BEAUMONT — If the Cleveland Indians could have gotten on the bus at halftime to head back down Hwy. 105, they probably would have Friday night.
The fourth-ranked West Orange-Stark Mustangs shredded the Indians with a 41-point first half and went on to post a 57-0 victory in the Class 3A Region III Division II bidistrict playoffs at the Thomas Educational Center.
The shutout is the eighth of the season for the Mustang Chain Gang Defense.
WO-S will take on West Columbia in the area round next week. West Columbia defeated Houston Kashmere 33-6 Friday night.
The Mustangs (11-0) scored nearly every way possible in the first half and the Indians (7-4) simply had no answers.
“We really played well in almost all phases of the game,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “We scored offensively, defensively and on special teams. The kids, they were ready to come out and play tonight. It’s a new season now, and its sudden death the rest of the way and they came out here with a sense of urgency and set the tone early on.”
The Indians were limited to 18 total yards and just four first downs, achieving three of those off WO-S penalties. After the Mustangs snagged a 50-0 lead in the waning seconds of the third period, there was a running clock the rest of the way.
“Cleveland definitely came into this one banged up with injuries to several of their key people,” said Thompson. “Then we knocked a few of them out of the game. It kinda snowballed on them (Cleveland) in the first half. That’s a credit to our kids, they came out here mentally ready to get after it.”
The Mustangs limited the Indians to just three total yards in the first half while gaining 154 of their own. When WO-S had the ball on offense, they had to start in their territory only once.
Mustang senior quarterback Jimmy Salter was superb, completing 11-of-15 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns, both going to his favorite receiver J’Marcus Rhodes, who finished with six catches for 139 yards.
Cleveland quarterback Chris Taylor completed just 2-of-12 passes for no yards. Backup quarterback D.D. Jackson was the Indians’ leading rusher with 22 yards on eight carries.
WO-S put together a three-play, 48-yard touchdown drive on their first series of the game. Salter and Rhodes connected on a 41-yard touchdown pass off a bubble screen to the right. Kicker Rodrikson Cano nailed the point-after as WO-S led 7-0 with 9:35 left in the first quarter.
After getting the ball at the Cleveland 28 after a six-yard punt, the Mustangs found paydirt pretty quick again five plays later when Salter and Rhodes teamed up again, this time it was a seven-yard touchdown dart along the right side of the end zone to make it 13-0 with 5:10 left in the first.
Quinton Tezeno returned an Indian punt 27 yards to the Cleveland 14 late in the first period and three plays later Salter darted up the middle for a nine-yard keeper for the touchdown to make it 20-0 with 0:58 in the first.
Cleveland continued to spiral into the abyss when Mustang safety Travon Blanchard picked off Taylor on the first play of the second quarter and returned it 31 yards for the score to push WO-S comfortably ahead 27-0 with 11:45 in the half.
The Mustangs put together a quick, four-play, 46-yard scoring march to go up 34-0 with 6:30 in the half.
Salter completed two passes for 31 yards, a 19-yarder going to Dre Spencer and a 12-yarder to Tremaine Anderson. Chase Rutledge capped it off when he darted around the right side on a one-yard keeper from the Wildcat quarterback position.
The Mustangs made it 41-0 with 5:10 in the half when Ar’Tevin McDonald blocked an Indian punt at the Indian 34. The ball rolled all the way to the end zone where teammate Will Moore fell on the loose leather for another score.
WO-S 57, Cleveland 0
WO-S 20 21 9 7 - 57
Clev 0 0 0 0 — 0
WO-S: J’Marcus Rhodes 41 pass from Jimmy Salter. Rodrikson Cano kick.
WO-S: Rhodes 7 pass from Salter. Kick failed.
WO-S: Salter 9 run. Cano kick.
WO-S: Travon Blanchard 31 interception return. Cano kick.
WO-S: Chase Rutledge 1 run. Cano kick.
WO-S: Will Moore fumble recovery of blocked punt in end zone. Cano kick.
WO-S: Rutledge 2 run. Cano kick.
WO-S: Safety. Ball over punter’s head in back of end zone.
WO-S: Quinton Tezeno 67 kickoff return. Cano kick.
First downs 15 4
Rushes-yards 19-58 28-18
Passing 184 0
Total yards 242 18
Comp-Att-Int 11-15-0 2-12-1
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-0
Penalties-yards 6-42 10-44
Rushing — WO-S, Abear Simien 2-22, Quinton Tezeno 2-11, Kane Tezeno 4-9, Jimmy Salter 1-9, Maurice Morris 2-7, John Scott 3-6, Chase Rutledge 2-3, Tremaine Anderson 3-(-9); Cleveland, D.D. Jackson 8-22, Brandon Foster 7-5, Francisco Gonzales 1-1, Devonte Bogany 6-0, Trent Wills 1-0, Chris Taylor 5-(-10).
Passing — WO-S, Jimmy Salter 11-15-0 184; Cleveland, Chris Taylor 2-12-1 0.
Receiving — WO-S, J’Marcus Rhodes 6-139, Tremaine Anderson 2-21, Dre Spencer 1-19, Chase Rutledge 1-3, Abear Simien 1-2; Cleveland, Devonte Bogany 1-2, Trent Wills 1-(-2).