For the Beaumont Central Jaguars, they’ve battled two Class 5A teams down to the wire the first two weeks of their season before falling just short to the likes of Port Arthur Memorial and Beaumont West Brook.
This week, the Jaguars welcome a “little” Class 3A school to Carroll Thomas Stadium.
So will the Jags get a breather?
As ESPN analyst Lee Corso says, “Not so fast my friends.”
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs (2-0) will be rolling into “The Butch” with plenty of motivation as they look to slay another District 20-4A team.
The Mustangs have been dominant in their two wins, shutting out 20-4A teams Little Cypress-Mauriceville (18-0) and dominating Port Neches-Groves (34-13) last week. Now, it’s all about the Jaguars.
“We’ll have our toughest challenge yet,” said Mustang coach Cornel Thompson. “Central got after it pretty good against two quality 5A programs, I’m sure they’re looking forward to playing a little old 3A school.”
The WO-S “Chain Gang” defense has almost been perfect, allowing just 118 yards a game and just 20 first downs, smothering opposing running and passing games at every turn.
“The kids have played really well in those first two games,” said Thompson. “But I tell them, it’s like driving a car, you want to keep moving forward with the gas pedal, you go backwards, look back, then you’re more likely to get into a wreck. We want to move ahead and keep on improving.”
Now the Mustangs get a big and physical Central squad. Mustang fans can attest that when WO-S was still in Class 4A, those old Mustang-Jaguar games always tended to be the most bruising battles of the year.
“You look back to our old 4A days and those battles with Central were always so darn physical, usually the most physical game of the year,” said Thompson. “We would have sometimes seven or eight kids banged up for the next week and so would they.”
The Jaguars battled the Titans and their Beaumont rival Bruins hard.
Central fell to Port Arthur Memorial 23-20 in their opener in Port Arthur and fell the West Brook by a 26-19 margin last week.
Central quarterback Robert Mitchell has recovered from a knee injury he suffered last year quite well.
Thus far, Mitchell has completed 23-of-44 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown. He also leads the squad in rushing with 92 yards and a TD on 28 carries.
Mitchell’s favorite two targets have been Nicalus Rhone, who has seven catches for 117 yards and Garrison Mitchell, who has six grabs for 97 yards. Tailback Damon Thomas has 66 yards on 22 tough carries with a TD.
“We’ll see more of a speed factor with Central then what we’ve seen the first couple weeks,” said Thompson. “They have some kids that can flat-out fly. Their little quarterback (Mitchell) is the cog to their machine. He’s pretty accurate and can flick the ball 30 or 40 yards without much effort. They’ve got a big offensive line. They will be a tough challenge for our kids.”
The Mustangs have utilized a balanced offense the first two weeks in averaging 341.5 yards a game.
Quarterback Jimmy Salter has completed 25-of-36 passes for 280 yards and two TDs. J’Marcus Rhodes has hauled in 11 catches for 150 yards and a TD while Tremaine Anderson has eight catches for 55 yards and a score.
Ar’Tevin McDonald powers the ground game with 108 yards and a TD on 21 carries while Kane Tezeno has 102 yards and a TD on 17 carries.
“Offensively, Coach (Ed) Dyer had a great game plan last week at Port Neches,” said Thompson. “I thought Jimmy (Salter) had an excellent game. Defensively, Central runs stuff similar to what we run. They really fly to the football and their defensive line is definitely their strong point.”
The Mustangs will return home next week to face the Jasper Bulldogs (2-0).