Mustangs meet the Brahmas again as the post season begins
Last updated 11/7/2023 at 1:10pm
A blowout win by West Orange-Stark concluded the regular season. Up next is a post season date with a familiar foe for the Mustangs.
The final district game of the year saw West Orange-Stark go to Sour Lake to play the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks. The Mustangs came home with a 61-7 victory to even their record at 5-5 for the overall season and 3-3 in district.
Coach Hiawatha Hickman of the Mustangs reflected on their lopsided triumph. "It was good to finish things up in district on a winning note to get ready for the playoffs," Hickman replied.
A least two Mustangs had their best games of the year. Key'shawn Robinson ran for a touchdown and caught a pass for a touchdown and Nicholas Crosson did the same thing.
The West Orange-Stark offensive line worked on some things during the previous off week to get polished for the playoffs. The Mustangs in the front line had a very good game executing very well according to the coach.
Quarterback Marcus Turner was rested somewhat in the game with Hardin-Jefferson. More will be expected from Turner this week with the start of the post season.
Junior Ja'Mikael Davis got to see a lot more action replacing Turner at quarterback. Davis played the whole second half running for a score and throwing for another touchdown.
Sophomore Michael Turner ran for two touchdowns. Sophomore Dylan Myers had been out of action with a sore shoulder but returned to have several good carries in the game.
The Mustangs on defense had one of their best games. Everybody is back healthy on the defensive squad. Jalen Gilmore was joined by Davis who also had a good game on the defense with an interception. William Pitre and Tahj Amerson also contributed on the defensive side for West Orange-Stark.
Hickman evaluated, "All around I think it was a good win. I think it was what we needed. I think everybody here is pretty much ready to go for the playoffs."
Weak side linebacker Arthur Turner should be back this week. Turner has not played much since the Silsbee game seven weeks ago dealing with a sore shoulder and soreness in his back.
Turner played a little bit against Jasper two weeks ago but reinjured the shoulder. "He's one of our best tacklers, so it's going to be crucial getting Arthur back this week," Hickman announced.
West Orange-Stark will play the Bellville Brahmas in the bi-district round of the state playoffs this week. This will be the sixth meeting between the Mustangs and the Brahmas in the last nine years with WOS winning all of them except in last year's opening round of the playoffs.
The Brahmas run their offense out of the Slot-T formation. Bellville has three very good running backs that run the football almost every play. The proficiency of the Bellville running game is evident by the fact that all three running backs rushed for over a thousand yards apiece.
Junior DD Murray is an explosive runner who has started for the Brahmas since he was a freshman. Hickman described, "Murray is a one cut guy who can really hurt you. He is probably their biggest threat."
At fullback for Bellville is senior Sam Hranicky. He is a pounder inside and is the typical Slot-T fullback like Vidor and other teams use in that formation.
The third running back Corrian Hood is a junior. Hood is a good option to give the ball for the Brahmas in their Slot-T.
"Bellville kind of spreads it around between its three-headed monster of running backs in the Slot-T. The Brahmas don't throw it much, they just kind of throw it to keep you honest," Hickman indicated.
The Brahmas do not run their quarterback Zach Leuschner very often either maybe only once or twice a game. Hickman added, "The quarterback is not a big runner. He kind of operates the offense. He facilitates getting the ball to the three running backs."
The offensive line for Bellville may not be as big as what the Brahmas have had in the past. "I think we'll have the opportunity up front to move them a little bit, but their line does a good job with the Slot-T," Hickman observed.
On defense Bellville lines up in a 4-3 with a cover two in the deep secondary. The Brahmas do not shift out of that formation very much. They remind Coach Hickman of the Port Neches-Groves defense in alignment and their sound technique.
A standout on the Bellville is junior defensive end DJ Sanders who has started since he was a freshman. Sanders has several D-1 offers from colleges for his services upon his graduation after next year. Hickman insisted the Mustangs will have to account for Sanders on every play they have the ball.
Joining Sanders in the D-Line for Bellville are CJ McKee, Gavin Mays, and Cory Richardson. The middle linebacker Jacob Shepherd has been a starter for the last two years and is very disciplined.
Some skill players on offense also play on defense. DD Murray plays as a defensive back using his outstanding speed in pass coverage.
"The Brahmas are very sound on defense, very disciplined, and they don't give up very many points. We're going to have to be real patient in what we do. Other teams have gotten impatient and tried to take shots and the Brahmas are where they're supposed to be and they take the ball away. We scored twenty points on them last year, but I think this year we're a lot better than we were on offense last year. We've just got to execute," Hickman evaluated.
First round games of the playoffs pit a number one seed from one district against the fourth seed in another district. West Orange-Stark is the fourth seed in this game against the top seed Bellville from the other district.
Hickman believes despite being the lower seed the Mustangs have a chance against the undefeated Brahmas. "I am going to believe with our schedule and our district we've seen people like Bellville and it won't be a surprise for us. I don't know that they have seen the speed during their season like we bring," Hickman concluded.
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs will battle the Bellville Brahmas on Friday night. The kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 at Falcon Stadium in Huffman.