ORANGEFIELD - West Orange-Stark found their “passing fancy” to turn back the Orangefield Bobcats 38-14 in District 21-3A play Friday night.
The Mustangs passed for a season-high 298 yards and slowed down the Bobcat rushing attack just enough as WO-S walked away with a 38-14 road win at Orangefield.
Mustang quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole completed 14-of-20 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another.
Jack-of-all-trades Chase Rutledge caught a TD pass from Sterling-Cole, threw for another and ran in another as WO-S improved to 5-1 overall, 3-0 in 21-3A play.
Rutledge ran for 65 yards on seven carries while Sterling-Cole had 57 on 12 totes. Receiver Deionte Thompson hauled in four receptions for 93 yards and a score.
The Mustangs outgained the Bobcats (4-4, 1-3) 438-290.
“I thought we could come out here and hit them with our quick passing game with our speed being the factor,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “Sterling-Cole was excellent again tonight. Rutledge gave us a good effort across the board. We’re still shooting ourselves in the foot with some penalties.”
The Bobcats chewed up 267 yards on the ground. Quarterback Carmichael Wiley had 92 yards on 14 totes. Dustin Verrett had 76 yards on four carries before getting a shoulder injury. The Mustangs held Bobcat standout back Carl Wiley to just 37 yards on 14 carries.
“Give West Orange credit, they got some big plays in their passing game,” said Bobcat coach Josh Smalley. “They hurt us with their speed but I can’t fault our kids, they gave a tremendous effort.”
After holding the Bobcats deep in Orangefield territory on the first series of the second half, the Mustangs got good field position at the Bobcat 32 and scored four plays later when Sterling-Cole found Rutledge for a 18-yard touchdown reception in the left corner of the end zone to make it 17-2 with 8:53 in the third.
Playing with another short field, the Mustangs drove 48 yards in six plays to score again when Sterling-Cole took it in from six yards out to make it 24-2 with 4:47 in the third. Sterling-Cole connected with Thompson on a vital 30-yard pass on fourth-and-8 from the Bobcat 36 to keep the march alive.
The Bobcats came up with a perfect hook-and-ladder play to get on the board with 0:42 left in the third period.
On third-and-29 from their own 41, Carmichael Wiley connected with Cameron Childers on a five-yard pass and Childress lateraled the leather to Dylan Gray who sprinted 54 yards down the left sideline for the score to make it 24-8.
“That’s the second time in two weeks that play worked,” said Smalley. “Our kids kept battling all the way. I know we’re 1-3 in district but anything can happen. We really need to win our last two to have a chance and the kids understand that.”
The Mustangs upped the margin to 31-8 with 11:54 remaining when Rutledge scored on a 11-yard run up the middle. The highlight on the drive was a 45-yard pass from Rutledge to receiver Tre Spencer.
The Bobcats countered with a 11-play, 84-yard scoring drive as Carmichael Wiley capped it with a eight-yard keeper around the right end with 6:22 left. Carmichael Wiley carried five times for 71 yards on the drive, including a 41-yard jaunt.
“Defensively, we let Orangefield move the ball a few times on us, that’s what they can do against anybody,” said Thompson. “Orangefield played hard, as usual. I’m a little disappointed with all the penalties we had. We still have yet to notch a complete game on the road yet and that has us a little concerned.”
Sterling-Cole completed 10-of-13 passes for 179 yards in the first half.
The Mustangs added a late touchdown when Rutledge found receiver Will Johnson for a nine-yard TD strike with 1:06 remaining.
The Mustangs got on the board first with 2:37 left in the first when kicker Rodrickson Cano drilled a 26-yard field goal to cap off a seven-play, 45-yard drive.
After Bobcat Colby Choate picked off a Sterling-Cole pass at the WO-S 48, the Bobcats drove to the WO-S 35 but Mustang Chris James picked off a Carmichael Wiley pass at the WO-S 27 with 8:44 in the half.
The Mustangs promptly navigated 73 yards in five plays to hit paydirt. Sterling -Cole dumped off a short pass to Thompson, who cut up the middle of the field while breaking at least three tackles enroute to a 38-yard touchdown as WO-S led 10-0 with 6:58 in the half.
Sterling Cole completed four passes for all the yardage on the drive. Thompson caught two passes for 50 yards while Will Johnson had two grabs for 28.
The Bobcats then took over at their own 25 and got all the way down to the Mustang 4 in 11 plays. Verrett broke through on a 33-yard dart up the middle on the drive and Carmichael Wiley connected on a 18-yard pass to Matthew Watkins that got to the WO-S.
The Mustang Chain Gang defense rose to the occasion, though. On fourth-and-goal from the 4 the Bobcats tried to attempt a 21-yard field goal but a bad snap forced holder Watkins to toss an incomplete pass with 2:04 in the half.
The Bobcats got on the scoreboard when defensive lineman Jerrod Watkins and teammates collided with Mustang back James in the end zone for a safety with 1:06 in the half.
On the opening series of the game, WO-S drove from its own 35 all the way down to the Bobcat 10 in nine plays but the Bobcats rose up and stuffed Chase Rutledge on a fourth-and-2 play from the 10.
The Mustangs will continue action next week when they play host to the Buna Cougars while the Bobcats have a bye. Orangefield will visit Buna on Nov. 1.