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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Mustangs must play their best to beat Longhorns

 

Last updated 10/3/2023 at 2:46pm

Jalen Gilmore of the Mustangs was a standout on both offense and defense during West Orange-Starks' 62-0 win over Liberty

Three weeks of frustration were released last week for West Orange-Stark. This week the Mustangs hope to follow up their first win in a month with another victory against a state ranked opponent.

West Orange-Stark snapped a three game losing streak against ranked teams with a lopsided 62-0 blowout at Liberty. The Mustangs play their next game at home against the state ranked Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns.

Mustang Coach Hiawatha Hickman said the goal last Friday was to get that winning feeling back. "Our kids have been working hard in those three games we lost in a row we were in all of them. It was good to go over there and get a win," Hickman stated.

Mustang quarterback Marcus Turner led the offense and scored two touchdowns. Hickman indicated, "The Mustangs that stood out were our running backs Khelvy Jefferson the freshman who never disappoints, he's going to be a great football player around here. Tahj Amerson scored twice, and Jalen Gilmore our other running back played well. Offensively, we executed how we wanted to and tried to be balanced throwing it and running it and we were able to work on a lot of things in that game on Friday night."


"I think my offensive line is starting to get where they need to be. Those guys have six games under their belts now and the young ones that were in there including Denim Orebo is starting to come into his own. He played really well," Hickman responded.

Getting a shutout was a big boost for the West Orange-Stark defense. Jalen Gilmore was also a standout on defense. Freshman Ja'Cuincy Walker was moved up to the Mustang varsity to play free safety and had two interceptions.


Anterrion Fontenot is a third freshman who made his presence felt at linebacker. Seniors Joshua Miller played another strong game for WOS as did Joshua Sterling in the defensive line. Christopher Jones played well at cornerback.

Hickman summarized, "We played good as a team which what we wanted to do. We talked about that all week, executing, and going over to Liberty doing what we're supposed to do to get ourselves ready for another district game this week against a tough opponent."

The Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns were state ranked prior to last week and they proved that ranking to be a good one. The Longhorns kicked a late field goal to edge the high touted Jasper Bulldogs 31-28 and remain undefeated on the season and improved to 2-0 in district.


The Spread offense employed by the Longhorns has some dangerous weapons spread out all over the field. Last year's starting quarterback D'onte Zeno has been moved to wide receiver, but will line up in the Wildcat to take direct snaps from the Longhorn center with which he can run or throw the football.

The new Hamshire-Fannett quarterback is Ty Bryson a junior is primarily a passer. "With Bryson their offense is kind of a seven-on-seven. The Longhorns are throwing it all over the place. They go five wide or four wide and they just kind of drop back and throw the ball around," Hickman commented.

Running back Seth Ramirez runs hard and will also line up at wide receiver. Hickman admitted, "The Longhorns have some dynamic players, and probably the best player is number eleven Braxton Starnes at tight end. Starnes is a really good player and when you watch film that guy stands out. Braxton has almost 700 yards receiving already." Starnes returned a kickoff for a touchdown in Hamshire-Fannett's win over Bridge City.


Two offensive tackles Jeremy Wilson and Maddox Huber are big and tall who can open holes for Longhorn runners. The big offensive line gives quarterback Bryson the protection he needs to find open receivers.

"The difference between Silsbee and them I think Hamshire-Fannett's offensive line is probably a little better than Silsbee's. Now Silsbee's skill players are better, but Hamshire-Fannett's offensive line is a little better and their skill players are good as well. We've got our hands full dealing with their offense which is averaging about forty points a game," Hickman exclaimed.


Hamshire-Fannett lines up like the old Mustangs on defense in the 50 with three downed linemen, two linebackers, with two other defenders who walk in. The Longhorns have moved several of their talented athletes to play defense. This has greatly improved them on defense where before the Longhorns just tried to outscore opponents now their defense will keep the close against even the good teams.

D'onte Zeno is a superb cornerback and is joined by C. J. Larnette on the other side to lock down the opposition's pass receivers. Raheem Miller at defensive end is really good player.

At noseguard is Brady Werner is a big guy in the middle for Hamshire-Fannett who can cause some problems. The linebackers are two-way players Seth Ramirez and Braxton Starnes who are both very good on the defensive side of the ball.


Hickman reminded, "People don't realize Hamshire-Fannett plays some really good defense. That is one of the things the Longhorns really have improved on during the last few years by putting their athletes on defense and being able to do the things they want on defense. I think this year those two cornerbacks kind of make them better. In the past you could throw on them quite a bit on the edge, but they've made some adjustments so our offense will have to do things right to move the ball down the field on them."

Coach Hickman was happy with the sixty point win last week against Liberty, but he will be ecstatic if the Mustangs can score one more point than the Longhorns on Friday night. "It's another week of this gauntlet we have as a district. We feel like we'll go into this game just like we did the other ones against top ten teams like Newton, PNG, and Silsbee hoping those games have prepared us for this big game. We feel as good as we've been on offense lately, and defensively we like we've caught up with the Silsbee game and the shutout of Liberty we're starting to get our pieces where we need to be. We're going to go out and we're going to try to execute on offense, execute on defense, and we know it's probably going to come down to the fourth quarter which we've got to find a way to win these type games going forward. This game will go a long way to determine the district race because I feel like the district champion in this district will have one loss," Hickman concluded.


The West Orange-Stark Mustangs battle the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns on Friday night. The game will kick off at 7:30 at Dan R. Hooks Stadium.

 

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