WO-S again playing December football

Published 11:10 pm Wednesday, December 2, 2015

By Van Wade
The Orange Leader

WEST ORANGE — For the fifth straight season, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs are playing some December football.
It will be a battle of wills Friday night when the District 9-4A Division II champion Mustangs (12-1) tangle with the 12-4A Division II champion Bellville Brahmas (11-2) for the 4A Division II Region III title at 7:30 p.m. at Texan Drive Stadium in New Caney.
“There is nothing like playing high school football in December,” said WO-S coach Cornel Thompson, who is leading the program into its fifth straight regional final. “There are only eight teams left in the field and we’re one of them. Hopefully, if we continue to press on and play like we’ve been playing, the Mustangs will be one of four teams left after this week.”
The Mustangs certainly enjoyed their trip to Texan Drive Stadium last week when they thumped the Caldwell Hornets 69-13.
“It was a nice win and we dominated in all three phases of the game,” said Thompson. “It goes into the win column but we can’t look back now, it’s all about this week and a talented Bellville squad.”
The Brahmas have had a tremendous season as well, adding to it last week by toppling previously undefeated Giddings 37-20.
There is certainly nothing fancy about what Bellville likes to do. The Brahmas like to line up and run it right at opposing defenses.
The Brahmas, led by two-way starter in standout running back-linebacker junior Mac Briscoe, are averaging 347.3 yards a contest, 303.2 of it via the ground game.
Briscoe has piled up 1,794 yards thus far on the ground on 224 carries and has found the end zone 23 times.
“The Briscoe kid is not your proto-type fullback,” said Thompson. “He’s physical, but he also has some elusiveness to him and he hits the holes quick. He’s one of those hard-nosed football players that plays hard on defense and very seldom leaves the field.”
Three other Bellville backs have over 400 yards rushing including Clayton Stallones (59-483-4), Jacob Higginbotham (65-435-6) and Tylin Bryant (83-417-4).
“They run out of the Wing-T slot, do some power stuff and like to run off-tackle,” said Thompson. “They like to run the buck sweeps and like to throw in some reverses from time to time. We’re going to have to stay on our toes with this bunch.”
Bellville’s quarterbacks do not put the ball in the air much at all or run it that often. Senior Austin Maeker and sophomore Marcus Ward have combined to complete 34-of-97 passes for 514 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
“Bellville does familiar things that we’ve seen all year in playing people like Vidor, LC-M, Newton, Orangefield, Liberty and Hardin-Jefferson,” said Thompson. “The only little difference is they do put the ball up in the air a little bit more and they like to catch people off guard with that.”
Bellville will face a stern test in WO-S’ Chain Gang Defense, which is allowing just 193.4 a game.
The Brahmas have outscored their opponents 415-224 on the season. They went a perfect 4-0 in 12-4A play, outscoring their opponents 127-62. Their two losses came against Stafford (40-15) and Giddings (28-26) in non-district and got some revenge with the win over Giddings last week.
“Bellville is a solid football team across the board,” said Thompson. “It doesn’t matter that they beat Hamshire by just two points and we beat Hamshire by 35. They came back and looked pretty darn good against a Giddings team that was undefeated last week. The past doesn’t matter, it’s all about this week and we’ve been putting that in the kids’ minds. There is nothing but good football teams left this time of the year.”
The Mustangs are coming off an amazing display against Caldwell in which they scored on two interception returns and a punt return while the offense piled up 465 yards, including 375 on the ground as they totally dominated the Hornets.

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