Mustangs finish non-district with Newton
WEST ORANGE — Two tradition-rich programs will try to put last week behind them when the West Orange-Stark Mustangs and the Newton Eagles hook up at Hooks Stadium Friday night.
The game will feature state runnerup teams from a year ago as the Mustangs (4-1) advanced all the way to the 4A Division II State Championship while the Eagles (1-3) played for the 3A Division II title.
The Mustangs absorbed their first lost of the season last week, falling to a huge Class 5A team in the forms of the Richmond Foster Falcons (4-1) 42-14.
The Eagles come in reeling, losing their third straight in a 24-21 loss to Orangefield. Newton also lost to Bridge City 18-13 earlier in the season. The Eagles also fell to Henderson 32-8. The Eagles did defeat Tatum 37-28 in their season opener.
The Mustangs could never quite get going against the Falcons last week with five turnovers and a lack of a running game against the physical Foster frontline.
Foster limited a WO-S running game that had over 300 yards against Silsbee the week before to just 27 yards on 21 carries and they picked off four passes.
WO-S is averaging 354.8 yards a game and the defense is allowing just 249.6. Foster had 283 yards in the first halof on Saturday but the Mustangs limited the Falcons to just 78 yards in the second half.
Quarterback Jack Dallas has completed 80-of-131 passes for 859 yards and nine touchdowns. His favorite targets have been Thomas Wallace (23-260-4), Keion Hancock (16-240-1) and KJ miller (14-156-3).
Melech Edwards leads the ground game with 298 yards and three TDs on 61 totes while Jeremiah Shaw has 259 yards and two TDs on 41 carries.
The Eagles led Orangefield 21-17 at the half last week but it turned into a defrensive slugfest that Orangefield controlled in the second half as the Bobcats held the Eagles scoreless.
Newton still managed to pile up 370 yards in the loss, 260 via the ground.
The Eagles present a dynamic backfield in the forms of speedy back Gabe Foster along with Jaron Hanks. Those two combined for 230 yards against Orangefield with Foster rumbling for 160 of it.
The Eagles downed the Mustangs 19-7 last season as they rushed for 321 yards and limited WO-S to 213 yards.
WO-S will begin defense of its District 9-4A Division II title next week when they visit Liberty to face the Panthers.