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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Mustangs collide with the Cardinals in Bridge City


Last updated 10/10/2023 at 4:36pm

Quarterback Marcus Turner of the Mustangs scored both of their touchdowns in the overtime loss to Hamshire-Fannett

The second district loss for West Orange-Stark last week was the second loss in overtime this season. The Mustangs will try to bounce back this Friday night on the road.

West Orange-Stark played Hamshire-Fannett dead even through four quarters. The Longhorns got a spectacular catch from one of their receivers for a touchdown and then held the Mustangs without a score during the overtime to win 21-14 at Dan R. Hooks Stadium.

Mustang Coach Hiawatha Hickman said they played with Hamshire-Fannett but just could not find a way to pull out the win. "It's what we've been dealing with all year against the top teams. We had a good plan going in limiting the Longhorns' touches by us running the ball. That worked out as we kept it close and went ahead in the fourth quarter, but they made some plays to tie the game. We went into overtime and Hamshire-Fannett scored on third down, and we got some penalties that pushed us back and we didn't score in the overtime. My kids played hard. These Mustangs are doing everything I asked them to do," Hickman reminded.

Hickman added, "I feel like we out played Hamshire-Fannett. The Longhorns came in averaging forty plus points a game and we held them to fourteen in regulation, and I think held them to 230 yards of total offense. I think my defense is starting to understand and grow up."

The Mustangs had another great night from their quarterback Marcus Turner who scored both touchdowns for WOS in the game. Freshman running back Khelvy Ferguson had a good game and receiver Andrew Cooper played well.

"We've got to find a way to win those kind of games. If we win that game the Mustangs are back in the district race. Now, we've got to regroup and get ready for Bridge City," Hickman stated.

This week the opponent is Bridge City. The Cardinals won their first two games of the season but are on a four game losing streak coming into Friday's game with West Orange-Stark.

The Bridge City offense operates out of the Spread. Everything starts with quarterback Hutch Bearden who has good arm to throw the ball and good feet to run it.

Hickman pointed out, "The Cardinals throw the ball a lot more than I thought they did. Bearden can drop his passes in there to their wide receivers. Jerris Brown makes acrobatic catches at wide receiver and is very athletic."

Bridge City is big in the offensive line. "They're definitely a lot better on offense than they were last year. The Cardinals have taken some good strides, and Coach Landry has done a good job with them. We're going to have our hands full again. We're going to treat Bridge City like every other opponent, respect them, go over there, and play to try to get a win," Hickman indicated.

The defense at Bridge City bases out of a 50 Defense. Shea Landry is the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals and coached with Hickman at West Orange-Stark. Hickman praised, "Shea has done a good job with their defense."

A stalwart in the middle of the Bridge City defense is Nicholas Lejeune at noseguard. "Lejeune is quick, a big guy, hard to handle up front. We'll have to account for him. We think their best linebacker is sophomore Braxton Lynam. He's kind of active and stands out on film by being athletic and physical," Hickman evaluated.

The Cardinal secondary returns most of the starters from last season. Bridge City uses a lot of zone pass coverage and will mix in a little man coverage. Hickman analyzed, "We'll have do some stuff to be able to attack them in their zone, and hopefully if we get some man coverage we could out run them and take some shots."

The Mustangs want to maintain a balance between the run and the pass against Bridge City. "We feel like we can run the ball on them up front while thinking to get outside with our speed. Any time the Cardinals go man-to-man we'll probably take some deep shots because we feel that we can outrun them. Everything with us starts with running the ball, Marcus should be a lot for them to handle, and when they come in to deal with him we can get our speed guys on the outside and may throw some bubble screens to try to get outside in space," Hickman emphasized.

West Orange-Stark will be looking to even its district record with a win against Bridge City. Hickman evaluated, "Our advantage against the Cardinals is speed. We're going to try to get in space and make them deal with our skill players in space like we've done the last few weeks."

The Mustangs play in most likely the toughest Class 4A Division II district in the state of Texas. "Our schedule has prepared us for this tough road. We need to win this one against Bridge City, go get Jasper, finish with Hardin-Jefferson, and get ready for the playoffs," Hickman concluded.

The West Orange-Stark Mustangs go to Bridge City this weekend. The game will kick off at 7:30 on Friday night.


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