Year after year the Class 4A school in the southeast corner of Texas — otherwise known as The Golden Triangle — makes a deep run in the playoffs, because of defense. This year is no exception.
The Mustangs have saddled a defense to a perfect 14-0 record and No. 1 ranking all season. WO-S has allowed just 56 points through 14 games this season. The only points scored against the Mustangs in the first half of the regular season came via safety in a 55-2 win over powerhouse Silsbee.
Other than Kennedale’s 21 points posted in a cross-state, non-district contest, WO-S hasn’t allowed more than two touchdowns — and they only did that once in a 47-14 playoff win over Waco Robinson.
Bellville managed just seven points in the regional round and Giddings only scored a field goal on offense in the state quarterfinal. Again, the Mustangs offense gave up two points in the 48-5 win over the Buffaloes.
The eight shutouts pitched by the WO-S defense has led to a Mustang squad allowing only 4 points a game. But this isn’t unprecedented. In last year’s 15-1 run to a state title, the Mustangs allowed just 12 points a game, including only three to Celina in the 4A Division II state championship. Take away Richmond Foster’s 42 in the Mustangs’ only loss, and they allowed only 8.4 a game.
But look at the their defense through the years and how it correlates to their finish:
2014 — 13.8 (state runner-up)
2013 — 11.8 (regional finish)
2012 — 5.7 (quarterfinalist)
2011 — 15.6 (quarterfinalist)
In the 2012 quarterfinal loss to eventual state champ Navasota, the Mustangs had allowed just 42 points through 13 games before the Rattlers struck for 38.
West Orange-Stark plays Geronimo Navarro in the state semifinal this week. The Panthers (14-0) average 48 points a game, but they haven’t seen a defense quite like this one.
If defense really does championships, then the advantage will obviously tilt in West Orange-Stark’s favor. Then again, something definitely has to give on Friday night.