BRIDGE CITY —
It’s official, the DIstrict 21-3A championship will be at Dan Hooks Stadium Nov. 8.
However, both West Orange-Stark and Silsbee had tough battles Friday night before their big showdown next week.
The Mustangs (7-1, 5-0) took down Orange County rival Bridge City 40-16. The Mustangs led 37-9 at the half but the Cardinals (2-7, 1-4) battled hard, outscoring the Mustangs 7-3 in a sloppy second half.
Meanwhile Silsbee (7-1, 5-0) had to fend off Hardin-Jefferson 34-33 at their own Tiger Stadium.
“I thought we played sloppy tonight in looking ahead to next week’s game,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “We had a few big plays early but we’re not real pleased with our overall execution, especially in the second half. I think Silsbee was looking ahead tonight and they almost got bit.”
WO-S utilized some big plays to take command in the first half against the Cardinals.
The Mustangs finished with 405 yards of total offense but had two fumbles and 10 penalties for 73 yards.
“The second half was ugly but give the Bridge City kids credit, they gave a good effort and never quit,” said Thompson. “We’ve yet to put together a complete game on the road and that has us a little concerned. We’ll go back to work Monday though. We’ve got a big one in our house Friday night. Silsbee was picked to win the district way back when and now here we are. It should be a good one.”
WO-S’ defense held the Cardinals to 138 yards and Mustang defensive back Deionte Thompson had two picks.
Mustang quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole completed 13-of-22 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown and ran for 64 yards on eight carries. WO-S tailback Chris James had 82 yards on 10 totes, including a 64-yard TD run.
Cardinal quarterback Chase Shugart completed 9-of-27 passes for 90 yards and a TD. WO-S held BC’s ground game in check, limiting the Cardinals to 48 yards on 29 carries.
The Mustangs struck first with 10:32 left in the first period when kicker Rodikson Cano booted a 27-yard field goal.
The Mustangs recovered a fumble by Jonah Lemoine at the Cardinal 11 but the BC defense rose up and WO-S settled for the three.
WO-S put together a six-play, 70-yard scoring march on their next series, capped off by a 17-yard dart up the middle by James to make it 10-0 with 6:45 in the first. Sterling-Cole had a big 22-yard pass to Chase Rutledge on the drive and also had keepers of 19 and 12 yards.
The Cardinals trimmed it to 10-3 with 3:08 in the first when kicker Thomas Finley nailed a 31-yard field goal.
BC moved 57 yards in seven plays to set the field goal up with the big play being a 26-yard pass from Shugart to Malcolm Busby.
The Mustangs countered quickly when James bolted 64 yards down the right sideline to put the Mustangs up 17-3 with 2:47 in the first.
WO-S made it 23-3 when Sterling-Cole connected with receiver Dwain Boullard on a 23-yard TD strike with 4:32 in the half to complete a 10-play, 57-yard drive.
The Mustangs jumped up 31-3 when Deionte Thompson picked off a Shugart pass and returned it 31 yards for a score with 4:15 in the half.
WO-S drove 47 yards in eight plays to make it 37-3 when Sterling-Cole scored on a two-yard sneak.
The Cardinals got on the scoreboard again on the last play of the half when Shugart connected with receiver Cade Mosely on a 13-yard TD strike with no time left to make it 37-9. The TD was set up well by return man Corbin Davis, who ran the kickoff back 54 yards to the WO-S 25.
The Mustangs made it 40-3 with 5:01 in the third when Cano booted his second field goal, making it from 24 yards out.
The Cardinals got on the board again with 7:53 remaining when back Jhett Simmons bolted into the end zone from two yards out. BC defensive end Josh Henry helped set up the score when he returned a Mustang fumble 64 yards all the way down to the Mustang 11.
The Cardinals will look to end the year with a big road win as they visit Orange County rival Orangefield in the Bayou Bowl.