Red-hot Mustangs favorites as 12-4A Division II action starts up

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It’s finally arrived.

The District 12-4A Division II football season will begin Friday night after what was such a long and odd non-district season which had schools scrambling to try to get in some football due to the wrath that Hurricane Harvey brought with him.

Each 12-4A team was suppose to play six non-district games but Harvey wrecked those plans.

The Liberty Panthers (4-1) were able to get five games while the two-time defending Class 4A Division II state champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs (4-0) and Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns (2-2) got four in. Meanwhile the Orangefield Bobcats (1-2) and Hardin-Jefferson Hawks (1-2), who saw their fieldhouses literally rebuilt, only have three games under their belts.

One thing for certain though, the 12-4A crown will likely go through WO-S again. After all, the Mustangs have cruised through 12-4A the last two seasons, outscoring their four counterparts by a whopping 391-10 margin in eight games. WO-S allowed Orangefield a field goal in 12-4A play in 2015 and last season Liberty scored a touchdown.

The Mustangs will start their defense of the 12-4A title Friday when they pay Hamshire-Fannett a visit.

The Mustangs are coming off an emotional 23-20 overtime victory over the Kennedale Wildcats.

WO-S trailed Kennedale 17-10 in the fourth quarter but rallied back to tie it and won it on quarterback Chaka’s Watson superb touchdown run in overtime.

The Mustangs have outscored their four opponents this season by a 157-49 margin.

The Mustangs are averaging 331.3 yards a game and will face a Longhorn defense that is allowing 414.5 yards an outing.

The Longhorns have wins over Beaumont Kelly (41-36) and East Chambers (32-28) and losses against Lumberton (44-31), Buna (27-7) and Anahuac (40-13).

WO-S tailback Kavyn Cooper has zipped for 482 yards and four TDs on 44 totes. Watson has zipped for 281 yards and nine TDs on 44 carries while Justin Sibley has 194 yards and two TDs on 26 carries. Watson has completed 23-of-47 passes for 232 yards with four TDs and just one interception.

The Longhorns have relied on a solid ground game and they average 317.8 a game offensively.

Tailback Tyrese White has darted for 521 yards and five TDs on 55 carries to lead the way. Longhorn quarterback Hunter Spacek has rushed for nearly 200 yards and has passed for 128. Receivers Tahji Edwards and Matthew Conkle are dual threats in the return game.

The Longhorns will try to get past a fierce WO-S defense that forced Kennedale into four turnovers and one that allows just 197 yards a game.

Orangefield will try to bounce back from a tough 35-14 home loss to Diboll last week when they welcome in Liberty for Homecoming Friday.

The Bobcats will try to regain their footing after battling some tough injuries as well.

Orangefield nabbed their win, a 32-265 victory at Beaumont Kelly a couple weeks ago.

The Panthers, who went 10-3 last year and three rounds deep in the playoffs, are off to another good start.

The Panthers have notched victories over Tarkington (48-14), Cleveland (16-13), Coldspring (49-34) and Shepherd (35-12) with their lone loss coming at the hands of a tough Woodville unit (21-17).

The Panthers are piling up 362 yards a game and are allowing 267.8.

Liberty is churning out 287.8 yards a game on the ground.

Jeremiah Guillory leads the balanced ground arsenal with 480 yards and five TDs on just 47 carries. Keegan Turner has zipped for 412 yards and five TDs on 70 carries. JJ Slack has accounted for 270 yards and two TDs on 23 totes and River Lucy has 225 yards on 36 carries.

Both Turner and Slack can play quarterback and have combined to throw for 371 yards and seven scores. Slack can also catch the ball with seven receptions for 181 yards and three scores. Liberty will face a Bobcat defense that is allowing 435.7 yards a game. Liberty has fumbled 12 times thus far, losing nine of them.

The Bobcats will look to up the ante on offense after averaging 193 yards through just three games.

Christian Louvier leads the Bobcat ground game with 212 yards on 23 carries and has three TDs. Fullback Blake Bradley has 133 yards on 28 carries and a score. Zach Dischler ran well against Diboll last week with 86 yards on 12 carries.

Hardin-Jefferson will get plenty of extra practice in this week as the Hawks have a bye before visiting WO-S Oct. 20.