Mustangs survive visit to Bridge City
Last updated 10/17/2023 at 10:48am
West Orange-Stark visited Bridge City on Friday and experienced a scare at Larry Ward Stadium more frightening than most Halloween haunted houses. The Mustangs escaped with a 28-14 win against a very competitive Cardinal crew.
The victory keeps the Mustangs (4-4, 2-2) with a shot at a third place finish in district alive. The Cardinals (2-5, 0-3) should have some momentum despite the loss headed into next week's game.
As it has all season Bridge City played hard dominating the first two quarters and led by seven points at the half. West Orange-Stark executed much better in the second half scoring all of its points in the final two periods.
After a three-and-out to start the game by the Mustang offense they punted the ball to Bridge City. The Cardinals made two first downs on passes from Hutch Bearden to first Abraham Mungia and then a second to Gavin Bodin moving the ball to the WOS 49.
Bearden was sacked for a loss of five yards before he scrambled 14 yards to set up a fourth and three at the Mustang 42. Unfortunately, the Cardinals committed their only penalty of the first half to cause them to punt instead of going for it.
The Mustangs got two first down on their second possession but failed on a fourth down pass which gave the ball back to Bridge City. The Cardinals started at their 38 and used fifteen plays to drive to take the first lead of the game.
Bearden and Mungia got a first down on a 13-yard pass to the Mustang 47. Bearden ran seven yards for another first at the 34. On fourth-and-five Bearden completed a pass to Bodin for eight yards and the first down at the 21.
Facing fourth-and-two Bearden ran for eight yards and a first down at the five. On third-and-goal from the four Bearden swept to his right and found pay dirt to give Bridge City a 7-0 lead with less than four minutes played in the second quarter.
The Cardinal defense continued to clamp down on the Mustangs' offense. Three passes by Marcus Turner netted one yard and West Orange-Stark punted for the second time in three possessions.
Bridge City could not move the ball and a short punt gave the Mustangs good field position at the Cardinal 45. Tahj Amerson had his longest run of the night for 26 yards and Turner ran 11 yards for a first-and-goal at the six.
After a one-yard loss on first down Jagger Carlin of the Cardinals blitzed forcing Turner out of the pocket and as the Mustang quarterback tried to circle back he slipped going down for a thirteen-yard loss at the Cardinal 20. Two incomplete passes followed and the Mustangs turned the ball over on downs.
Two runs by the Cardinals concluded the first half with Bridge City on top 7-0. The Cardinals had outgained the Mustangs in total yards 98 to 51 and doubled them in first downs eight to four.
The Cardinals won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. After some initial success on the opening drive of the third quarter Bridge City punted and for the second time a weak punt gave the Mustangs good field position in Cardinal territory.
Khelvy Jefferson ran for ten yards on the Mustangs first play, and then they committed their first penalty of the game for holding. Turner passed 15 yards to Taydren Perrault, fumbled but gained two yards, and then got the first down on a five-yard run to the 24 of Bridge City.
Two more runs by Turner netted two yards. On third down Turner passed 22 yards to Nicholas Crosson in the back left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Turner ran in the two-point conversion to give the Mustangs the lead 8-7 with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter.
A strong punt by Bridge City's Bodin gave the ball back to West Orange-Stark at its 24. Two first downs by the Mustangs moved the ball to the 50 where Turner connected on a pass to Key'shawn Robinson who made a beautiful run after catch down the left sideline for the touchdown to make the score 14-7 with 1:22 to go in the third period.
The Cardinals responded quickly. Bearden completed two passes to Mungia good for 24 yards to the Mustang 47. On third down Bearden ran for a first down at the 33 of West Orange-Stark.
Looking to pass on first down Bearden felt pressure and scrambled to his left. Hutch kept running until he crossed the goal line 33 yards later for the tying touchdown forty-six seconds into the final quarter.
West Orange-Stark was fortunate to avoid two turnovers as after Bearden's touchdown the Mustangs fumbled the kickoff which they recovered. The two teams exchanged punts with the Mustangs fumbling again but the return man was able to fall on it to retain possession for West Orange-Stark.
Turner started the drive with a 23-yard run into Bridge City territory. Another holding penalty did not deter the Mustangs as Robinson ripped loose on a 22-yard gain to the Bridge City 24. The next play it was Turner again for 14 yards to the ten for a first-and-goal.
Two five-yard runs by Turner got six points for the Mustangs. Amerson got two points running in the conversion to put WOS up 22-14 with 4:50 left in the contest.
The Mustangs got some insurance when they forced the Cardinals to punt after three pass plays and started for the third time in Bridge City territory after the punt. Robinson gobbled up 19 yards for one first down and Jalen Gilmore got a second first down on a run to the ten.
On third down from the seven Turner threw his third touchdown pass of the night to William Pitre. The kick failed leaving the Mustangs up 28-14 with just 1:53 to play in the game.
The Cardinals ran four plays before turning the ball over on downs to the Mustangs. Turner took a knee to end the game.
As he has been the last several weeks Marcus Turner was the leader on the offense for West Orange-Stark. He completed 7 of 16 passes to seven different Mustang receivers for 111yards and three touchdowns. Turner ran for 86 yards on 17 carries with one touchdown.
West Orange-Stark ran the ball 34 times for 203 yards. Khelvy Jefferson gained 46 yards on seven rushes, and Key'shawn Robinson totaled 42 yards on his three carries.
Hutch Bearden supplied the bulk of the offense for Bridge City. Bearden ran for 52 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown. He threw for the other Cardinal touchdown on one of his 12 completions out of 20 attempts for a total of 104 yards. Abraham Mungia was the leading Cardinal receiver with 6 catches for 54 yards.
Next week the West Orange-Stark Mustangs return home to play the Jasper Bulldogs in a game that could determine playoff seeding for the two teams. The Bridge City Cardinals travel to Sour Lake to play the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks with both teams seeking their first win in district.