Mustangs hold back Madisonville

Published 11:22 pm Friday, December 1, 2017

By Van Wade
The Orange Leader

PORTER – Well, they certainly had their mettle tested, but the two-time defending Class 4A Division II state champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs are moving on to the 4A Region III Finals for the seventh consecutive season after a tough encounter with the upstart Madisonville Mustangs Friday night.
WO-S rose up at almost every important turn and they were able to turn four Madisonville turnovers into 21 points as the Mustangs prevailed 28-26 in a tight one at Texan Drive Stadium in the Region III semifinals.
The win marks the 38th straight for WO-S and 15 straight in the playoffs. For Mustang head coach Cornel Thompson, it was his 100th game as Mustang coach as he stands 89-11 in seven seasons after a tough battle with Madisonville and coach Rusty Nail and staff.
“Give Madisonville and their staff great respect, Coach Nail has done an amazing job and I would hate to play those suckers again next year,” said Thompson. “They never backed down, not one single down.
But I know one thing for sure, our kids buckled it up tonight and got after it. They made the plays when they had too and when they (Madisonville) kept battling back, the kids responded and we love them for that. This was a gut-check win tonight and we’re so darn proud of all of them.”
WO-S will now move on to face either Salado or Bellville in the Region III Finals next week. Those two play tonight at 6 p.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“It doesn’t matter who we play, we moving on and that’s all that counts,” said Thompson. “Seven straight runs to the Regional Finals sounds good to us. At this point it’s all about winning and advancing on.”
The Mustangs (11-0) fell behind 7-0 in the first quarter but rallied to take a 14-7 lead and would never relinquish it despite a fierce Madisonville (11-2) unit that constantly kept battling.
Every time WO-S seemed in control, Madisonville would bounce back up, using big special team plays to their advantage.
The Mustang offense was productive as well, picking up 321 total yards.
WO-S quarterback Chaka Watson completed 13-of-21 passes for 163 yards, rushing for two scores and passing for another.
Tailback Kayven Cooper went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season and finished with 68 yards on 14 carries. Receivers Blake Robinson and Jarron Morris each had big nights on both sides of the ball. Robinson had four catches for 68 yard while Morris had four grabs for 44 yards and rushed for 32 more.
“Our offense made big plays when they had too and Chaka had a good game,” said Thompson. “We had some nice pass plays that moved the chains and that was so key.”
Madisonville came in featuring back Cornelius Merchant, who had nearly 1,500 yards coming in. The Mustangs held him to 69 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Madisonville quarterback Ben Phillips had his moments but tossed three picks. He completed 13-of-23 passes for 150 yards. Receiver Kendall Moffett had six catches for 79 yards and a score.
They surprised a little with how much they threw the ball but Coach Nail is good at making adjustments,” said Thompson. “That Merchant kid is a good one and we were able to contain him some. The big thing were the turnovers. We were able to take advantage of their mistakes and
were able to turn them into points. We had no turnovers, and when you that at this time of the year, that’s a great thing.”
Madisonville was able to trim it to 28-26 with 4:35 remaining by completing a seven-play, 57-yard drive. Phillips hit a wide-open Moffett along the left side and the speedster went 47 yards untouched
for the score. However, the two-point conversion failed miserably as Merchant lined up as the Wildcat quarterback and rolled left like he was going to pass it but the Mustangs read it well and he was stopped for a big loss.
The Mustangs were able to eat some clock on the next series but a big 38-yard run by Watson to the Madisonville 12 was negated by a holding call. However, Mustang punter Chad Dallas was able to pin Madisonville back at their own 5 with a 54-yard punt with just 0:45 left which basically sealed the deal.
“That was a big punt there, especially after playing sloppy on special teams throughout the game with those long returns that got on us,” said Thompson.
The Mustangs grabbed momentum after a big turnover by Madisonville on the second play from scrimmage to start the second half.
Mustang defensive back Teshaun Teel picked off a Phillips pass at the Madisonville 44 and got to the 37.
Then a drive featuring Morris, hit the end zone quickly for the Mustangs. Morris took a end-around handoff for 18 yards to the 19 and two plays later Morris caught a quick pass from Watson on the right
side and was a workhorse getting into the end zone from 19 yards out to make it 21-10 with 10:32 in the half.
Madisonville bounced right back when Johnny Simpson brought the following kickoff back 87 yards all the way down to the Mustang 12.
Merchant cut it to 21-17 when he bolted around the right end and barreled his way in from 12 yards out with 10:14 in the third.
The Mustangs countered nicely on the next series as Watson engineered a 12-play, 75-yard scoring march.
Watson hit Robinson on a 18-yard bullet over the middle that got to the Madisonville 29. Morris had a 12-yard rushing dart around the left side to the 17. Watson had a eight-yard run that got to the 2 and then he scored on a easy two-yard keeper to push the lead to 28-17 with 4:41 in the third.
Madisonville, however, answered with yet another big return when Merchant brought back the following kickoff 60 yards all the way to the Mustang 37. Phillips had a nice 15-yard run to the Mustang 22 and Madisonville eventually got to the Mustang 9 but WO-S held firm and Madisonville settled for a 26-yard field goal by Mauricio Aceves to make it 28-20 with 0:58 in the third.
The Mustangs took a 14-10 lead into intermission after the defense caused a couple of turnovers and the offense promptly punched in a pair of scores.
Madisonville used their special teams to its advantage in the first quarter, casing in on one of the two golden opportunities they had.
Madisonville opened the game with a successful onside kick as they set up shop at the Mustang 47. However, the WO-S defense rose up and forced a quick three-and-out.
Madisonville then got a big break when big Tommy Holiday blocked a Chad Dallas punt and Madisonville took over at the Mustang 23 with 5:58 in the first quarter.
Phillips completed a 10-yard quick pass to the left side to Johnny Simpson to get a first down and three plays later found streaking receiver Kasey Williamson over the middle for a 13-yard scoring
strike. Kicker Mauricio Aceves converted the extra-point as Madisonville snared a 7-0 lead with 4:22 in the first quarter.
The Mustangs would march 67 yards in 11 plays with the big play coming on a Watson 35-yard strike to Robinson down the left sideline.
However, the Madisonville defense rose up, forcing an incompletion on fourth-and-3 from the 20 with 11:04 in the half.
Robinson wasn’t through for the Mustangs when he picked off a Phillips pass at the Mustang 29 and returned it 30 yards down the right side to the Madisonville 41 with 5:24 left in the half.
Watson found Morris on a eight-yard quick pass that went for a first down at the 30. Watson and Morris teamed up again for a nine-yard pass to eventually get to the 16 and Cooper capped it with a 16-yard
touchdown dart off right tackle. Dallas booted the extra-point to tie it at 7-7 with 3:13 in the half.
On Madisonville’s next series, Phillips mishandled the ball and Mustang defensive tackle Ja’Qualan Coleman plopped on the loose leather at the Madisonville 28 with 1:57 in the half.
The Mustangs found paydirt four plays later, despite being backed up to the 38 after a holding call, when Watson went into the end zone from two yards out off right tackle to make it 14-7 with 0:28 left.
The touchdown was set up after Watson connected with Cooper on a perfectly executed 20-yard screen pass right over the middle to the 18. Cooper and Watson both ripped off eight-yard runs to help set up Watson’s score from the 2.
Madisonville, however, was not through. They were able to set up shot at the WO-S 49 on the ensuing kickoff after a late hit by the Mustangs.
Merchant was able to rumble for a 17-yard gain to the 32 and Kendall Moffett hauled in a seven-yard pass to the 25 with 0:02 left. That set up a booming 42-yard field goal by Aceves that easily sailed through the uprights to bring it to within 14-10 with on the last play of the half.
The Mustangs had 176 total yards in the first half while Madisonville had 98.
Watson completed 10-of-14 passes for 112 yards with Robinson hauling in three receptions for 50 yards and Morris had three for 25. Cooper rushed for 40 yards on eight totes.
Phillips was 8-of-11 for 71 yards in the half. Merchant had 35 yards on eight carries while Moffett had five catches for 32 yards.

WO-S 28,
Madisonville 26

WO-S            0       14      14      0— 28
Mad                     7       3       10      0 —26

Scoring summary
Madisonville: Kasey Williamson 13 pass from Ben Phillips. Mauricio Aceves kick.
WO-S: Kayven Cooper 16 run. Chad Dallas kick.
WO-S: Chaka Watson 2 run. Dallas kick.
Madisonville: Aceves 42 field goal.
WO-S: Jarron Morris 19 pass from Watson. Dallas kick.
Madisonville: Cornelius Merchant 12 run. Aceves kick.
WO-S: Watson 2 run. Dallas kick.
Madisonville: Aceves 26 field goal.
Madisonville: Kendall Moffett 47 pass from Phillips. Run failed.

WO-S    Mad
First downs             18              11
Rushes-yards    37-158  23-82
Passing         163             150
Total yards             321             232
Comp-Att-Int    13-21-0         13-23-3
Fumbles-Lost    1-0             2-1
Penalties-yards         6-59            3-15
Rushing: WO-S, Kayven Cooper 14-68, Chaka Watson 14-47, Jarron Morris 5-32, Justin Sibley 4-11; Madisonville, Cornelius Merchant 17-69, Ben Phillips 6-13.
Receiving: WO-S, Chaka Watson 13-21-0 163; Madisonville, Ben Phillips 13-23-3 150.
Receiving: WO-S, Blake Robinson 4-68, Jarron Morris 4-44, Mark Thibodeaux 3-26, Kayven Cooper 1-20, Deiondr’e Hawthorne 1-5, Madisonville, Kendall Moffett 6-79, Brandon Larson 3-42, Kasey Williamson 2-23, Johnny Simpson 2-6.