Butler, Sibley hungry to help lead young Mustangs

Published 10:12 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

By Caleb Adams

Orange Leader


WEST ORANGE – The West Orange-Stark Mustangs had yet another great season last year, in a normal team’s perspective, but from their point of view it was a disappointment not winning it all. Even though they won every single game up until the state championship, the Mustangs are not satisfied with second place.

Last season the Mustangs went 13-1, with the loss being the state title game, in Class 4A Division II. This season the district changes to District 10-4A Division II, including Hamshire-Fannett, Hardin-Jefferson, Liberty and Silsbee.

West Orange-Stark is always making deep runs into the playoffs, adding five to six games every year. With those games comes the weeks of practice for the team, and that practice pays off the next season. With at least a month extra to engrain the plays and style into the players, head coach Cornel Thompson’s team gets to come back to practice next season with playoff mentality on the brain, and know what it takes to get back there.

Senior running back Justin Sibley says that the extra weeks during playoffs helps let them know what they need to be doing next season.

“It let’s us know we can get back there, and let’s us know we can get there,” said Sibley.

Linebacker Lande Butler says the deep playoffs helps their early season preparations.

“Going that far let’s us know what we need to do, to keep going back there (state title game),” said Butler.

The Mustangs are very much used to winning, not because the competition is easy, but because they know how to work hard and bring intensity to every single day. It also doesn’t hurt that they always have a top defense to use and abuse other teams. The reason behind the success isn’t that complicated to Sibley.,

“Pursuit and physicality is all there is to it,” said Sibley.

For Butler the answer is just as simple.

“Discipline, we work a lot and we work hard to fly to the ball on defense,” said Butler.

For most teams or people losing the state championship game it would be hard and take a toll, but for the Mustangs it just made the thirst for victory more prominent than ever.

“It gives me the drive to go back and win it,” said Sibley. “Knowing how we lost, knowing we got a lot of things to work on, made me have a burning feeling in my heart, especially because it’s our senior year.”

With the new district, the Mustangs have a few new faces to play during the season, but it doesn’t matter who they play.

“We aren’t itching to play anybody, we play who is in front of us at a given time,” said Butler. “We are ready for whoever we play.”

West Orange-Stark has a deep legacy in Southeast Texas football, and they don’t plan to let that legacy down this season. The Mustangs are a “junior heavy team,” according to Coach Thompson, which means the core of the team has been to the playoffs and state the past three seasons now. Expect the Mustang defense to be as ready as ever and the offense to be running past their adversaries.