Young Stangs face stout Newton unit

Published 7:01 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

WEST ORANGE — If football fans want to see a possible “mirror image” of the Class 4A Division II 2016 state champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs, they could look at the 2018 version of the Newton Eagles.

The Mustangs (1-1) will welcome in the top-ranked team in Class 3A when the Eagles (2-0) roll into Hooks Stadium Friday night in a battle of titans.

The Mustangs outscored opponents 811-69 in that amazing 2016 run and the Eagles will look to follow that same path.

After all, the Eagles won the 3A Division II state championship 40-16 over Gunter last year and they darn near have everyone returning from that unit.

Factor in that the Eagles return 17 starters off that unit and they’re already rolling, posting two big blowout victories by smashing a solid Silsbee unit 56-14 last week after dismantling Kirbyville 71-0 in their opener.

The young Mustangs, meanwhile, gained some confidence back after throttling Little Cypress-Mauriceville 47-0 last week after a gut-wrenching 19-18 loss to Nederland in their opener.

Offensively, the Eagles have put up astronomical numbers the first two weeks led by standout tailback Darwin Barlow along with quarterback Josh Foster and fellow speed demons Tamauzia Brown and Kevin Watson and a stout, experienced line.

Against Silsbee, Barlow rumbled for 204 yards and three touchdowns while Foster completed 9-of-12 passes for 246 yards.

Last season Barlow rumbled through defenses for 2,246 yards and 38 touchdowns in the Eagles wide-open Wing-T attack while Foster had his hands involved in 45 total TDs.

There is no doubt that the Mustangs will have their eyes on Brown as well after he piled up 1,442 total yards a season ago and patrolled the secondary for 12 interceptions.

The Mustangs, despite returning just four starters on defense, have held their own the first two weeks, allowing just 134 yards a game, 99.5 on the ground and 34.5 in the air.

The Mustang offense, averaging 372.5 yards a game, found their groove against the LC-M defense last week, piling up 518 yards and 22 first downs.

WO-S is relying on some youngsters to produce with just three starters back from last year’s 4A Division II state runnerup.

Quarterback Jerren Terrell completed 9-of-11 passes for 196 yards and three scores against the Bears.

Mustangs standout senior running back Kavyn Cooper, who missed the Nederland game due to an ankle injury, had 90 yards on 10 carries against the Bears. Ja’Marcus Ross had 99 yards on 11 totes for the season. Quarterback Tyrone Wilson, who stepped in and played solid defense against the Bears, has 75 yards and a pair of TDs on 14 carries while Keontae Strother (5-53) and Brettlin Wiley (3-117) lead WO-S receivers.

The Eagles are stout on defense as well led by All-State linebacker Jadrian McGraw along with all-district defensive line picks Kristian Paulette and James Sylvester along with the all-district cornerback Brown and all-district safety Maliak Metoyer.

The road certainly doesn’t get any easier for the Mustangs next week when they visit the Crosby Cougars (2-0) Crosby, 9-2 a season ago, defeated Class 5A power Manvel, last year’s Class 5A Division I state runnerup, 49-47 last week.