Mustangs to meet Newton on Friday
Last updated 9/12/2023 at 10:20am
West Orange-Stark lost a tough overtime decision last week to a larger school. This Friday night the Mustangs renew their rivalry with another top team in this area from a lower classification.
The Mustangs went to Port Neches-Groves and actually led the Indians until a late touchdown tied the game forcing overtime. The bigger PNG had more players rested through the game than West Orange-Stark who used several two-way players thus were more tired going into the overtime won by the Indians 26-20 to hand the Mustangs their first loss of the season.
WOS Head Coach Hiawatha Hickman recognized the hard work by the Mustangs. "We matched their intensity pretty much the whole game. I thought we played very well on offense. The offensive line played well, those guys inside faced a really stout defense that doesn't give up a lot of points, and we were able to manage 20 on them," Hickman said.
Several individual Mustangs were recognized by the coach. Quarterback Marcus Turner ran for over a hundred yards and threw for over a hundred to help carry the Mustangs on offense.
Tahj Amerson had another good night that included a 69-yard touchdown run. Nicholas Crosson had several big catches in the game.
Hickman compared the WOS defense like a prize fighter battling a bigger opponent. Hickman stated, "I think we held our own. You look over at the Indians and they're twice as big as us. In the last part of the fourth quarter I thought their size kind of got the best of us. They leaned on us a little bit and broke a couple of runs near the end. I was very proud of my kids and the way my kids went out and executed the great game plan that kept us in the contest right to the end. I was just real proud of the Mustangs, I thought we gave a great effort."
This is Week 4 of the season for most teams including the Mustangs. This week's opponent will be the Newton Eagles who because of various circumstances have only played one game which the Eagles won 44-39 over Woodville.
Newton has a tradition rich program like West Orange-Stark. The Eagles play hard and are very athletic.
On offense the Eagles line up in a standard Slot-T or Wing-T formation, but this season they will get into a lot more of a Spread formation than they have in the past. They will show two receivers split to both sides or three to one side and another to the other side of the field. "I think it's just to get their guys in space," Hickman analyzed.
The best Eagle on offense is senior Railyn Adams at wide receiver or at running back. Adams is all over the field making a lot of spectacular plays accounting for 18 touchdowns last season.
Splitting time at running back with Adams is senior Madre Spikes. The Newton quarterback KJ Porter is only a freshman and is very athletic. Hieko Malone at wide receiver is another target for passes from Porter, or Malone will also line up as the quarterback.
Hickman observed, "They've got athletes that play all over the place. Those three or four guys are their bread and butter. The Eagles will get in an unbalanced formation on one play then in the Spread on the next snap."
"Because they have only played one game we don't have a lot of film on Newton. We know what they run, they know what we run. We've played each other for several years in a row. This is going to be another tough opponent for us this week," Hickman added.
Newton has based out of their Diamond 7 defense for years. The Eagles will line up in man coverage across the board in the secondary and bring players off the edge in blitzes.
Like the Mustangs, Newton plays many of their players on both sides of the football. As a result the Eagles will shift into various zone coverages to give their two-way players in the secondary a bit of a break.
Railyn Adams is a star for Newton on defense as well. Adams made a hundred tackles last year and picked off 8 passes.
Middle linebacker Braylen Watson a sophomore is also a top Eagle on defense. Ethan Hutson at defensive end is another defensive standout for Newton. Jalen Couch is a key Eagle in the secondary.
Hickman evaluated, "They're athletic, they're fast, not real big, they look a lot like us. The Eagles are going to play you hard from the start to the finish. This is a big rivalry game that we've played for years. I think defensively it's the same old Newton they're going to lay their ears back and try to come get you."
Running the ball will be an important key for the Mustangs to help open up the passing game to secure a victory. "This may be one game where we have a little advantage when it comes to size. Our offensive line is not small so we may have some advantage there. I think we can run the ball and take some shots on them. We want to take advantage of our size and our depth that we have. Defensively, we just have to be sound because they really pose a lot of problems when they line up in the Slot-T and then in the Spread the next play. It will be a lot of formation recognition this week trying to get prepared for the things that they do. It'll be a good challenge for us this week," Hickman concluded.
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs and the Newton Eagles play Friday night in Dan R. Hooks Stadium. The kickoff will be at seven.