Strong finish propels Mustangs past Sweeny, 21-3

Published 6:54 pm Friday, November 23, 2018

NEW CANEY – Showing plenty of heart and determination, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter Friday afternoon to topple the very formidable Sweeny Bulldogs 21-3 at Texan Drive Stadium in the Class 4A Region III Division II area round of the playoffs.

Both teams played outstanding defense but it was the Mustangs (8-4), winners of six straight games, and their offense that turned the tide against the Bulldogs (10-2) late.

The 10-4A district champion Mustangs outgained Sweeny 268-181 in what was a hard-fought battle with plenty of tough hitting going on from the opening kickoff to the end of the game.

The Mustangs will move on to face either the Jasper Bulldogs or Bellville Brahmas in the Region III Division II semifinals next week.

The Mustangs, who nabbed their 71st playoff win in school history, continue to chase milestones. After becoming the winningest team by percentage in the state’s history this season, they will try to get a milestone for Coach Cornel Thompson next week.

Thompson (99-16) is just one win shy of reaching the 100-victory plateau as WO-S’ head coach. The Mustangs are 33-5 in the playoffs under Thompson’s leadership and have reached at least the regional finals the last seven years, including four straight trips to the 4A Division II State Championship Game that includes state crowns in 2015 and 2016.

Mustang junior quarterback Tyrone Wilson had a gutsy performance before going out of the game late in the fourth quarter due to helmet-to-helmet contact. Wilson completed 6-of-8 passes for 82 yards and rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries.

Senior tailback Kavyn Cooper moved the chains well throughout and finished with 118 yards on 20 carries.

The Bulldogs got 166 yards out of their ground game. Bruising back Quinton Martin rumbled for 83 yards on 11 carries while tailback Cameron Adams had 63 yards on 11 carries. Bulldog quarterback Joseph Effenberger was held in check as he completed just 3-of-9 passes for 15 yards and a pair of interceptions.

The Mustangs put together a superb seven-play, 84-yard touchdown drive to go up 7-3 with 7:52 remaining.

The biggest play came when Wilson teamed up with big-play receiver Brettlin Wiley on a perfect 57-yard strike down the right sideline that got to the Bulldog 26.

Wiley also saved the drive when Wilson picked up a first down to the Sweeny 14. Wilson fumbled on the play but Wiley was able to pounce on it. Two plays later tailback Justin Sibley took a sweep around the right end for a 12-yard touchdown gallop.

The Mustangs cashed in on a Bulldog turnover when Ja’Vonn Ross picked off a Effenberger pass at the Mustang 46 with 5:38 remaining. Cooper capped off a four-play, 54-yard scoring march with a two-yard blast off left tackle to put the Mustangs up 14-3 with 3:34 remaining. Cooper had big rushes of 25 yards and 13 yards back-to-back to set up his score as he received strong blocking from the offensive line.

Mustang freshman Elijah Gales put the icing on the cake when Bulldog receiver Bryshaunt Williams coughed up the leather at the Mustang 48 and Gales scooped it up and went 52 yards for the score with 3:11 left.

The Bulldogs cashed in for three points on a Mustang turnover early in the fourth quarter.

Mustang back Teshaun Teel, who had a superb day on defense, fumbled the ball over to Sweeny at the Mustang 29 with 1:18 in the third.

The Mustang defense stiffened though as the Bulldogs could only get to the WO-S 22. However, burly Sweeny kicker Mason Massey booted a 39-yard field goal with 11:15 in the game.

The Mustangs then watched a 91-yard kickoff return by Renaldo Rose for a touchdown get called back on the ensuing kickoff after a holding penalty. But WO-S bounced back with the 84-yard drive.

Doughnuts were posted on the scoreboard by both teams in the first half as defense was certainly the theme as the score at intermission was 0-0.

WO-S couldn’t capitalize on a couple scoring opportunities in the first quarter.

The Mustangs drove 63 yards on eight plays on their first series of the game with Cooper chewing up 50 yards on five carries but the senior standout back took a tough hit at the Bulldog 7 and coughed it up with 7:19 in the quarter.

After the WO-S defense held Sweeny to a three-and-out, Mustang return man Renaldo Rose returned a punt 27 yards to the Bulldog 21 and after a Bulldog personal foul, the Mustangs had it at the Sweeny 11.

However, the Sweeny defense buckled down at the 4 on third down and Mustang kicker Angel Ibarra missed a 21-yard field goal with 3:43 in the first quarter.

The Mustangs also failed on a fake punt attempt when punter Paulino Santos was picked off by Bulldog Courtlyn Davidson at the Sweeny 41 with 0:30 in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs marched from their own 41 to the Mustang 14 with a big 34-yard run by Martin that got to the Mustang 14. Two plays later Mustang defensive back Rose thwarted the threat when he outwrestled the ball from receiver Justice Clemons for an interception at the Mustang 9 with 9:50 in the half.

The Mustangs outgained the Bulldogs 120-91 in the half.

Cooper had 60 yards on 10 carries for the Mustangs while Wilson had 33 on 10 totes and completed 4-of-6 passes for 27 yards.

Martin had 67 yards on five carries for the Bulldogs. Effenberger was 2-for-4 passing for 16 yards.