Mustangs STATE-BOUND again
By Van Wade
The Orange Leader
KATY – 40 straight and a fourth straight date at State!
The two-time defending Class 4A Division II state champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs will be heading back to Dallas next week as they will play in the state title game for the fourth consecutive year by toppling the Wimberley Texans 30-21 in the State Semifinals Friday night at Katy’s Legacy Stadium.
The Mustangs (13-0) will now move on the face Pleasant Grove (15-0) in the 4A Division II State Championship Game next Friday at 3 p.m. at AT&T Stadium. Pleasant Grove defeated Graham 45-14 on Thursday.
“We’re so darn proud of these kids and what they have accomplished,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “Not many folks gave us a chance to get back there. But the kids believed and the coaching staff believed and here we are. This group, their overachievers but they play with so much heart. One more week, we don’t want to just go up there to take a bus ride, we want to bring another back home if we can. The fans, they were amazing again tonight, they have to be so proud of this group of young men.”
The Mustangs received a supreme effort from quarterback Chaka Watson. Watson chewed up 236 yards on 17 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. He set the tone with runs of 80, 28 and a back-breaking 99-yard touchdown jaunt.
“Chaka had it going on tonight and I’m super proud of him,” said Thompson. “He’s worked so hard to improve and he’s done it. He showed his speed tonight and Wimberley could not contain him. That 99-yard was spectacular. We knew when he broke open off left tackle that no one was going to catch him.”
The Mustangs had their best offensive showing in the postseason and outgained the high-octane Texans 415-403. WO-S held the Texans to just 94 yards in the second half.
“Wimberley has a high-octane offense for sure,” said Thompson. “We couldn’t stop one another in the first half.”
Standout Wimberley quarterback Jordan Weeks, who entered the game with 4,100 yards in the air with 49 TDs and just one interception, was thwarted much of the night despite coming up with some big plays as well.
He completed just 13-of-41 passes for 311 yards and was picked off twice while tossing three TDs. Receiver Cade Stoever had five catches for 150 yards. Wyatt Mann had two grabs for 91 and Gavin Martinez had three for 69. Running back Thomas Carruthers, who had over 1,500 yards coming in, finished with 51 yards on 13 carries.
“They gutted us pretty good with some big plays in that first half and the Weeks kid is a good one and so were those receivers,” said Thompson. “We were able to contain them when it counted most and all you want to do is win and move on to the next one. And here we are, playing in our fourth straight State Championship Game. We’re going to celebrate this one tonight, count on it, but not for long.”
Mustang running backs Kayven Cooper and Justin Sibley combined for 122 yards on 17 totes.
After a offensive onslaught in the first half, the Mustangs got defensive on the Texans (13-2) in the second half.
The Mustangs drove from the Texan 40 all the way down to the 5 with 5:15 in the third but a Watson pass was picked off by Hunter Bonugli at the 4.
The WO-S defense stonewalled the Texans and after a 21-yard punt, the Mustangs took over at the Texan 25 with 3:46 in the third.
The Mustangs drove it all the way down to the 3 but on fourth-and-1 from the 3, they drew a false start penalty. Kicker Chad Dallas, though, put the Mustangs up by nine with a 25-yard field goal with 11:57 remaining.
The Texans drove from their own 46 to the Mustang 29 but Mustang linebacker Kayven Cooper stopped weeks for a five-yard gain on a fourth-and-7 from the WO-S 29 with 6:38 remaining.
Cooper then had a big run for 53 yards down to the Texan 7. The Texans held firm and Dallas missed a 28-yard field goal attempt with 2:57remaining.
The Mustangs went into intermission with a 27-21 edge after plenty of offensive fireworks in the first half as the teams combined for 573 yards.
WO-S piled up 264 yards in the half as Watson zipped for 211 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries, including a 99-yard romp to the end zone. He also completed 3-of-6 passes for 31 yards, all to Blake Robinson.
Weeks was not on target in the half, completing just 10-of-27 passes, but most were big ones as he threw for 256 yards in the half and three TDs. The Texans had 309 yards in the half. Stoever had four catches for 113 yards. Gavin Martinez had three catches for 69 yards and Wyatt Mann had one for 69 yards.
The Texans struck quickly on the first play from scrimmage when Weeks, avoiding one WO-S defender, found a streaking Stoever along the right side in stride and the receiver did the rest, sprinting to the end zone for a 84-yard touchdown. Kicker Nicholas Kohls nailed the point-after to give the Texans a 7-0 edge with 11:39 in the first quarter.
The Mustangs drove from their own 35 to the Texan 47 on their first series but the Texans came up with a turnover as Thomas Carruthers jumped on a fumble by Jarron Morris. The Mustang defense held strong though, forcing a quick three-and-out.
After forcing the Texans to another three-and-out, the Mustangs received a huge punt return by Morris, who fielded it at the Mustang 27 and cut up the middle on his way to a 45-yard return all the way to the Wimberley 28.
On the very next play, Watson ignited the Mustang faithful when he took a quarterback keeper and turned it into an elusive 28-yard touchdown run. He made a cut up the middle and cut back to the right sideline and outsprinted the Texan secondary for the score. Chad Dallas booted the extra-point to tie it at 7-7 with 4:11 in the first quarter.
WO-S’ Morris had another big play when he picked off Weeks’ at the Texan 32 with 3:21 left in the first. It was only Weeks’ second interception of the season. However, the Mustangs were unable to capitalize when the Texan defense rose up and stopped them on fourth-and-6 from the 28.
Weeks would retaliate on the next series when on third-and-7 from the Texan 31 he had a perfect strike over the middle to receiver Wyatt Mann, who zipped 69 yards for the touchdown, making it 14-7 with 1:07 in the first.
Watson and the Mustangs quickly countered on their next possession. Watson took a keeper to the left side, eluded a pair of Texan defenders and hit the middle of the field for an 80-yard sprint all the way down to the Texan 8. On the next play, Kayven Cooper bolted off right tackle for a eight-yard touchdown jaunt, breaking a tackle to get into the end zone. The point-after kick failed as the Mustangs trailed 14-13 with 11:54 in the half.
The Texans managed to drive from their own 22 to the Mustang 43 on the next series before becoming bogged down.
Weeks booted a perfect 42-yard punt down to the Mustang 1 as it looked like WO-S would play it safe. With the Texans playing tight at the line of scrimmage, Mr. Watson looked like he was just going to sneak it off left tackle to give the Mustangs a little more room. Instead, he hit the hole like a bolt of lightning and not a single Texan was going to catch him as he scurried down the left sideline for a 99-yard touchdown jaunt that would’ve made former Dallas Cowboys great Tony Dorsett blush. Dallas made the extra-point, giving the Mustangs a 20-14 edge with 8:03 left as it took Watson just 13 seconds to run the 99 yards.
Morris who was so dominant as a junior in returning punts, returned the biggest one in his senior year when he put the Mustangs up 27-14 with3:26 in the half. He fielded the ball on a hop along the left sideline, took it back to the right, eluded two Texans’ tackles and cut back up the middle for a 77-yard touchdown gallop.
The Texans would answer though, zipping 81 yards in 11 plays and cut it to 27-21 when Weeks hit Martinez with a 39-yard touchdown dart along the left side with just 0:18 left.
WO-S 7 20 0 3— 30
Wimb 14 7 0 0 —21
Wimberley: Cade Stoever 84 pass from JoJo Weeks. Nicholas Kohls kick.
WO-S: Chaka Watson 28 run. Chad Dallas kick.
Wimberley: Wyatt Mann 69 pass from Weeks. Kohls kick.
WO-S: Kayven Cooper 8 run. Kick failed.
WO-S: Watson 99 run. Dallas kick.
WO-S: Jarron Morris 77 punt return. Dallas kick.
Wimberley: Gavin Martinez 39 pass from Weeks. Kohls kick.
WO-S; Dallas 25 field goal.
First downs 13 15
Rushes-yards 37-374 24-92
Passing 41 311
Total yards 415 403
Comp-Att-Int 4-9-1 13-41-2
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 12-100 6-64
Rushing: WO-S, Chaka Watson 17-236, Kayven Cooper 10-73, Justin Sibley 7-49, Jarron Morris 3-16; Wimberley, Thomas Carruthers 13-51, JoJo Weeks 10-50, Cade Stoever 1-(-9).
Passing: WO-S, Chaka Watson 4-9-1 41; Wimberley, JoJo Weeks 13-41-2 311
Receiving: WO-S, Blake Robinson 3-31, Jarron Morris 1-10; Wimberley, Cade Stoever 5-150, Wyatt Mann 2-91, Gavin Martinez 3-69, Thomas Carruthers 3-1.