• 63°

FOOTBALL: Mustangs motor past Longhorns, wrap up district title

By Caleb Adams

The Orange Leader

HAMSHIRE — Another perfect district record for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs is in the books as they took care of the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns 34-10 in a convincing defensive outing at Longhorn Stadium on the Longhorns’ senior night.

The Mustangs (6-4, 4-0) stymied the Longhorns (5-5, 1-3) throughout the night as they waltzed to the District 10-4A Division II crown.

West Orange-Stark’s defense was dominant in the first half and a huge reason why they were able to get such an early lead. After three turnovers, and one being a fumble for a long 90-yard touchdown run, the Mustangs found an early lead. The offense was barely on the field during the second quarter, as the defense kept putting them in prime positions to score.

The Longhorns actually outgained the Mustangs 215-186 on the night on a sloppy field.

Mustang senior running back Kavyn Cooper led the Mustang ground game with 103 yards on 12 carries. Mustang quarterback Tyrone Wilson was 3-for-10 for 49 yards..

Hamshire-Fannett quarterback Marcus Morris completed 5-of-15 passes for 115 yards and rushed for 66 yards on 15 carries. Longhorn Ke’shawn Morris added 54 yards on 10 totes.

The Longhorn defense held strong early, but wasn’t able to have an impact like the Mustangs had. The Longhorn offense had trouble finishing drives, and snapping the ball on most plays. A lot of low snaps lead to turnovers or lost yards early, making the Hamshire-Fannett scoring opportunities far and few between early.

The Mustang offense didn’t have the need to be deadly Friday night thanks to the defense. The offense wasn’t on the top of their game, but it didn’t matter because their defense controlled the game.

The Longhorns struck first, after a strong three-and-out defensive start to the game. Quarterback Marcus Morris connected with receiver Anakin Hall for 36 yards to setup the field goal. Noah Kincer lined a 34-yard field goal to take the first lead of the game for the Longhorns with eight minutes on the clock.

After a crazy two plays of both teams fumbling on the first plays of their drives, the Mustangs struck back with points of their own. After Shemar Manaway recovered a fumble on defense and ran to the Longhorn 15, the Mustangs began their drive. Tyrone Wilson would call his own number at quarterback for three plays and punch it in himself with a QB sneak from the one. After the PAT the Mustangs led 7-3 with four minutes in the first quarter left.

The Longhorns had a strong drive building inside the red zone, but a sweep went wrong with a fumble, as Mustang Tyrone Brown scooped and scores the fumble for 86 yards and a 14-3 lead. With 47 seconds left in the first quarter, the Longhorns game has gone south fast thanks to turnovers.

Turnovers continued to haunt the Longhorns with a pick, midway through the second quarter. Marcus Morris’ pass was jumped by Teshaun Teel and taken to the house from 90 yards out. After the trusty Angel Ibarra PAT, the Mustangs went up 21-3 with eight minutes left in the half.

Mustang tailback Cooper found the outside on the first play of the first series on offense for a long 43-yard run, a yard shy of the touchdown. Freshman running back Elijah Gales punched it in from 1 yard out to give the lead a bigger cushion. After the PAT the Mustangs were up 28-3 with 9 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Longhorns scored in the second half, to reduce the lead to 18. Marcus Morris would tuck it and keep it for a long 61-yard quarterback keeper for the score. After the PAT went through the Mustangs lead shrank to 28-10 with 8:34 left in the third quarter.

The Mustangs settled for a field goal after a strong drive by the offense. Gales would run for a few tough yards, helping get key first downs. The passing game for the Mustangs showed back up with a 12-yard pass to Chavon Crawford that helped the Mustangs get in field goal range. Ibarra, who has had the hot leg all season, would send it through from 36 yards out, with plenty of room to spare as the Mustangs led 31-10 with two minutes left in the third quarter.

West Orange-Stark added another three more after a long drive, taking a lot of time off the clock. Wilson would find Jay’zon Robinson for a long 28 yards toss-and-catch. They couldn’t punch it in for six, so they settled for another field goal from Ibarra, this time from 28 yards out making it 34-10.