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Rested Mustangs to entertain winless Hawks

WEST ORANGE – There is no question about it, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs will be chomping at the bit come Friday night when they welcome in the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks to Hooks Stadium for Homecoming in a District 10-4A Division II encounter.

When the Mustangs (4-1, 1-0) see the winless Hawks (0-7, 0-2) across the line of scrimmage it will be just the third time in 36 days that the Mustangs have seen someone else in a different colored uniform.

The Mustangs did not play against Crosby due to Tropical Storm Imelda. They could not face the Jasper Bulldogs in their last non-district game due to major lightning and then they had their bye week last week.

Sandwiched in the middle of all that was a 46-7 non-district win at Bridge City and a huge 17-9 10-4A win on the road at Silsbee Oct. 11.

The Hawks are still in search of their first victory of the season. H-J has battled hard pretty much all season long and have absorbed some tight losses.

They fell to Coldspring (36-29), East Chambers (37-20), Woodville (36-35), LC-M (29-14) and Tarkington (46-42) in non-district. They fell to Hamshire-Fannett 22-21 in a tight 10-4A opener before falling to Silsbee 58-24 last week.

The Mustang defense, allowing just 213.6 yards a game, 133 on the ground and 80.6 in the air, will be concentrating on stopping the Hawks’ Slot-T offense, which has put up a solid 26.4 points a game.

Quarterback Weston Nugent powers the Hawks attack. He spreads the ball around to tailback Izakk Whitman, fullback Kevin Borque along with Sage Roberts, Brayden Martel and Arcadian Judge.

The Mustangs will look to continue to make strides with their spread offense behind junior quarterback Jerren Terrell.

The Mustangs will check in averaging 344.6 yards a contest, 216.4 on the ground and 128.2 in the air.

Terrell has completed 54-of-89 passes for 641 yards and four touchdowns and has rushed for 86 yards and two scores.

Sophomore back Elijah Gales powers the Mustang ground arsenal with 603 yards and eight TDs on 80 carries. Fellow sophomore back Ja Quailon Chaney has shown sparks in the last two games and has zipped for 120 yards and two scores on 21 totes.

Jayson Ziegler Jr. (15-118), Chavon Crawford (10-70) and Artavious Samuel (6-116) lead the Mustangs in receiving.

This will mark the 16th meeting between the two schools as H-J will be seeking its first win of the series. The Mustangs lead the series all-time 15-0, outscoring the Hawks 741-86. The Mustangs won last year’s contest 35-14, outgaining the Hawks 328-176.

The Mustangs will venture to Liberty next week to face the Panthers. H-J has a bye next week and will return home Nov. 8 at home against Liberty.