Mustangs ready to tangle with up-and-coming Mexia unit

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WEST ORANGE — They may be on a 36-game overall winning streak, including 13 straight in the playoffs but the two-time defending Class 4A Division II state champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs have just one thing on their minds — that’s Step No. 2 in the 4A Region III playoffs.

The Mustangs (9-0) are honed in on the Mexia Black Cats (6-5) this week as the two will battle it out Friday at 7 p.m. at Conroe’s Moorhead Stadium in the area round.

Both units are coming off dominating wins last week as the Mustangs tortured Brookshire-Royal 54-0 and Mexia dismantled Gonzales 30-7.

WO-S will certainly face a Mexia unit that is on the rise for Coach Frank Sandoval.

The Black Cats went 2-8 last season and started this year off slowly with a 1-3 start but have been on fire of late, winning three straight games as they earned the second-place berth out of 9-4A.

“Coach Sandoval has done a good job for sure,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “He thought they were in a rebuilding mode and slowly but surely, they kept getting better and better as the year went along. Mexia has had a great tradition over the years.”

Mexia won the state championship in 1989.

The Black Cats are certainly led by senior quarterback Travion Carter as they have been dangerous running a spread offense.

“The Carter kid is cat-quick and can take it the distance on you if you’re not lined up right,” said Thompson. “He’s a super scrambler and you have to keep him in front of you, he’s trouble.”

The Black Cats have a solid back in Jadarian Smith, who had a nice outing against Gonzales, along with two speedy receivers in Davion Carter and Tyreon Williams.

“They have several skill people that have excellent speed,” said Thompson. “Their offensive line, they’re solid and we’ll see how physical they are.”

The Black Cat offense will face a Mustang defense that has been on a roll this season, especially of late.

WO-S has allowed just a mere 158.1 yards per game this year. The Mustangs have posted three straight shutouts in wins over Liberty, Orangefield and Royal and has allowed just 67.3 yards a game in that span. WO-S is allowing just 104.8 yards a game on the ground with opponents averaging just 3.1 yards a carry. Opposing quarterbacks have completed just 39-of-90 passes for 480 yards.

Defensively, the Black Cats have yielded only 19.3 points a game. Other than losses to Teague (40-33), state power Waco La Vega (53-7) and 9-4A champion Salado (28-7), the Black Cats yielded just 92 total points in their other eight games.

“Their defense, and really their team reminds us a lot of the Kennedale team we faced,” said Thompson. “Defensively, they’re pretty stout in their secondary and their linebackers are really good too. They’ve got some outstanding corners, so we’re going to have to be careful and accurate with our passing game.”

Offensively, the Mustangs will check in averaging 323.1 yards a game.

Senior quarterback Chaka Watson has completed 55-of-94 passes for 667 yards with nine touchdowns. He s also rushed for 452 yards and 12 TDs on 82 carries.

Junior tailback Kayven Cooper has zipped for 859 yards and 15 scores on only 92 totes. Fellow junior back Justin Sibley has accounted for 441 yards on the ground with five TDs on 51 carries as the Mustangs have averaged 234.3 yards a game on the ground.

Tight end Kaleb Ramsey leads the Mustangs with 15 receptions for 136 yards and a score while receivers Jarron Morris and Blake Robinson have teamed up for 25 catches for 298 yards and three TDs.

The winner of the WO-S-Mexia encounter will face either Madisonville (10-1) or Lorena (5-6) in the Region III quarterfinals.

Madisonville downed Hardin-Jefferson 42-20 in the bidistrict round while Lorena defeated Caldwell 42-25.