Mustangs face stout Cougars

Published 7:10 am Wednesday, September 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE — A stout non-district schedule will continue for a young group of West Orange-Stark Mustangs as they will visit Class 5A Crosby Friday night at Cougar Stadium.

The Mustangs (1-2) battled hard against Class 3A No. 1 Newton last week before dropping a 21-7 decision to the Eagles.

Meanwhile, the potent Cougars (2-0) had their bye week last week and got rested up after two nice wins, none bigger than their second one.

After topping New Caney 28-14 in their opener on the road, the Cougars went back home and took down Manvel, the Class 5A Division I state runnerup last season, 49-47 as Crosby took the win on the game’s last play.

Crosby finished 9-2 last season, advancing to the area round in which they fell to PN-G 72-69 in a wild affair.

Coach Jeff Riordan welcomed back five starters on offense, many of them excellent skill people that can go the distance.

The Cougars, preseason favorites by many to win District 12-5A Division II, are certainly led by quarterback Jaiden Howard. Howard, who had over 3,000 yards passing and 600 rushing and 366 TDs a season ago, is already off to a blazing start for a Crosby offense that is churning out 486 yards a game.

Howard has completed 18-of-33 passes for 282 yards and three TDs and has rushed for 229 yards and two TDs on 27 carries.

The Cougars also have two workhorses in the backfield as Zack Simon has darted for 235 yards and three TDs on 35 carries and Noel Wright has 174 yards and a TD on 29 totes.

Howard has two go-to receivers in Matthew Fagnana (9-144-2) and Marquise Doucette (8-131-2).

The Mustang defense, which has played well in the early going, is allowing just 197 yards a game, 139.7 on the ground. WO-S will look to continue to shore up their tackling after Newton broke a few for big plays last week.

The Cougars return eight defensive starters from 2017, including First Team all-district defensive linemen Jamar Hamilton and Tim Camp.

The Mustangs are churning out 322 yards a game but were held to 223 in the loss to the Eagles as they struggled to get their passing attack going.

Mustang quarterback Jerren Terrell has completed 13-of-30 passes for 217 yards and three TDs. Fellow quarterback Tyrone Wilson has completed 11-of-28 passes for 154 yards and one score.

Tailback Kavyn Cooper, who sat out the opener against Nederland due to an injury, has racked up 194 yards on 28 carries the last two weeks. Ja’Marcus Ross has zipped for 116 yards and a TD on 15 totes while Wilson has found the end zone three times and has 22 rushes for 80 yards.

Jay’zen Robinson (5-63-1), Keontae Strother (5-53-0) and Brettlin Wiley (3-117-2) are the Mustangs’ top receivers thus far.

The Mustangs are halfway through a stout non-district schedule. They will host old Orange County rival Bridge City next week and will visit Jasper Oct. 5 before opening District 10-4A Division II play at home Oct. 12 against Silsbee.

The Cougars, meanwhile, will face a stern road test to open up District 12-5A Division II play next week when they visit the Vidor Pirates.