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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Mustangs try to stay undefeated at The Reservation

 

Last updated 9/5/2023 at 12:42pm

For the second season in a row West Orange-Stark has started with two straight wins. The goal is to keep the victories rolling in and that will be a difficult task this week as the Mustangs must travel to face a team that played in the state championship game last season.

The Mustangs got their second win of the early season by winning the Orange Bowl last Friday night against the Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears. West Orange-Stark won convincingly 33-6 to retain the Orange Bowl trophy.

Mustang Coach Hiawatha Hickman thought the win was a team effort starting with his defense. "The defense played a lot better this week. I think we were more dialed in on what the Bears were doing. I thought the kids were more focused. We had a good week of practice with the defense, and I thought our front guys on defense played well," Hickman recalled.

Standouts on defense were Daylen Edwards and Josh Miller in the middle. William Prewitt had eight or nine tackles at defensive end, and Jalen Gilmore played a good game at linebacker. In the secondary Nicholas Crosson did a good job at cornerback.

Hickman added, "I was happy with the defense. We held the Bears to six points on a good play that we didn't cover well."

The WOS offense did exactly what Coach Hickman wanted it to do. "We worked all week in practice and we moved down the field. We wanted to get it on the edge and run it inside. I thought the first drive took a lot of the Bears. I think it was a 13 to 14 play drive on which we worked our way down the field, kind of did what we wanted to do. Once we scored and got ahead then we came back we got Tahj Amerson going," Hickman reminded.

Amerson scored four touchdowns in the game and rushed for about 130 yards. Tahj played both at running back in the Mustangs' Spread formation but also scored a couple of times after taking a direct snap in the Wildcat formation.

Hickman praised, "We put Tahj Amerson in on our goal line or two point conversion offense and he scored twice. Then in the running game he scored a couple of touchdowns. He had a great night."

This week West Orange-Stark plays at The Reservation against Port Neches-Groves. The Mustangs were 2-0 last year when they played the Indians and suffered their first defeat of the season at home.

The Indians eventually played in the Class 5A Division II state championship game losing to South Oak Cliff. PNG has four starters back from that squad on its offensive unit this season.

A returning starter at a new position is the Indians' quarterback Shea Adams who played mostly wide receiver last season. Adams did it all though for PNG last year accounting for 31 touchdowns receiving, rushing, and passing.

"Adams has done well in making the change from receiver to quarterback. He's a 6-4, about a 190 pound guy. He's got a big frame and is being highly recruited as a receiver, but he's playing quarterback for them. Shea does a good job with the RPO action, he also runs the ball well when they get into a heavy set," Hickman indicated.

In front of Adams is a massive offensive line. Hickman described, "They're a big group of human beings. Starting with Jackson Christian at left tackle who is 6-4, 285 pounds." Hickman rated Christian a four star blocker.

Port Neches-Groves make strong use of the run pass option game. The Indians will fake a running play and have Adams look for an open receiver to throw the ball. They will throw a lot of deep shots according to Hickman using out routes to sucker defenders and then cut the pattern up to go long.

"We're going to have our hands full with that offensive line and that quarterback. The Indians have two or three running backs that all hit the ball where it's supposed to go and they will methodically work their way down the field and try to impose their will on you. They're probably the best football team we will have played to this point of the season," Hickman evaluated.

PNG Coach Jeff Joseph is from the Katy football program and has adopted the same 50 Defense used at Katy for his Indians. Hickman described, "They are going to play five in the box, they're going to play cover four in the back, and they rally to the football."

The biggest difference between this season and last year is probably how the Indians play defense. Their linebackers Dylan Talbert and Mason Wuenschel read what the opposing offense is doing and attack hard. Hickman believes that change in the defense started during the late run by Port Neches-Groves to the championship game.

Noseguard Jonathan Hernandez returns to anchor the middle of the Indians' defense. "He'll wreck your offense if you don't take care of him. He's a really good player," Hickman emphasized.

A key for the Mustangs is keeping the front trio of Indians in the defensive line off of their quarterback Marcus Turner. Hickman stated, "They terrorize people. We've got to give Marcus time. We've got to get those guys blocked up to give Marcus time to take some shots."

Where the Indians may have the advantage in size, Hickman believes the Mustangs have an advantage with their speed. "We're going to give the Indians some stuff they haven't seen and try to take some shots with our speed. I think we have the advantage of being faster than them," Hickman concluded.

The West Orange-Stark Mustangs will try to stay undefeated when they play the Port Neches-Groves Indians on Friday. The game begins at 7:00 PM in The Reservation.

 

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