PORT NECHES, Texas —
It started with a 70-yard drive and ended with a dominating victory by West Orange-Stark, as the Mustangs renewed a rivalry with Port Neches-Groves with a 34-13 victory at The Reservation Friday night.
“The Reservation is always such a hard place to come out of with a win,” West Orange-Stark Coach Cornel Thompson said. “You have to go in there focused and we played hard for 48 minutes. I truly believe this was one of the best games our team has played since I been head coach. Coach (Ed) Dyer and the offensive coaches came up with a great game plan for the game and our guys are starting to be on the same page.”
WO-S (2-0) forced PN-G to punt four plays after the Indians made the first of five fourth down conversions on a fake punt to open the game. After that, the Mustangs went 70 yards on nine plays, scoring the game’s first points when quarterback Jimmy Salter found Tremaine Anderson for an 11-yard swing pass to make it 7-0 WO-S.
WO-S almost gained more yards on that one series than PN-G did in the entire game. The “Chain Gang” defense held the Indians to 27 yards total offense in the second half.
After forcing a three-and-out on PN-G’s second possession, WO-S receiver J’Marcus Rhodes fielded a punt at the PN-G 49 and cut down his own sideline untouched for a touchdown to give the Mustangs an early 13-0 lead with under three minutes in the first quarter.
But, it was at that point that PN-G stemmed the tide a little and took the first of a handful of small victories away from the game. Return man Kaleb Clark fielded the ensuing kickoff a yard deep into the end zone, turned up the field and raced 90 yards to the Mustang 11.
That set up A.J. Smith’s 11-yard TD pass to Tim Clopton on the next play to cut WO-S’ lead to 13-7. Clopton finished the game with five catches for 43 yards.
Salter was especially efficient in leading the Mustang offense, completing his first five passes of the first half and his first nine passes of the second.
The senior was 17 for 21 passing for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Rhodes may have been the player of the game, though, as he had two 40-yard touchdowns and finished with seven catches for 111 yards. In addition to the punt return TD, Rhodes turned a perfectly executed bubble screen into a 41-yard TD just before half-time.
Still, PN-G showed resiliency, taking over with two minutes left in the first half and driving 68 yards to score with no time left in the quarter.
That score was helped by a timely offensive penalty, as PN-G was stopped short of the goal line on a quarterback sneak with four seconds left. However, the referees ruled the play dead and called an illegal procedure penalty on the offense, backing them up to the WO-S 6.
Smith then hit Clark for a 6-yard TD as time expired to make it 27-13 PN-G.
The senior PN-G signal caller was 12 for 24 passing for 88 yards with two TDs and one interception. That pick was costly, too, as it set up WO-S’ third TD. Smith was picked off at the PN-G 20 by Deionte Thompson.
Four plays later, Abear Simien scored on a 1-yard run to make it 20-7. The play was set up by a 21-yard Salter scramble after PN-G sent a failed blitz and couldn’t wrap up the speedy Mustang quarterback.
Smith also split time with sophomore Ky Walker, who was brought up from the JV for this game.
Walker had a rough debut with the varsity, going 0-for-2 with two sacks. On his first series, he handed off to Spencer Wommack, threw an incompletion, got sacked for a 10-yard loss, which put PN-G in position to give up the 49-yard punt return to Rhodes. Later he would lose a fumble at the Mustang 20 on his
The talented Walker, who Faircloth has called his QB of the future, will be in a rotation next week with Smith, as the two rotated series against the Mustangs.
After scoring on the final play of the first half, the Indians kicked off to the Mustangs to open the second. WO-S drove 66 yards on nine plays, with Kane Tezeno finishing off the drive whit a 5-yard TD run. Salter completed five straight passes on the drive to five different receivers.
After that, though, both teams settled in and didn’t get many other opportunities to score. Defensively, Logan Warlick led the way for PN-G, totaling 13 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. Dillard Youngblood had seven tackles while Bradley Broussard added six. Corbin Coy, starting at cornerback for an injured Dylan Segura, had two pass breakups.
West Orange-Stark will travel to Beaumont Central next week as the Mustangs continue to stack games up against District 20-4A opponents and other teams with playoff potential.
“I am not even sure what Central did on Friday night yet I know those guys are always a real physical football team,” Thompson said. “I wanted to play in that Beaumont stadium last year but lost a couple flips. We will be able to see some speed next week and the week after when we got Jasper. The price of poker starts going up from here on out. Those two teams can run and it is not like the last two teams we faced in the last two weeks were slow but their speed is nothing like Jasper and Central.”
WO-S 13 14 7 0 — 34
PN-G 7 6 0 0 — 13
WO-S—Tremaine Anderson 11 pass from Jimmy Salter (kick failed), 4:53
WO-S— J’Marcus Rhodes 49 punt return (Beasley kick), 2:53
PN-G—Tim Clopton 11 pass from A.J. Smith (Tyler Coleman kick), 2:27
WO-S—Abear Simien 1 run (Beasley kick), 10:17
WO-S—Rhodes 41 pass from Salter (Beasley kick), 2:04
PN-G — Kaleb Clark 6 pass from Smith (kick failed), 0:00
WO-S—Kane Tezeno 5 run (Beasley kick), 7:00
First downs 21 13
Rushes-yards 35-171 29-27
Passing yards 184 88
Total yards 355 155
Passes 17-21-0 12-26-1
Punts 4-31.2 4-40.2
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 5-58 7-50
RUSHING—WO-S, Ar’Tevin McDonald 11-46, Maurice Morris 2-14, Colin Janice 1-11, Tezeno 8-39, Simien 9-37, Salter 4-24. PN-G, Sepncer Wommack 12-46, Jeremiah Rose 1-3, Smith 11-(-10), Ky Walker 3-(-5), Clopton 1-5, TEAM 1-(-12).
PASSING—WO-S, Salter 17-21-0 184. PN-G, Smith 12-24-1-88, Ky Walker 0-2-0 0.
RECEIVING—WO-S, Rhodes 7-111, Anderson 4-36, Ra’shon McDonald 1-21, Abear Simien 1-0, Dre Spencer 1-1, Rodrickson Cano 1-3, Morris 1-7. PN-G, Clopton 5-43, Rose 2-22, Logan Chipman 3-11, Kaleb Clark 1-6, Wommack 1-6.