Mustangs welcome in running Panthers

Published 6:28 am Wednesday, October 31, 2018

WEST ORANGE — The West Orange-Stark Mustangs return home this week as they take step No. 3 in their quest of trying to capture yet another District title as they welcome in the Liberty Panthers to Hooks Stadium Friday night in District 10-4A Division II action.

The Mustangs (4-4, 2-0) are fresh off two nice 10-4A victories, defeating Silsbee 24-21 and Hardin-Jefferson 35-14 last week.

Meanwhile, the Panthers (5-2, 1-1) won five of their first six games before getting roughed up by Silsbee 28-7 last week. Liberty squeezed past Hamshire-Fannett 38-35 in their 10-4A opener.

The Mustangs broke away from a 7-7 tie last week against the Hawks by erupting for 28 unanswered points in Sour Lake. The Mustangs outgained the Hawks 328-176 as they controlled the game throughout.

The Panthers were also tied with Silsbee 7-7 last before the Tigers (5-4, 2-1) scored 21 unanswered points.

Liberty finished 8-3 last year, finishing as the runnerup behind the Mustangs in their old district and returned 13 starters this season.

The Panthers have remained in their solid ball-control offense in which they practically run the ball on every down.

Liberty is sparked by the likes of swift backs J.J. Slack and Jeremiah Guillory along with Keegan Tuner at quarterback. They also have nice depth in the backfield in fullback Jordan Leday and Elishia Chambers. The Panthers will be facing a Mustang defense that has allowed 238.5 yards a game, 190.9 of it coming via the ground.

The Panther defense is sparked by defensive end Wesley Scott, linebacker Luke Evans along with Slack and Guillory in the secondary.

The Liberty defense will face a balanced Mustang offense that is averaging 313.5 yards a game, 157.8 on the ground and 155.7 in the air.

Mustang quarterback Tyrone Wilson completed 12-of-19 passes for 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Hawks last week. He has completed 57-of-108 passes for 842 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Jay’zn Robinson is the leading receiver for the Mustangs, hauling in 2o catches for 272 yards and a TD. Brettlin Wiley continues to be the main deep threat with 17 catches for 415 yards and four TDs, including a 51-yard touchdown reception last week.

The Mustangs enter the game against the Panthers a little banged up in the backfield as both senior running backs Kavyn Cooper and Justin Sibley suffered early ankle injuries against the Hawks.

Cooper, who broke away for a 40-yard TD against the Hawks in his only carry last week, leads the Mustangs with 437 yards and five TDs on 85 carries. Sibley has 272 yards and three TDs on 51 carries. Wilson has scooted for 236 yards and four TDs on 55 carries. The Mustangs will likely see the likes of Ja’Marcus Ross (29-186-1) and Elijah Gales getting more carries this week.

The Mustangs will close out their regular season on the road next week at Hamshire-Fannett (5-3, 1-1). In other 10-4A action this week Hamshire-Fannett is at Silsbee while Hardin-Jefferson has its bye.