Mustangs readying for explosive Caldwell offense
WEST ORANGE – After a total demolition of the Wharton Tigers last week in the area round, the high-flying West Orange-Stark Mustangs will look to slow down some feisty Caldwell Hornets Friday night at New Caney Porter Stadium in the Class 4A Region III Division II semifinals.
The Mustangs (11-1) were clicking on all cylinders in a 47-15 victory over Wharton last week. Meanwhile, the Hornets (8-4) used a late rally to take down the La Marque Cougars 42-39.
“It’s that time of the year where there are no more weak sisters,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “Each week, you look at a more formidable opponent and this Caldwell team is certainly that. They do a lot of good things, so we’re going to have to be well-prepared for a lot of things they can throw at us.”
The Mustangs were certainly in a “groove” on both sides of the ball against Wharton.
The Mustangs piled up 468 yards of offense (253 in the air, 215 on the ground) and are now averaging 390.3 yards a game for the season.
Quarterback Jack Dallas completed 16-of-21 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns against Wharton and has now completed 161-of-243 passes for 2,352 yards with 31 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Thomas Wallace continues to lead a balanced WO-S receiving crew with 42 catches for 632 yards and 12 TDs. KJ Miller has hauled in 28 passes for 541 yards and eight scores with Keion Hancock (22-365-2) and Aric Cormier (21-229-2) also playing nice roles.
Melech Edwards leads the WO-S ground arsenal with 682 yards and seven TDs on 111 carries. Jeremiah Shaw, who scored a pair of TDs against Wharton, has 637 yards and nine TDs on 97 carries and also has 12 catches for 174 yards and two TDs. Hancock has shown some versatility with 200 yards and six TDs on 23 carries.
“We’ve had some good offensive outings this season but the Wharton game, that was really solid for us across the board,” said Thompson. “At this time of the year, you like to see that good mix of run and pass. We would love to be able to do the same this week, it’s just all about where everybody lines up and what schemes they (Caldwell) want to play against us.”
The Mustang defense, which limited Wharton to just 181 yards of total offense, will hone in on a very explosive Caldwell offense that is averaging nearly 412 yards per outing.
“Caldwell is a very offensive-minded football program and they know what they want to do and they’ve been able to go out there and do it all year,” said Thompson. “They mix things up so well and have some tremendous athletes. They mainly like to run the spread but aren’t afraid to line up in the Power-I and get after you when it’s working. They really are going to be a challenge for a defense.”
The Hornets are led by quarterback Joseph Crnkovic and tailback Keyshawn Chambers.
Crnkovic has completed 168-of-276 passes for 2,869 yards to go along with 34 TDs and 10 interceptions after passing for more than 1,800 yards last season.
Chambers has zipped for 1,548 yards and 17 TDs on 182 totes.. Chambers was a All-State back last year in which he rushed for over 1,800 yards and 27 TDs and has been on that same pace this season behind a stout offensive line that has paved the way.
“The running back Chambers is one of those special kids, he made All-State last year and after watching him, he deserves those kind of accolades,” said Thompson. “Their quarterback is a specimen, going about 6-5 and 205. He looks down on everybody on the field and has tremendous vision. He has at least four receivers that are very talented including another (Domonique) Chambers that has nearly 1,000 yards receiving. We’ve got to be able to keep all their weapons in front of us and they probably feel the same about us.”
Against La Marque, the Hornets piled up 572 total yards. Crnkovic completed 21-of-26 passes for 365 yards and two TDs. Chambers carried 19 times for 204 yards, including runs of 87, 6, and 10 with the 10-yarder being the game-winning touchdown with 0:57 remaining in the game.
The Hornets have three go-to receivers in the forms of Dominique Chambers (48-913-10), Curtis Williams (28-546-5) and Devin Morris (42-785-13). Chambers had 10 receptions for 174 yards and Williams had seven catches for 129 yards in the victory over La Marque. Tanner Stefka also has 33 grabs for 477 yards and four TDs.
Caldwell will be facing a Mustang defense that is allowing just 186.7 yards a game for the season.
The Hornets have piled up the points all season, scoring 500 of them and have won seven of their last eight games. Caldwell was the District 11-4A runnerup with their only district loss coming at the hands of Giddings, 46-39.
The Hornets defense has definitely bended at times throughout the year in allowing 398 points, compared to a Mustang “Chain Gang” defense that has allowed just 121. Caldwell is allowing close to 300 yards a game, 176 of it on the ground.
Caldwell’s other losses include a 41-30 defeat at the hands of Bellville, which still remains alive in the postseason along with a loss to Madisonville (43-41) and Teague (60-37).
“You never really like to us the term quality loss but looking at it, Caldwell has four of them, all against playoff teams,” said Thompson. “Two of them, Bellville and Giddings, are playing each other this week and the winner of them will get either us or Caldwell. I think the kids are up for the challenge, especially if they come out and play like they did in the first half against Wharton. What we would love to see is 48 strong minutes across the board. If we do that, that would be great.”
The winner between the Mustangs and the Hornets will take on either Giddings or Bellville in the $A Division II Region III Finals next week.
Directions to stadium:
**Note: If you are using a GPS, please do not put in the stadium address. Many systems are not yet updated. It is best to use the address for Porter Glass and Mirror (21262 US 59, New Caney, Texas 77357), located just at the corner of US 59 S and Valley Ranch Parkway.
From South –Take US 59 N towards New Caney and exit FM 1485. Make a U-turn at FM 1485 and continue on the service road of US 59 S for approximately 1 ¼ miles. Turn right onto Valley Ranch Parkway to enter the stadium.
From North – Take US 59 S towards New Caney and exit FM 1485. Continue on the service road of US 59 S for approximately 1 ¼ miles. Turn right onto Valley Ranch Parkway to enter the stadium.
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