Mustangs motivated to win the Orange Bowl
Last updated 8/29/2023 at 3:50pm
Week 1 did not start well for West Orange-Stark, but in the end the Mustangs won on the road. This week the Mustangs return home to play their crosstown rival in the Orange Bowl.
Nederland is always a tough place to play and that was true last Friday for the Mustangs who trailed the Bulldogs at halftime. Adjustments were made and West Orange-Stark completed the come from behind game with a 40-34 win.
Coach Hiawatha Hickman summarized the comeback victory for the Mustangs. "The kids showed a lot of grit staying in there. We talked all week long it was going to be a dogfight, and we had to stay in the fight. We went over there with our 29 Mustangs and we looked across the field and they've got 65. We knew we were going to have to withstand some runs from them since they are big and physical with a lot of lettermen. First half they jumped out on us and gave us some different looks we hadn't seen on film. We had to make some adjustments which we did in the second half," Hickman related.
Marcus Turner the Mustangs' quarterback had a tremendous night. Turner had 22 carries for 212 yards rushing and passed for 131 yards. Hickman praised, "He was definitely a standout."
Nicholas Crosson made two catches for 72 yards and two Mustang touchdowns. Freshman Khelvy Jefferson tied the game for WOS with a great run down by the goal line.
"We had a lot of people that contributed. We needed it because we had some guys cramping in the second half, but our conditioning came along because you could tell in the fourth quarter the Bulldogs were down and we were starting to catch our second wind which I was real happy we were able to do that because the Bulldogs only played one way while the majority of our guys play both ways. It was a great win for the Mustangs," Hickman exclaimed.
Friday night will be the renewal of the Orange Bowl between West Orange-Stark and the Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears. Both the Mustangs and the Bears will come into the game with 1-0 records.
The LCM Bears operate out of the Spread on offense. Hickman indicated, "They do a good job of spreading you out and do a real good job with the quarterback run game. They give you a lot of zone read, power read, and a lot of quarterback sweeps. They're a little bit different than what they were last year, but they're big up front."
The quarterback for the Bears is Dylan Payne who played linebacker on defense last season. Payne likes to run the ball and can punish opposing tacklers attempting to bring him to the ground.
Little Cypress Mauriceville is expected to rotate its running backs behind Payne. The leading ground gainer for the Bears maybe J'Lynn Morris with Jonah Fuller and Daunte Greer getting plenty of opportunity to also run the football.
"We're going to have to play assignment football because they give you a lot of different formations that we'll have to align up to cover. They are the Bears and this is the Orange Bowl, so we know they're going to give us their best shot. We had a dogfight with them last year in which we had to come back and win," Hickman reminded.
The Bears on defense are guided by Defensive Coordinator John Davis who is a disciple of the 4-3 format. LCM will bring blitzes in the 4-3 off of the edge.
Graduation may have taken some of the big names from the front four for LCM, but the newer guys there play very hard. Eddie Winters at the defensive end is a leader in that unit for the Bears.
Middle linebacker Luke McDow is a very good hitter and tackler for Little Cypress Mauriceville. Hickman said, "McDow had a real good game last week against Hardin-Jefferson."
Coach Hickman elaborated, "They kind of do what they do. They play a cover two shell in the back, they just kind of line up, and do their thing. Nothing exotic about them those kids just play hard."
Going into the week of the Orange Bowl against Little Cypress Mauriceville, Coach Hickman and his Mustangs hope to start off better than they did last week against Nederland or even a year ago when the Bears took an early lead in the rivalry game before West Orange-Stark rallied. Hickman and the Mustang coaches are reviewing videotape from LCM's first game and the scrimmages to be better prepared for the Bears come Friday night.
Hickman gave his preparations for the game. "We've got an opportunity this Friday to make some adjustments to the same offense we saw last week, and I think we'll play a lot better on defense. Hopefully, having a game under our belt we'll start out better on defense and play like we did in the second half against Nederland. Offensively we'll try to spread it around, and hopefully Marcus doesn't have to carry it 22 times like he did last week, and we'll get our running game going," Hickman concluded.
The Orange Bowl is Friday night. West Orange-Stark plays Little Cypress Mauriceville beginning at 7:00 in Dan R. Hooks Stadium in West Orange.