Mustangs will look to tame Leopards

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, November 20, 2019

WEST ORANGE – After totally demolishing the Huntington Red Devils 56-7 in the bidistrict round last week, the District 10-4A Division II champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs will turn their attention to the La Grange Leopards Friday when the two teams square off at Conroe’s Moorhead Stadium at 7:30 p.m. in the Class 4A Region III Division II area round of the postseason.

The Leopards (8-3), the third-place team out of District 12-4A, edged past La Marque 12-7 in the bidistrict round last week.

The Mustangs and Leopards have met before with WO-S winning 42-7 in the same location back in 2014.

La Grange had it going on early in the season, racing out to a 7-1 start before dropping a pair of district games before getting back on track against La Marque.

The Leopards went 4-1 in non-district play, defeating Fulshear (28-13), Columbus (24-21), La Vernia (43-39) and Taylor (52-24). They dropped a 55-22 decision to Navarro.

They started off 12-4A play with wins over Brookshire-Royal (42-12), Caldwell (25-15) and Smithville (14-13) before dropping games to Bellville (52-27) and Giddings (56-21).

The Leopards have scored a lot of points (310) but have also give up a bunch (307) as well.

Meanwhile, the Mustangs (8-1) have outscored their opposition 320-98 for the season.

The Leopards are definitely sparked on offense by quarterback Matthew Johnson. Johnson is the team’s leading rusher with 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns on just 126 carries. He has also completed 19-of-36 passes for 530 yards and eight TDs.

Leopard tailback D.J. Taylor has darted for 766 yards and five TDs on 96 totes.

La Grange also will insert Caden Cooper and quarterback at times. He has completed 18-of-31 passes for 314 yards and seven TDs.

The Leopards don’t throw the ball much but when they do, it is usually for big gains. Ryder Imhoff is the leading receiver (10-268-5) followed by Dayton Jarvis (6-210-3) and Zach Werner (9-182-3). The three are averaging over 26 yards a reception.

The Leopards will try to move the ball against a stingy Mustang defense that allows a mere 185.3 yards a game, 116.2 on the ground and 69.3 in the air.

The Mustangs wasted little time in dismantling Huntington last week as they led the woeful Red Devils 49-0 by intermission and a running clock actually began with 5:40 left in the first half.

Plenty of Mustangs saw action as a lot of starters were able to rest, including starting quarterback Jerren Terrell, who did not even have to take a snap.

Th Mustangs will check in averaging 335.3 yards a game, 219.1 on the ground and 116.2 in the air.

Terrell has completed 75-of-127 passes for 1,0001 yards and eight TDs.

WO-S sophomore running back Elijah Gales will look to crack the 1,000-yard barrier Friday night. He had 109 yards and three TDs on just five carries against Huntington and now has 980 yards and 20 TDs on 115 totes. Jayson Zeigler (39-237-2), who has been so versatile for the attack, and JaQuailon Chaney (37-230-3) will also see some touches.

Zeigler (19-171-3) is also the team’s leading receiver followed by Chavon Crawford (13-101), Andre Thomas (9-161), Gales (9-115) and Artavious Samuel (7-144).

Th game against La Grange will mark the 100th playoff game in WO-S’ stories history. The Mustangs are 73-26 in the postseason all-time.

The WO-S-La Grange winner will face either Jasper or Bellville in the Region III Division II semifinals next week.