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Stangs put the hurt on Hornets

By Van Wade
The Orange Leader

NEW CANEY – It was smooth sailing for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs as they utilized all three phases of the game to totally dominate the Caldwell Hornets 69-13 in the Class 4A Region III Division II Regional Semifinals Friday night at Texan Drive Stadium in New Caney.
WO-S jumped on the Hornets early to snare a 20-0 lead after the first quarter. WO-S outgained the Hornets 205-17 in the first 12 minutes.
The Mustangs (12-1) finished with 465 yards of total offense while the Hornets (8-5) had 276, most of them coming in the second half.
The Mustangs picked off Caldwell quarterback Joseph Crnkovic four times, returning two for scores. Crnkovic finished 16-of-35 for 239 yards.
“We wanted to come out and establish a complete game throughout and the kids accomplished that,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “You practice hard and you play hard, that always pays off big. The kids have been focused and have that ultimate goal in their minds. We’re just happy to move on and we get to play some December football again. Not many teams can say that.”
The Mustangs will move on to face Bellville (13-0) in the Region III Finals after Bellville defeated Giddings Friday night.
The Mustangs went on to lead 49-7 at the half as they piled up 335 total yards while the Hornets had 142. WO-S also got a punt return and an interception return for scores in the opening 24 minutes.
THe Mustangs piled up 375 rushing yards on 37 carries in averaging more than 10 yards a pop.
Jeremiah Shaw finished with 108 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Melech Edwards had 96 yards and a TD on eight totes while Keion Hancock rushed for 86 yards on five carries and scored twice.
Mustang quarterback Jack Dallas didn’t have to put the ball up much, passing for 90 yards and a score.
“We really thought we could come in and run the ball,” said Thompson. “Give credit to our offensive line. That bunch has improved leaps and bounds since the year started. They are playing as good or better as the line we had last year at this point.”
Caldwell receiver Devin Morris had six catches for 118 yards and a score.
“We held a pretty darn good offense in check for the most part tonight other than that long pass play at the end,” said Thompson. “Their quarterback is a gunslinger but we got some key interceptions tonight
and took two of them to the house.”
The Mustangs made it look easy on their first series of the game as they put together a eight-play, 61-yard touchdown drive.
WO-S ran the ball seven times for 53 yards on the march. Hancock broke loose on a 18-yard run to the Hornet 25. Dallas went on a 13-yard trip to the 12 and Shaw carried three straight times for 12 yards, including a three-yard touchdown blast to make it 6-0 with 9:10 left
in the first quarter.
The Mustangs found paydirt again late in the first quarter by going 62 yards in three plays that took just 1:06 off the clock.
KJ Miller broke loose on a 17-yard gain and Hancock swept around the left side for a 21-yard gain to the Caldwell 24. Dallas then found Miller over the middle. The swift Miller made a nice catch, turned to
get loose along the left side and scooted in for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Dallas ran in the two-point conversion, making it 14-0 with 3:23 in the first.
After the teams swapped interceptions, the Mustangs got the ball at the Hornet 43 and Hancock did the honors two plays later running from the Wildcat QB spot. He broke loose for a 20-yard gain to the 23 and promptly darted 23 yards for the touchdown on the next carry, extending the cushion to 20-0 with 0:24 in the first.
The Mustangs struck again quick early in the second quarter.
Dallas teamed up with Rufus Joseph on a 47-yard connection as Joseph broke several tackles in getting all the way to the Hornet 21. Shaw then found paydirt again, bolting 21 yards up the middle for the score. Dallas ran in another two-point conversion, making it 28-0 with
10:13 in the half.
Jarron Morris, who picked off a Crnkovic pass in the first quarter, bedazzled the crowd when he brought back a punt 81 yards down the left side for a score, increasing the lead to 35-0 with 8:31 in the half.
Edwards really sank the sails of the Hornets when he took off up the middle unsctahed on his way to a 62-yard touchdown romp, making it 42-0 with 7:05 in the half.
The Hornets were finally able to get something going when Crnkovic connected with receiver Tanner Sefka on a 51-yard pass-and-catch to the Mustang 15. Crnkovic found receiver Domonique Chambers on an 11-yard pass and fullback William Deleon capped it with a four-yard run up the middle to trim it to 42-7 with 4:26 still in the half.
The Hornets marched from their own 44 all the way to the Mustang 8 with 0:16 left in the half but Mustang defensive back Malick Phillips made it 49-7 in a hurry when he picked off a Crnkovic pass and zipped 97 yards the other way for the score on the last play of the half.
Hancock had four carries for 82 yards in the half. Edwards had two totes for 67 yards and Shaw had 53 yards on five carries.
Dallas completed 4-of-9 passes for 90 yards.
Crnkovic completed 12-of-25 passes for 130 yards with the two picks.
Sefka had three catches for 54 yards.
It continued to get worse for the Hornets when Mustang defensive back Ronald Carter jumped on a Hornet route and picked off a Crnkovic pass and returned it 25 yards on the first play of the third quarter, making it 56-7 with 11:40 in the third.
The Mustangs went 56 yards in nine plays to find the end zone again midway through the third. Shaw carried five times for 32 yards and Hancock found his way into the end zone from four yards out to up it to 62-7 with 6:21 in the third.
Morris picked off another Crnkovic pass, returning it 44 yards to the Hornet 30. The Mustangs hit paydirt four plays later when Quinton Chargois sweeped around the left end for a three-yard score to make it 69-7 with 2:37 in the third.
The Hornets did not quit has Crnkovic found Morris on a 73-yard TD bomb late in the fourth quarter.