Turning the table
WO-S ground attack buries Caldwell, 37-7
THE WOODLANDS — Simply put, the Caldwell Hornets got a taste of their own medicine Friday night in the Class 3A Region III Division II area round playoff game against the third-ranked West Orange-Stark Mustangs.<>p>
The Hornets checked into the contest averaging a stunning 406 yards on the ground and 464.5 yards a game total.
However, it was the Mustang ground arsenal that gobbled it up time and time again at The Woodlands' Woodforest Bank Stadium.
Senior tailback Quintavious Garrett rumbled for 217 yards on 22 carries and senior quarterback Ortavious Hypolite ran for 123 yards on 15 totes as the Mustangs rolled up 392 of their 468 total yards on the ground to post a decisive 37-7 victory. Garrett now has 1,117 yards rushing on the season.
The Mustangs will take on Gilmer, a 50-36 winner over Mexia Friday, in the regional semifinals next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Lufkin High School.
"It was a complete team victory," said Mustang head coach Dan Hooks. "We proved tonight that our running game could be pretty darn salty. Quinney (Garrett) ran wild. The kid has had big nights like this before but he hasn't done it like he did tonight, running through people and dragging them around all over the place."
The Mustang "Chain Gang" defense held the Hornets to just 167 total yards, almost 300 less than they averaged.
"I'm so darn happy with our kids," said defensive coordinator Cornel Thompson. "Caldwell has an excellent running attack but our old kids just hunkered down and got after it. They played great, mentally-sound football tonight and we were way more physical. You have to play that way against a team like that and the kids responded in a big way."
The Mustangs erased a 7-0 deficit by scoring 21 unanswered points in the second period.
WO-S (10-0) went up 28-7 early in the third period thanks to a strange play. Mustang punter James Haynes saw his punt blocked by Hornet Nicholas Havermann but Haynes caught the block in mid-air and ran 18 yards to the Hornet 38. On the next play Garrett got loose on a 38-yard scamper up the middle as he went untouched and into the end zone with 9:32 in the third.
The Mustangs moved the leather from their own 35 all the way to the Hornet 8 early in the fourth period and Sparrow made it 31-7 when he nailed his second field goal of the season from 25 yards with 11:16 left in the game.
The Mustangs chewed up 61 yards on yet another nice scoring drive in the fourth. WO-S capped it when Hypolite, getting great protection, hit receiver Curtis Rose on a 25-yard dart pass for a touchdown with 4:58 left, making it 37-7.
Caldwell (6-4) got on the board first with their third series of the game.
Slick Hornet quarterback Trentin Sims faked an inside handoff to his fullback and sprinted around the right end down the WO-S sideline for a 74-yard scamper all the way down to the Mustang 10.
Two plays later Sims took the honors as he zipped around the left end for a 9-yard touchdown dart. Kicker Michael McCoy's point-after kick was good as the Hornets grabbed a 7-0 edge with 1:42 remaining in the first quarter.
"They got loose on that one play, but that was it," said Hooks. "Cornel (Thompson) put together a great plan all week in practice. He spent countless hours studying everything Caldwell does. You hold a team to 300 yards less than what they averaged coming in, that's a whale of a job. Not too many people can do that and that's a credit to our kids and Coach Thompson."
The Mustangs took advantage of a Caldwell miscue to get points on the board early in the second.
A punt snap went over the head of Hornet punter D.J. Cumby and WO-S' Kevin Robinson pounced on him at the Hornet 32 with 1:49 in the half.
The Mustangs scored five plays later. James Haynes scored on a 6-yard sweep around the right end that was called back due to holding.
However, two plays later Hypolite found a streaking Adrian Steen over the middle for an 8-yard touchdown strike. Justin Sparrow's extra-point kick was good, enabling the Mustangs to tie it at 7-7 with 8:11 in the half.
The Mustangs used the brute force of Garrett to grab the lead. WO-S dashed 75 yards in six plays to find the end zone. Garrett took the first play of the series 31 yards around the right side, carrying Hornets on his back. After Hypolite ran twice for 17 yards, Garrett capped it with a 19-yard touchdown blast straight up the gut and he carried three Hornets on his back to get into the end zone, making it 14-0 with 4:23 still in the half.
WO-S got the Hornets to cough the ball up again when defensive back Trey Franks picked off Randall Lister on the wide receiver's pass attempt at the Mustang 31 with 2:36 in the half.
Hypolite quickly put a dagger into the hearts of the Hornets as the senior leader bolted along the right sideline and outran the Caldwell secondary on a 69-yard sprint to the end zone, making it a 21-7 game with 2:12 left.
"Hypo, he's the man, what more can you say about him," said Hooks. "He's so smooth out there and the kids feed off that. He broke loose on that big one and those two touchdown passes were right on the money."
The Mustangs missed an opportunity late in the half when Franks jumped on a Kyson Wooverton fumble at the Hornet 13. WO-S failed to move the ball and Sparrow missed a 30-yard field goal attempt that went wide-left with 0:34 left.
The Mustangs outgained the Hornets 265-96 in the first half. Garrett had 11 carries for 113 yards. Hypolite had nine totes for 91 yards and completed 4-of-8 passes for 48 yards.
Sims had three carries for 80 yards.
Sims finished the game with 72 yards on 10 carries. He completed 3-of-6 passes for 24 yards. Hornet fullback Woolverton, who entered the game with more than 1,300 yards, had just 35 yards on 16 carries. Tailback Nelson Scott, who had 1,100 coming in, finished with 44 yards on eight carries.