Mustangs picked to win 12-4A by DCTF, Bobcats tabbed fourth

Published 8:29 am Friday, July 7, 2017

For the past couple seasons, the district competition for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs has simply not been there.

Along the way, the Mustangs have strolled to back-to-back Class 4A Division II state titles, dominating every foe in their sight as members of District 12-4A Division II have literally been a stepping stone for the Mustangs’ ultimate goal.

Well, according to Dave Campbell Texas Football Magazine, that is not going to change entering the 2017 campaign as the Mustangs are slated to cruise through 12-4A play as the champion and are ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 4A Division II.

So how dominant have the Mustangs been in their district?

They have outscored their district foes 391-10 in eight games the last two years. Average score: 48.9-1.3.

Orangefield got a field goal on WO-S in 2015 and Liberty actually found the end zone last year.

Some say the Mustangs (16-0 last season) could be a little down this season as they look to rebuild. After all, Coach Cornel Thompson’s crew returns just seven starters – four on offense and three on defense – but the cupboard is far from bare as they do have some exciting players back.

Defensively the Mustangs return outstanding defensive backs Jarron Morris and Teshaun Teel from a defense that notched eight shutouts.

Offensively, the Mustangs return several key members from their offensive line along with solid running backs Kavyn Cooper and Justin Sibley, who both contributed nicely last season.

Gone is three-year starting quarterback Jack Dallas, who ran the ship to near perfection as WO-S made the state title game all three years. The Mustangs will look to run the ball a little more with a speedy Chaka Watson seeing plenty of time at quarterback.

The Liberty Panthers (10-3) are tabbed to be second in 12-4A by DCTF and deservedly so.

Coach Chad Taylor’s Panthers improved by six wins last year and advanced to the Region III semifinals.

The Panthers have plenty of starters back in the mix including seven on offense and eight on defense from a team that gave the Mustangs’ their biggest district challenge last year, for a half.

The Panthers will miss 1,500-yard back Alex Brown but have plenty of talent back, including quarterback J.J. Slack along with backs Jeremiah Guillory and K.K. Antoine.

The Hardin-Jefferson Hawks (7-4) will also be in the hunt and are picked third as they also have seven starters back on offense and eight on defense

Brayden Pelt is back at quarterback after getting valuable experience a season ago and Mason Murray returns to the backfield and is one of the most versatile athletes returning in the district.

The Orangefield Bobcats (5-6) pushed their way into the playoffs for the fourth straight season for Coach Josh Smalley and Co. and are picked to make the postseason yet again.

The Bobcats return six starters on both sides of the pigskin. Key returners on offense include versatile back Christian Louvier and quarterback Mason Gonzales. Blake Bradley is back after being a standout on both sides of the ball along with Michael Teeples. Safety Zach Dischler returns to anchor the secondary and the Bobcats return the best kicker in the district in Jacob Rainey.

The Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns (1-9) will look for a bounce-back campaign this season as Coach Bill Jehling welcomes back seven starters on both sides of the ball.

Running back Tyrese White has definitely been a key cog the last three years as he haspiled up close to 3,000 career yards. Marcus Morris and Matt Conkle will also figure heavy in an offense that will look to up the ante.

The Mustangs are ranked No. 2 in the state in 4A Division II, right behind No.1 Gilmer (13-2) . WO-S, however, was picked by the coaches in the state at No. 1.

Celina (11-3), who the Mustangs toppled in the 2015 state title game is ranked No. 4. Sweetwater (13-2), meanwhile, is ranked No. 10. The Mustangs, of course, downed Sweetwater 24-6 to win the state crown last season.

Cuero (13-1), a program the Mustangs toppled in the state semifinals in 2015, is ranked No. 3.

Giddings (11-3), who the Mustangs buried 48-5 in the Region III playoffs last season, chimes in at No. 5.

Wimberley (10-3) is ranked No. 6 followed by Monahans (9-3), Texarkana Pleasant Grove (6-7), and Jasper (10-3) at No. 9. Other teams ranked in the top 20 from the region includes Bellville at No. 11 and District 9-4A Division II member Liberty at No. 15.