Two Orange teams in Regional Finals for first time ever
Last updated 11/30/2021 at 5:31pm
I've been banging on a typewriter or computer for over half-a-century and can't remember a time when the city of Orange sent two football teams to the regional finals in the state tournament.
Some of you gray-bearded old-timers running around town may remember something before I arrived on the scene in 1966, but I surely don't recall a phenomenon like this.
What I'm trying to point out is that both the West Orange-Stark Mustangs and the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Battlin' Bears-two rival school less than 10 miles apart who should be rooting for each other Friday night-each fought their way through the Texas High School State Playoffs to the regional finals and hope to be ready to go to the state semifinals next week.
The Mustangs of Head Coach Cornel Thompson blitzed La Marque, Jasper and undefeated Bellville to earn a shot at revenging last year's 35-22 loss to the China Spring Cougars-who just happen to also be unbeaten this season-Friday night at Tomball ISD Stadium in Tomball. China Spring defeated defending state champion Carthage 27-17 Friday.
After the 'Stangs' vaunted defense blanked the Brahmas in the second half--much like they have in all 12 of their games this season--and posted their 36-17 victory Friday night, Thompson commented, "We beat a good team, but we're heading to the fourth round again, and in the state of Texas, that's no small accomplishment."
And the LC-M Bears, who were groomed by Randy Crouch before he retired and turned the head coaching duties over to Eric Peevey, finished second in their district and then rumbled past Palestine, West Columbia and El Campo to earn a shot at Tyler Chapel Hill (10-3), who upset district champion Vidor in the bi-district round and ruined their undefeated season.
This is the first time the Battlin' Bears have reached the regional finals since 1997 and are eagerly looking forward to their Friday night meeting with Chapel Hill.
LC-M's defense has improved with each outing and came up with the big plays when it counted most Friday in their 24-21 squeaker past the El Campo Ricebirds. The Bears have come a long way in a short time as the players all bought into all of the new formations and terminology that comes with a coaching change.
You can expect to see the names of many Battlin' Bears and Mustangs players at the collegiate level in the next year or two because when a team gets to the regional finals level, there is much more exposure to the college scouts who attend these important contests.
College recruiters are looking for talent, but most important, high school football players who know how to win.
And the football players from West Orange-Stark and Little Cypress-Mauriceville certainly have proven they can do that!!!
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