Bulldogs clip mistake-prone Mustangs, 19-18

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 31, 2018

WEST ORANGE — Not being able to bust through on a gritty Nederland defense and coughing up the ball four times and missing four extra-point attempts the West Orange-Stark Mustangs fell to the Bulldogs 19-18 in the season opener for both teams at Hooks Stadium Friday night.

The Mustangs (0-1) turned the ball over four times and missed all four extra-point attempts and the Bulldogs (1-0) held off the Mustangs several other times in big fourth down situations to get the job done.

The Bulldogs were without the services of standout senior quarterback Blaysin Fernandez, who sat the game out, taking precautionary measures due to a knee injury as junior Bryce McMorris drew the start.

McMorris certainly held his own well and the Bulldogs received a superb 100 yards on 20 carries by sophomore tailback Kade Scott.

The Mustangs, who were without the services of senior standout running back Kavyn Cooper, who was out with a ankle injury, outgained the Bulldogs 235-190.

Mustang quarterback Tyrone Wilson completed 8-of-18 passes for 79 yards and was the leading rusher with 57 yards on 15 totes. Justin Sibley added 40 yards on eight carries.

McMorris completed 3-of-11 passes for just 22 yards but the Bulldogs scored on a perfectly executed halfback pass to go up 19-12 early in the third.

Trailing 19-12 with 1:13 in the third, the Mustangs stuffed the Bulldogs at the Nederland 31 on a fourth-and-1 play. Nine plays later, the Mustangs hit paydirt as Wilson scored on a sneak on fourth-and-1 to trim it to 19-18. However, the Mustangs failed on their fourth straight point-after kick to trail by one with 9:36 remaining.

The Bulldogs held off a last gasp by the Mustangs when Cedric Pete picked off a pass by Mustang backup Jerren Terrell at the WO-S 44 with a minute left.

Nederland cashed in on a WO-S turnover to go up 19-12 early in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs pounced on a bad pitch at the Mustang 34 with 9:35 in the third.

On the next play, the Bulldogs executed a perfect trick play on a halfback pass as Rene Cunningham hit a wide open Blayne Burnett along the right side for a 34-yard score. The point-after kick was blocked but the Bulldogs led 19-12 with 9:28 in the third.

The Mustangs went from their own 41 all the way down to the Bulldog 12 on the next series but the Bulldogs stuffed a Wilson pass on fourth-and-6 from the 12 with 5:22 in the third.

Both teams cashed in on turnovers in the first half in sloppy, wet conditions as the Bulldogs led 13-12 at intermission.

Mustang defensive back Ja’Vonn Ross scored on an interception return and fellow defensive back Teshaun Teel had a fumble scoop-and score in the half.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs used the solid running from Scott to lead at the half. Scott had 89 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the half.

Nederland outgained the Mustangs 121-103 in the half.

The Mustangs drove from their own 28 to the Bulldog 28 on the first series of the game as Wilson completed two passes for 32 yards but the drive bogged down after a couple WO-S penalties and Bulldog defensive back Kerrington Broussard picked off a Wilson pass at the Bulldog 20 with 8:04 in the first quarter. Wilson was 5-of-10 for 54 yards in the half and was also the leading rusher with 33 yards on eight carries.

Nederland marched the ball all the way from their own 40 to the Mustang 20, getting some nice running from Brown but the Mustangs put an end to it when Ja’Vonn Ross stepped in front of a McMorris pass and zipped 81 yards down the left sideline for the score. The point-after kick failed as the Mustangs grabbed a 6-0 edge with 2:23 in the first quarter.

The turnover bug bit the Bulldogs on the first play of the next series when Scott coughed up the leather at the Bulldog 35 and Teel was at the right place at the right time when he scooped it up and went 33 yards for the score to push the Mustangs up 12-0 as the Mustangs failed on another extra-point kick.

The Bulldogs used Scott’s bruising running-style to get on the board as they put together a 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive, all of it via the ground game. Scott was the main instigator as he carried it nine times for 68 yards, including runs of 17 and another that went 21 to the Mustang 3. Scott capped it with a two-yard dart off right tackle on fourth down. The point-after attempt failed as the Bulldogs trailed 12-6 with 4:53 in the half.

The Mustangs had a costly turnover with 3:20 left in the half when Sibley fumbled at the Mustang 32.The Bulldogs grabbed the lead six plays later.

Bulldog back John Mazyck, who had 31 yards on 10 carries, had back-to-back runs of nine yards that got down to the Mustang 3 and he capped it off with a two-yard touchdown run off left tackle. Nederland kicker Payne Barrow drilled the extra-point, putting the Bulldogs up 13-12 with 1:26 in the half.

The Mustangs will make a short road trip next week when they visit the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Battlin’ Bears in the Orange Bowl while the Bulldogs will play host to the Beaumont United Timberwolves.