Tigers down Mustangs in rain-fest with big early plays

Published 10:21 pm Friday, December 7, 2018

PORTER – Getting big offensive plays early, the Silsbee Tigers went on to down the West Orange-Stark Mustangs 19-9 in a rainy quagmire in the Class 4A Region III Finals at Texan Drive Stadium Friday night.

The Silsbee (10-4) win ended the Mustangs (9-5) streak of playing in the State Championship Game at four.

Despite the loss, it was the Mustangs’ eighth straight trip to at least the Regional Finals in Coach Cornel Thompson’s eight-year tenure.

The Mustangs lead the all-time series against the Tigers 23-4. However, Silsbee owns a 2-0 advantage in the playoffs. The Tigers defeated the Mustangs 21-20 in 1998 in another rain-soaked bidistrict game in a game in Port Arthur.

The Tigers will move on to face either Cuero or Navarro in the State Semifinals next week.

Silsbee is now on a seven-game winning streak with their last loss coming against the Mustangs 24-21 in District 10-4A action back on Oct. 12.

The rain was absolutely ridiculous throughout the game, especially in the first half. The Tigers led 19-9 at intermission as both teams couldn’t get anything going in the second half.

Silsbee back Dralyn Taylor ran for 153 yards on 23 carries to spark a Tiger offense that had 231 yards. Tiger quarterback Raymond Foster completed just 1-of-6 passes but the one was a big one – a 75-yard touchdown toss on the first play of the game.

The Mustangs found success running the ball at times but couldn’t get the passing game going with the wind and wet balls and driving rain.

WO-S quarterbacks Tyrone Wilson and Jerren Terrell combined to go 2-for-20 for 18 yards. Wilson was 2-for-11 while Terrell was 0-for-9.

Mustang freshman Elijah Gales, who had a superb game on both sides of the ball, led the Mustang ground game with 90 yards on eight carries while senior standout Kayvn Cooper had 83 yards on 20 totes as the Mustangs finished with 191 total yards.

Both teams had issues with the ball-handling, each turning the ball over three times on fumbles.

The Tigers struck on the very first play of the game when Foster connected with Darshon Turk on a 75-yard touchdown reception as Turk pulled away from the WO-S secondary. Diego Carreon Gonzalez booted the extra-point to give the Tigers a quick 7-0 lead.

Mustang linebacker Tyrone Brown pounced on a fumble by Silsbee back Chris Martin at the Tiger 28 with 10:08 in the first quarter.

The Mustangs, however, after getting down to the Tiger 4 had a pair of costly fumbles including one by Wilson that Silsbee pounced on at the Silsbee 15 with 5:58 left in the first.

The Tigers quickly countered with the legs of Taylor as they marched 90 yards for a score in seven plays.

Taylor carried six times for 87 yards and scored on a 29-yard touchdown jaunt. He had a 42-yard sprint to the Mustang 40. The Tigers, however, mishandled the extra-point snap and Mustang Justin Sibley returned it all the way for two points to make it 13-2 with 2:58 in the first quarter.

The Tigers cashed in on a turnover with seven minutes left in the half after the Mustangs had a bad handoff exchange and Silsbee linebacker Dillon Tarver picked up the ball and went on a 30-yard scoop-and-score. The two-point conversion pass failed as the Tigers led 19-2.

The Mustangs answered with a splendid nine-play, 75-yard drive that featured the talents of freshman Gales. Gales carried four times for 50 yards. He broke off a 25-yarder to the Tiger 44 and on third-and-7 from the 22 he almost found the end zone on a 21-yard dart to the 1. Kavyn Cooper then scored from a yard out and Mustang kicker Angel Ibarra booted the extra-point to trim it to 19-9 with 2:48 in the half.

The Tigers outgained the Mustangs 177-104 in the first half.

Gales zipped for 84 yards on six carries for the Mustangs and Wilson and Terrell combined to go 0-for-7 passing.

Taylor ran for 93 yards on 11 carries for the Tigers and Foster was 1-for-3 with that one big pass play.