ARLINGTON – Midway through the first quarter, West Orange-Stark committed a cardinal football sin.
A goal line fumble would be returned by Sweetwater’s Luke James 96 yards for the touchdown and an early 6-0 lead.
“I was trying to get into the end zone,” James said of his recovery. “If it wasn’t for my D-Line getting the ball loose, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Despite the fast start and momentum, the Sweetwater Bulldogs would never lead or score again.
Sweetwater played a closer game than the scoreboard could ever indicate. Even with just 148 yards of total offense, the piercing red and white of Sweetwater made West Orange-Stark earn every single yard and score Friday afternoon.
“We felt like we contained them,” Sweetwater head coach Shane Mobley said. “But a couple of big plays in the second half got us.”
On the opening drive of the third quarter, the West Orange-Stark Bulldogs would force an interception leading to a 20-yard field goal by kicker Chad Dallas to push West Orange-Stark’s lead to 10-6.
A second turnover in the end zone would start the fourth quarter for West Orange-Stark, but Jack Dallas would atone for his interception with a 1-yard touchdown on a quarterback keeper.
Justin Brown’s pick-six would seal a 16-0 record and back-to-back state championships for West Orange-Stark, as the blue and silver Bulldogs would beat the red and white Bulldogs by a final score of 24-6.
“It feels great to go 16-0,” wide receiver Kentavious Miller said. “It hasn’t really sunk in with us.”
Even after winning a fourth state championship (third as a head coach) and over 40 years of coaching, West Orange-Stark head coach Cornel Thompson isn’t ready to ride off into the sunset.
“I don’t do anything but raise longhorn cattle and coach football,” Thompson said. “I don’t believe I’m ready to call it quits.”
SWEETWATER – 7:44 — James 96-yard fumble recovery (2-point conversion failed; SW: 6, WOS: 0)
ORANGE-STARK – 0:29 — Shaw 2-yard run (C. Dallas kick good; WOS: 7, SW: 6)
ORANGE-STARK – 10:14 — C. Dallas 20-yard field goal (WOS: 10, SW: 6)
ORANGE-STARK – 7:58 — J. Dallas 1-yard rush (C. Dallas kick good; WOS: 17, SW: 6)
ORANGE-STARK – 5:38 — Brown 31-yard interception return (C. Dallas kick good; WOS: 24, SW: 6)