustang offense to 10 playoff games in the three seasons, setting all the WO-S passing records in the process.

As a senior, Salter completed 131-of-226 passes for 1,715 yards and 20 TDs with just five interceptions. He also rushed for 485 yards and 11 TDs.

For his career, Salter completed 345-of-601 passes for 4,722 yards and 50 TDs and also rushed for 1,010 yards and 18 scores.

DEFENSIVE MVP: JOE LYNCH, WO-S

A standout linebacker for three years for the Mustangs, Lynch, a senior, bounced back from a knee injury that he suffered as a junior in fine fashion.

Lynch was a key cog for a Mustang defense that allowed a mere 145.6 yards a game and just 80 total points in 14 weeks of action.

He led the vaunted Chain Gang Defense, notching a team-high 152 tackles, 86 of them unassisted.

Lynch also had 16 tackles for losses, five sacks, two caused fumbles and a fumble recovery.

CO-NEWCOMERS OF THE YEAR: CALEB HARLEY, LC-M; DEIONTE THOMPSON, WO-S

Harley, a junior quarterback for the Bears, and Thompson, a outstanding sophomore defensive back for the Mustangs, had superb breakout years for their respective teams.

Harley completed 107-of-198 passes for 1,594 yards and 14 TDs as he picked up Crouch’s offense schemes very well.

Harley showed tremendous improvement throughout the season and had some excellent games along the way, including a 27-for-50, 403-yard, three-touchdown performance against Vidor and a 8-for-10, 183-yard, three-TD game against PN-G.

Thompson, meanwhile, was a key figure in the WO-S secondary and opponents didn’t pick on him for long.

Thompson tied teammate Rhodes for a team-high six interceptions. Two of his picks went back for TDs including a 73-yarder against Lorena, which gave the Mustangs momentum in the regional semifinals. He also finished with 55 tackles, four of them for losses.

The best thing about it, both young men return next season.

COACH OF THE YEAR: CORNEL THOMPSON, WO-S

Coach Thompson has seen his share of great teams in his stellar career and has a lot of fond memories and he certainly won’t forget the 2012 version of the Mustangs.

The Mustangs outscored their opponents 454-80 for the season, including 259-12 in 21-3A play.

WO-S’ nine shutouts hammered the old school-record of six, which was in 2000. The Mustangs went 25 straight quarters without allowing a point at one point of the season. In two seasons, WO-S has compiled a 23-5 record and two straight trips to the regional finals.

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