• 73°

FOOTBALL: New-face Mustangs grind out scrimmage win at PNG

WOS 13, PNG 7

Roschon Johnson of PNG scrambles to find an open receiver as West Orange-Stark’s defense pressures him Friday in Port Neches. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

PNG running back Jaylan Williams stiff-arms a West Orange-Stark player at the end of a rush that resulted in first down Friday night in Port Neches. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Tyrone Wilson of West Orange-Stark rolls out for a pass against Port Neches-Groves on Friday. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

West Orange-Stark’s defense forces PNG wideout Kaleb Wuenschel to fumble at the end of a 20-yard reception Friday in Port Neches. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

PORT NECHES — A majority of West Orange-Stark’s returning varsity players “rode the bus and watched the game” last season, as coach Cornel Thompson put it, as the Mustangs made their fourth state championship appearance in a row.

The 2018 Mustangs are trying to become the team to watch again in 4A Division II. On Friday night, the newcomers got some invaluable experience against a perennial 5A Division II title chaser.

Junior Tyrone Wilson engineered two scoring drives and led West Orange-Stark to a 13-7 win over Port Neches-Groves in the first of two preseason scrimmages for both teams. His keeper from 12 yards out with 5:22 remaining put the Mustangs ahead for good.

Still, typical for a first scrimmage, Thompson was more worried about what the Mustangs did not accomplish on the field.

“If we look like that next week, I’ll be disturbed, so we gotta get better real quick,” Thompson said, citing “mistakes, excuses and penalties” in general.

Down 6-0, PNG got a big play from University of Texas commit Roschon Johnson. He went 40 yards on a quarterback keeper and scored with 3:43 left in the second period, with Jose Ceja converting the go-ahead extra point.

Interceptions by seniors Kade Martin and Dakota Baxter thwarted otherwise solid West Orange-Stark drives deep into Indian territory.

Wilson had just completed a big strike deep into Indians territory before Baxter’s pick ended a go-ahead threat. Martin intercepted a pass at the PNG 14 to set up the Indians’ first scoring drive.

Johnson played the first half and completed 5 of 8 passes for 91 yards. He connected with Kaleb Wuenschel on a 42-yard strike that led to Johnson’s big TD run.

Wuenschel lost a fumble at the end of a 20-yard completion that set up the Mustangs’ first scoring drive, capped by 3-yard Ja’Vonn Ross carry with 4:05 left in the first quarter.

PNG coach Brandon Faircloth took an extensive look at senior running back Jaylan Williams, who had three carries of 10-plus yards with a long of 15 on his first touch.

The Indians will host West Brook in their final scrimmage next Friday. PNG’s regular season begins Aug. 31 at Silsbee.

West Orange-Stark will host Vidor for its final scrimmage Thursday and begin the season hosting Nederland.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.