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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Thompson to write history of Mustang football


Last updated 7/4/2023 at 2:10pm

Cornel Thompson wearing his WOS winningest team in Texas high school football shirt at his desk where he is working on a book about the history of Mustang football

For more than four decades the West Orange-Stark Mustangs have thrilled their fans with winning football teams. Now one of their longtime coaches is writing a history of the winningest high school football program in the state of Texas.

Cornel Thompson was the linebacker coach in the first few seasons of West Orange-Stark (WOS), was promoted to defensive coordinator where he served for almost three decades, and concluded his coaching career as the head coach of the Mustangs. In his retirement Thompson is working to compile a book recalling the great Mustangs of the past, remembering the memorable games, and highlighting the winning tradition at West Orange-Stark.

The idea to write a book about Mustang football first got in Thompson's head about twenty years ago when he concluded coaching in Huntsville, Texas and was considering his retirement from coaching. "I had already started writing that book until Coach Hooks called me and wanted me to come back along with Mark Foreman to West Orange-Stark. The book went on hold for a few years, about twenty years," Thompson recalled.

After Thompson officially retired following the 2021 football season he found and dug out his old notes. He has about fifteen or sixteen legal pads full of notes he's taken some of them front and back sheets with game by game the Mustangs have played over the years from 1977 to his last year as their coach.

Many people have asked Coach Thompson why he was writing his book, inquiring whether it was to just make money. Cornel replied, "No! It was not to make money. I just felt like since we became the winningest program in the history of Texas high school football that I wanted to get out that message about West Orange-Stark and have something recorded about it."

The story of the West Orange-Stark Mustangs football program began in 1977 with the consolidation of two schools and two teams the West Orange Chiefs and the Orange Stark Tigers. There was naturally a bit of a rivalry amongst the players and coaches when the new school was created.

The new high school was actually based on the two previous schools' campuses. The ninth and tenth grades went to classes at the previous Stark High School in Orange and at the West Orange campus were the eleventh and twelfth grade students bringing the total to 1,950 students at West Orange-Stark that first year of the school.

The trustees with the consolidated school board hired Steve McCarty to be the first head football coach. "In my opinion, he was probably the only guy in the state of Texas that could have pulled two staffs together under those circumstances which was two school districts at that time really at each other's throats over the years, there wasn't any love lost between the two of them," Thompson emphasized.

Cornel found himself in somewhat of a unique situation with the consolidation of the two schools. Thompson elaborated, "I had been coaching at Stark High and was a graduate of West Orange High School, so I saw it from both sides of the street."

Coach McCarty in the words of Thompson was saddled with the dubious job of combining two coaching staffs into one cohesive unit by keeping some coaches and letting others go. McCarty did bring in a new offensive coordinator with him and a defensive coordinator by the name of Dan Ray Hooks.

McCarty made Thompson the Mustangs' linebacker coach which Cornel promised he would do for a year before looking for a head baseball coaching job which was his first love. "Probably the best thing that ever happened to me in my career was when Steve McCarty took me out of baseball to where I could really concentrate on becoming a football coach because football was my ticket just like for so many other young coaches to other sports as well. Football is king in the state of Texas," Thompson professed.

The student athletes from West Orange did not know the coaches from Stark High School and vice versa for the players from Orange with the coaches from West Orange. Thompson suggested, "It was a time for the players and coaches to get to know each other. We probably had, other than the 2014 to 2016 years, the best group of athletes that we have ever had assembled here in Orange, Texas because we were pretty good but we didn't know each other."

The Mustangs won five of their first seven games that initial season. The school board came into the dressing room after the fifth win to pat the players and coaches on the back because the success of the football team helped pull the two communities tighter together following the merger.

The visit by the trustees may have got into the heads of the young players and they did not play well the remainder of the 1977 season. The Mustangs lost their last two games to Vidor and Thomas Jefferson, two teams West Orange-Stark was better than according to Thompson, to finish 5-4 on the year.

The Mustangs went 7-3 in their second season. The highlight of the season was their first win over the Port Neches-Groves Indians who had won the state championship in 1975 and finished runners-up in 1977.

The win by WOS over PNG was repeated in 1979 in what proved to be the district championship game. The Mustangs went to the playoffs for the first time, but lost in the Astrodome to Baytown Lee in the first round.

"The success of the program really started right off the bat in the first four years that Coach McCarty was here," Thompson reflected.

Prior to the 1981 football season Steve McCarty stepped down and West Orange-Stark saw a transition with the elevation of Dan Hooks from his position as defensive coordinator to being the head football coach. Thompson threw all his support behind Hooks to be the head coach.

Coach Hooks called Thompson into his office. Thompson said, "He told me he wanted me to be his defensive coordinator, which is what I wanted, and to be his first assistant."

The transition went very smoothly under Coach Hooks with winning seasons the first two years. Thompson was running the off-season program and was asked by Hooks how could they improve the conditioning of the Mustangs to which Cornel replied he wanted to get away from the weight machines being used and instead buy more weights with the bars to hold them to upgrade the team's weight lifting program. The weight room at West Orange-Stark High School is named in Thompson's honor to this day.

A rare losing season occurred in 1983 during which Thompson started eight sophomores on defense. Those Mustangs needed to grow up and by 1984 West Orange-Stark competed again for a district championship.

A win over district favorite West Brook had the Mustangs sitting pretty in first place. A later district loss to the eventual co-state champion Beaumont French Buffaloes kept West Orange-Stark out of the playoffs but would set the stage for bigger things the next year.

The Mustangs went undefeated during the 1985 regular season for the first time in school history. West Orange-Stark advanced to the third round of the post season before losing a close game at the Astrodome to the ultimately undefeated state champion Houston Yates Lions which blew out Odessa Permian in the championship game.

The final season for West Orange-Stark to play in Class 5A the highest classification at that time in 1985 was significant. "The transition was moving in the right direction our last year in 5A, and it was really beginning to start being fun," Thompson pointed out.

Enrollment numbers in the West Orange-Cove School District had gone down and in 1986 West Orange-Stark was dropped down to Class 4A for the upcoming football season. The combination of their outstanding 1985 season and the reclassification had the Mustangs picked by preseason football prognosticators as the number one team in Class 4A in the state.

Going into the 1986 football season WOS had several returning starters back on offense and defense plus the junior varsity had been undefeated the year before. Thompson responded, "We were going to attack that 4A division just like we did the 5A division. We tried to schedule our non-district games and ended playing all the 5A teams in our district the year before because nobody else would play us none of the 4A schools would play us."

This was a blessing for the Mustangs because it prepared them for the competitive district they were in and for the playoffs. There was one stumble in district for West Orange-Stark when it lost at home to the Jasper Bulldogs because the Mustangs lost two fumbles inside the Bulldogs' five-yard line.

West Orange-Stark and Jasper would meet again in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs at Sam Houston State in Huntsville. The Mustangs avenged the earlier loss with a win that put them in the semifinals.

The New Braunfels Unicorns were the next Mustang opponent led by their running back Brad Grant who was the leading rusher in Class 4A and had not fumbled all season. The Unicorns used an unbalanced set against WOS which Thompson admitted the Mustangs were unprepared for in the first half.

"We went in at half time made our adjustments to the unbalanced set which we still ran that defense against unbalanced sets until I retired. We came out the second half scored on our first drive, caused Grant to fumble which we recovered leading to a score, and went on to beat them 28-12 to go to the state championship game," Thompson indicated.

The state championship at the Astrodome pitted West Orange-Stark against the McKinney Lions with running back Randy Simmons. At 6-4, 220 pounds, with track star speed Simmons was the kind of runner Thompson and his Mustang defense knew they were going to have to gang tackle every time he got the ball.

Simmons passed Grant to become the leading rusher in the state, but the Mustangs held him under a hundred yards and limited his longest carry to 21 yards. Thompson exuded, "The pursuit of the Mustangs won the football game as we were draped all over him."

"Winning that first state championship was a really big deal, and it's the first time a state championship had been won in Orange County in twenty years since the Bridge City Cardinals had won in '66," Thompson said.

To repeat as champions is always a special feat for any team. The 1987 Mustangs not only repeated as state champions they also went undefeated.

After being humbled by Port Neches-Groves in a preseason scrimmage the Mustangs turned things around. A narrow win in the first game against Aldine Nimitz was followed by a home game at Mustang Stadium against the Aldine MacArthur Generals.

This was the third meeting in three years between West Orange-Stark and Aldine MacArthur with the two schools splitting the two previous games. The Generals were ranked number one in the state and number three in the nation according to some polls.

The stadium was packed with fans and a lot of media from all over Texas. Thompson threw a bit of a curve at Aldine MacArthur by the Mustangs playing a 40 Defense instead of their normal 50 Defense which the coaches of the Generals were not prepared to face.

MacArthur took an early lead with a field goal. Rick Dearing of the Mustangs had two big sacks from his linebacker position that killed later drives and kept the score 3-0 in favor of the Generals.

Late in the game Kevin Smith for WOS was inserted as a tight end which the Mustang coaches had noticed were being covered by the Generals with defensive ends. Thompson stated, "We ran Kevin down the field to the end zone laid the ball up and he out-athleted the defender, caught the ball for a touchdown, and we won the game 6-3."

"Even though we won the state championship the year before that had to be one of the biggest victories in Mustang history that turned the program around for the next almost forty years," Thompson proclaimed.

Another thrilling win for the Mustangs came in district during the game at Jasper. Both teams were ranked at the top of the state polls with a number of great players on each squad.

The game remained scoreless as the Mustangs had a snap on a field goal attempt go through the hands of Kevin Smith and the Bulldogs missed on a field goal kick. Smith caught a long pass which setup a dramatic field goal by kicker Russell Turkel with less than a minute on the clock that gave WOS a 3-0 victory.

West Orange-Stark advanced in the playoffs to the semifinals and faced Kerrville Tivy at the Astrodome. The Mustangs primarily ran the ball as did the Antlers from their Straight T-Formation.

The score was tied 7-7 in the second half when the Antlers had a fourth-and-one at the Mustangs' two. Film had tipped off Coach Thompson and the Mustangs which way Tivy was going to run from the formation they lined up in pre-snap.

Safety Quinton Tezeno read it perfectly and smashed the runner for a loss giving the ball to West Orange-Stark on downs. The Mustangs then drove the length of the field for the go ahead touchdown and won the game 21-7 to advance to their second championship game in a row.

Rockwall was the opponent for the Mustangs. The Yellow Jackets' quarterback and wide receiver coach Todd Dodge was from Orange and later played quarterback at Port Arthur Thomas Jefferson and at the University of Texas before becoming a very successful high school head coach at Southlake Carroll and Austin Westlake.

The Mustang defense held the explosive Rockwall offense to just seven points. West Orange-Stark won the game 17-7 at College Station for its second straight state title.

Many of the Mustangs returned from that championship team for the 1988 football season. The talk of a record tying three-peat as state champs was common around the Orange and West Orange communities.

Thompson confessed, "We had that swagger about us after winning two state championships. We had about six shutouts that year, won the district championship, and got in the playoffs."

The first tough playoff game that year was in the quarterfinals against Tomball. "They were up on top of us, and we ended coming from behind to beat Tomball 24-22. That was a magnificent victory I thought because they were a very good football team," Thompson said.

For the second consecutive year West Orange-Stark faced Kerrville Tivy in the semifinals. The Mustangs controlled the football with their running game and defeated the Antlers 28-14 to advance to a third straight state championship game this time against the Paris Wildcats.

The Mustangs did not have a great week of work prior to the championship contest. Thompson and the other WOS coaches attributed it at the time to the media because everything they read was already giving the championship to the Mustangs and the players began to believe it.

The Wildcats ran a downhill sweep off tackle, and they ran that sweep using four different blocking schemes. Thompson told, "No matter what we did worked, nothing worked to stop that sweep, they were wearing us out."

Paris won 31-13 over West Orange-Stark using a blocked punt and four turnovers. "Our whole attitude was not as it had been all year going into that football game. We weren't ready to play the football game, and it cost us a third state championship," Thompson reminded.

A consistency in the over forty years of West Orange-Stark football has been a hard hitting defense. The defensive alignment during those years was the 50 Defense of which Thompson was and is a strong proponent.

The 50 Defense goes back to the 52 Defense used by the Arkansas Razorbacks. It was the first defense Thompson used when he was an assistant coach at Kirbyville High School.

Thompson described his 50 Defense, "I was multiple with the 50 after I got the defensive coordinator's job. We used the zero technique where we had a noseguard that was head up with the opposing center. I always wanted to cover the center because he had an extra job to do before he could block my noseguard, and if we had an athlete at noseguard he would be hard to block."

Even retired from coaching Thompson is still called to come speak on the 50 Defense. He has given more than twenty clinics on it the most recent at a local school in late June and has two more talks scheduled in the near future.

Coaches ask him why the 50 Defense. "I say when we go in at halftime, if it's broke I know how to fix it. I can adjust it and fix it right now. We've defensed everything from the Triple I, the Straight T, the Wishbone, the Spread, and the Wing T. You name it, we've defensed it. We see what the other team is doing on offense and our defense doesn't change from game one to game fifteen or sixteen. It doesn't change with the exception of making a few minor adjustments to what we are defending against our opponent," Thompson replied.

The 50 Defense was taught to the young Mustangs even before they come up to the varsity. Thompson continued, "I think the best thing that we've done at West Orange-Stark over the years is that we've been able to get our personnel in a position that they can play and make a contribution to the Mustangs so that we can be successful."

A dozen years would pass before West Orange-Stark made another run at a state championship. Y2K was okay for the Mustangs' football fortunes.

Thompson was optimistic before the season opened. "We had athletes in the secondary, we had a good forcing unit, and some good players on defense so I knew we were going to have a fun year," Thompson predicted.

The Mustangs opened with a good win over Ozen in a close contest. The third game was against the talented Bay City Blackcats at the Astrodome, and WOS won on a late field goal after recovering a fumble caused by a sack from defensive end Paul Thomas.

That was just a sample of what Thomas would contribute that year for the Mustangs as he set a school record with fifteen and a half sacks. He would be rewarded at the end of the season by being named all-state at defensive end a position he moved to at the request of Coach Thompson at the start of the season.

West Orange-Stark won an impressive game in the playoffs against a very good Friendswood team with Thomas making another huge sack to help ice the victory. The Mustangs got their first win ever 10-6 over an old nemesis the LaMarque Cougars to advance to the semifinals.

Corpus Christi Calallen ran the Slot-T offense which Thompson and the Mustangs have faced about forty times over the years losing only once. This was not the one time, but it was close.

Calallen had the lead late even with injuries to its best runner and quarterback. WOS shifted from its normal offense to the Spread like a two-minute offense, and late in the fourth quarter the Mustangs scored on a hitch pass to win 27-21 for the opportunity to play the next week in the championship.

The Spread Offense was new and only a few teams were running it in 2000. One of those was the Ennis Lions who had moved a linebacker to quarterback and used some outstanding skill players to be the Mustangs' opponent in the championship game at Texas Stadium.

Thompson was not happy with the site for the game. Ennis had played five weeks in a row at Texas Stadium. It would be like a home game for them and the Mustangs would have to travel over three hundred miles to get there.

Coach Dan Hooks wanted to give the Mustangs the opportunity to play at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Hooks stepped on the coin after it was flipped saying the Mustangs would come to Texas Stadium.

The Mustangs were not allowed to practice in Texas Stadium so they did not even step on the field or get their first look inside until the day of the game. They did get to dress in the Cowboys' locker room as the designated home team.

The first half was spent with the Mustangs' heads still in the clouds. Thompson observed, "The Mustangs were in awe. We were standing around looking. The Lions were beating our eyes out the first half."

The second half was more competitive, but the damage had been done. "I felt like if we had made Ennis travel, we could have slept in our own beds, and played them in the Dome the score would have been closer. We might not have won, but we didn't give ourselves a chance, and I've always been miffed over that," Thompson complained.

The decision to play the 2000 championship game at Texas Stadium was a rare disagreement between Head Coach Dan Hooks and Defensive Coordinator Cornel Thompson with the Mustangs. The friendship dates back to the first days of West Orange-Stark High School in 1977.

Hooks and Thompson were assigned the same room at the school. Thompson fondly remembered, "We sat there all morning and talked football. After we sat there and talked and visited I believe that I won Dan over that he was satisfied I could coach the inside backers and knew what I was talking about."

The duo first met when Hooks was a coach at Lamar University and went to do recruiting at Kirbyville High School where Thompson was an assistant coach. Later Hooks did recruiting visits to Stark High in Orange looking for a defensive end for Lamar which Thompson was then coaching at the high school.

Beginning in 1977 Hooks was the defensive coordinator and Thompson was the linebacker coach. In 1981 Hooks was appointed head football coach and wanted Thompson to be his linebacker coach, defensive coordinator, and first assistant. Thompson looked back, "Up until after 2010 when I became the head coach Dan was my boss man. We had a friendship, we were close, we could agree to disagree."

A tragic incident marred the final season of the partnership between Dan Hooks and Cornel Thompson. The Mustangs' quarterback Reggie Garrett had just thrown a touchdown pass during a game before coming to the sidelines and was standing behind Coach Thompson.

"I heard someone call me and say, Reggie! I turned around and looked. He had gritted his teeth, his eyes rolled back, and boom he fell right beside me. By that time our trainers and everybody that was there peeled away. When I checked and didn't get his pulse I knew he was dead," Thompson sadly remembered.

"That is something we will always remember because there was not a greater young man than Reggie Garrett. It was one of the major tragedies that occurred in our program."

To honor the legacy of Reggie Garrett, West Orange-Stark adopted the motto give 112% for its students and athletes. Garrett wore the number 12 on his Mustang jersey.

After the 2010 football season Dan Hooks retired after thirty years as the head coach of the Mustangs. Thompson said many people expected him to be the primary candidate for filling the vacancy. "The thought never crossed my mind. I never thought I would be the head coach because I thought Coach Hooks and I would end up going out together," Thompson admitted.

Thompson actually left West Orange-Stark for three years from 2001 to 2004 and was going to retire at that point. He came back as the first assistant and defensive coordinator for six years more years before the retirement of Hooks.

Two other WOS coaches also applied for the job during the two weeks it was open for applications. Thompson explained, "I wasn't real sure that I was going to get the job. I had already got calls from three other coaches that if I didn't get the job they wanted me. I interviewed with the selection committee which asked ten or twelve questions, and I was the sixth applicant. They told me that day that I was their new head coach."

The start of the Cornel Thompson era as head coach of the Mustangs in 2011 did not start well with three losses in their first four games. After that the coach got his players pulling together, and West Orange-Stark started winning making it to the fourth round of the playoffs before being eliminated.

This was the beginning of a special streak for the Mustangs. During the first nine years with Thompson as the head football coach West Orange-Stark made it to at least the fourth round of the state playoffs every post season which is an incredible feat of consistency which was stopped in 2020 when several Mustangs contracted COVID prior to their second round game and could not play.

Included in that span of nine seasons were four straight appearances in the state championship game. The Mustangs won two of those four games they played in the finals.

The first of four championship games was in 2014 against the high scoring Gilmer Buckeyes. West Orange-Stark held a 25-7 lead just before half time when Gilmer tried a long field goal which came up short and was caught by the Mustangs' Deionte Thompson who ran it back for an apparent touchdown, but a flag was thrown wiping out the points for WOS.

Reviewing the film of the play more than twenty times Thompson still has not seen the block in the back for which the flag was thrown. Later he told the head of officials in Houston, "Your boys cost us the state championship."

Thompson confessed his own decision to play for an onside kick to start the second half back fired when the Buckeyes kicked deep and the Mustang return man fumbled the ball giving West Orange-Stark terrible field position inside the five. Another fumble followed resulting in a quick score for Gilmer and momentum swung the Buckeyes' way.

Later a reverse screen was wide open for what would have been a sure Mustang touchdown, but the normally sure handed receiver dropped the ball. Gilmer completed the comeback holding WOS scoreless in the second half while scoring four times.

Mustang quarterback Jack Dallas was a sophomore in 2014. His next two years Dallas would lead West Orange-Stark to back-to-back state championships and was named the offensive Most Valuable Player in both games.

Texas Football magazine came out in 2015 with West Orange-Stark ranked as the number one team in Class 4A, Division II. The only returning offensive starter for the Mustangs was Jack Dallas which proved to be a pretty good guy to start your offense.

"Jack was a tremendous leader, he was like a coach on the field. He'd come to the sideline to tell you what the other team was doing on defense, where we needed to attack them. Jack had a grip on what we were doing offensively because he was thrust into the fire as a sophomore and took us all the way to the state championship. He could make a good play out of a bad play. As a junior he was ready to take charge," Thompson evaluated. "Best quarterback West Orange-Stark has ever had."

The 2015 season was fun for Coach Thompson with very few problems and no major problems during the course of the year. The Mustangs breezed through the district and then the playoffs making it to the championship game against the Celina Bobcats.

The first drive of the game the Celina quarterback drove the Bobcats downfield until he broke his throwing arm trying to brace himself while being tackled. Celina got a field goal and would not score again.

Dallas had a great game scoring a touchdown on an option play to take the lead for the Mustangs. "That was a great game 22-3 beating Celina," Thompson emphasized.

There have been some great years of West Orange-Stark football, but it will be hard to find a better one than 2016. The Mustangs went undefeated winning their fourth state championship, shutting out eight opponents, and setting a school record for points scored while outscoring their opponents 811 to 62 during the season.

The championship game began like it was going to be more of the same with West Orange-Stark driving to the Sweetwater one-yard line on the opening possession. An exchange on a handoff was fumbled and a Sweetwater defender scooped up the loose ball running it over 90 yards for a touchdown to stun the 'Stangs.

Thompson commented, "Our players came to the sideline just matter-of-factly. I can remember like it was yesterday. They're looking like no big deal. The Mustangs didn't panic. There was nobody gripping at anybody or nobody saying anything. Sweetwater kicked off to us and we scored to take the lead 7-6 since Sweetwater missed their point after."

The remainder of the game belonged to the Mustangs as the defense did not allow a point while grabbing a pick six and the offense helped pad the lead with a late touchdown. "That was naturally a big win, one of the great thrills of my coaching career to win it two times in a row," Thompson confirmed.

For the fourth year in succession West Orange-Stark made it to the state championship game in 2017. The Mustangs played the Pleasant Grove Hawks for the state title.

Pleasant Grove operated out of the Slot-T Offense which is geared to run the ball ninety percent of the time. In the forty some odd times over the years that Coach Thompson played against the Slot-T to that point the Mustangs had never lost.

On the first play from scrimmage the Hawks threw a pass to their tight end who took it to the house. Pleasant Grove showed West Orange-Stark they could throw the ball when they wanted to connecting on another long pass to a wide open receiver in the second half.

Thompson talked to the Pleasant Grove head coach later. "The Hawks' coach said he knew they had to throw the ball against us that they would not be able to run it like they had been doing," Thompson echoed.

The loss brought an end to an enviable WOS winning streak. The Mustangs had won 40 games in a row over three seasons before falling to Pleasant Grove.

Maybe the most significant game in the history of West Orange-Stark football was played the next season. It was the five hundredth game in the school's history and officially made the Mustangs eligible to claim the title as the winningest team all time in Texas high school football.

A special banner signifying the accomplishment was made prior to the game held on October 12, 2018 at Dan R. Hooks Stadium with the Silsbee Tigers. Thompson invited Dan Hooks to attend the game and advertised on Facebook to get ex-Mustangs to come to the game because it was going to be a big deal to officially recognize West Orange-Stark as the winningest football school in Texas. "I was telling somebody, we better win!" Thompson remembered.

Silsbee kicked off to start the game and a short boot was taken by the Mustangs' Jay'zn Robinson who ran it back 69 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers tied the score in the second quarter before Mustang kicker Angel Ibarra kicked a 22-yard field goal in the last minute before the half to give West Orange-Stark a 10-7 lead going into the locker room.

In the second half Silsbee broke two long runs for touchdowns sandwiched around a second field goal by Ibarra to grab an eight point lead. The Mustangs drove 77 yards in thirteen plays with Kavyn Cooper scoring on a seven-yard run and quarterback Tyrone Wilson converting the two-point conversion to tie the game 21-21 with just over four minutes left in regulation.

The Tigers were hoping to drive for a late field goal to retake the lead. On fourth and three from the WOS 44 the Mustang defense made the stop of the game dropping Silsbee's Dralyn Taylor for no gain turning the ball over on downs with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter.

On first down Wilson threw a pass to Brettlin Wiley good for 38 yards to the Silsbee 21. Two plays later Wilson ran for eight yards to the thirteen.

Angel Ibarra kicked a 30-yard field goal with six seconds left in the game to give West Orange-Stark a 24-21 victory. "The Mustangs reached their goal of being the winningest all-time program in the state of Texas. That's a great milestone during our career," Thompson applauded.

The big blue banner celebrating West Orange-Stark as the winningest high school football team in Texas hangs proudly now in the Cornel Thompson Weight and Conditioning Room at the high school. Through the 2021 football season the Mustangs had won better than 80 percent of their games which was three percent better than any other Texas high school with at least 500 games played.

Thompson plans to see a book publisher about editing the material after he types his some fifteen to sixteen note pads of information. He has chapters from 1977 through the 2021 season.

"I'm going to write one more chapter that I am fixing to start writing after the Fourth of July which is the 2022 season. It's going to contain some stats, what's going on with me since my retirement, list milestones over the years that will be well worth reading in the book. I'm looking forward to getting that done," Thompson concluded.

When the book will be published is still up in the air. Thompson anticipates the finished product being available maybe within a year.

With four state championships in football West Orange-Stark has lots of memories to cherish


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