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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Kennedale challenges DII 2016 champ West Orange-Stark tonight

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One of two top games in Class 4A this week
Kennedale has a return match against West Orange Stark (WOS) tonight in Nacogdoches, game time 7:30 p.m. This is a big game in Class 4A featuring two ranked undefeated teams from different divisions and featuring a two-time defending state champ {{more: read more …}}versus a state semi-qualifier last year. Also throw in the fact that WOS is on a 30 game winning streak.

This was the game Barrett hoped for last year when the two teams met for the first time ever, but it never materialized as Kennedale lost 45-21.

Background ?
Class 4A is divided into 2 divisions based on enrollment with the higher numbers in Division I. West Orange- Startk (WOS) is a 4A Division II school while Kennedale is a 4A Division I school. The divisions have their own playoff system. So any game between the two divisions is just for the record, pride and the polls.
The story on West Orange-Stark ?
West Orange-Stark is a new school relatively speaking with its first year competing in UIL football in 1977. That first year, WOS posted a winning season at 5-4 and hasn?t really looked back. It is a record of success that includes 4 state championships (back to back in 1986-87 under Coach Dan Ray Hooks and 2015-16 under present Coach Cornell Thompson). There is no need to count the district championships, just suffice to say there are more than the fingers on your hands and toes on your feet. Cornell Thompson, who was an assistant coach for WOS before he inherited the program from Hooks in 2011.
WOS is known for its defensive game. Last year they gave up only 58 points during their 16 game state championship season. Kennedale?s only consolidation last year in their 45-21 loss to WOS was the fact that they were the only team to score that many points on the Mustangs. This year WOS has outscored their opponents 138-28.
Storm shortened season …
WOS has had a hurricane shortened season, having to cancel the first two games of their season due to the havoc wrecked by Harvey (technically a tropical storm by then). They didn?t have their first mandatory practice until September 11, four days before their opener game against Bridge City.
Twenty two players had to evacuate due to flooding. Head Coach was living out of a hotel room because he had half a foot of water flowing through his home. The high school housed the National Guard up the weekend before WOS resumed practice.

In games played this season, WOS defeated Bridge City (0-3) 39-6, Houston KIPP Northeast (1-1) 61-6 and Silsbee (1-2) 34-17.

Seven starters return from last year?s state champions but a key loss was quarterback Jack Dallas. Players to watch this year include RB Kavyn Cooper who had 199 yards against Silsbee last week and 314 total for the year on 24 carries plus 4 TDs. QB Chaka Watson has stepped up to fill the shoes of Dallas has 153 yards rushing on 20 carries and 136 yards passing (14/23 and 2 TDs/1 Int).

As a team, WOS is averaging 240 yards per game (191 yards on the ground and 48 by air) and 37 TDs

Kennedale so far ?

Kennedale (4-0) is currently on a roll, outscoring their opponents 224-52. They have returned 15 starters from last year?s state semi-final qualifier team. The Cats have game average of 428.8 total offense, (379.3 rushing, 41.8 passing) and have scored 32 TDs.

The take …
Both teams come in undefeated; both are capable of putting up large numbers; and, each are strong on defense.
  • West Orange-Stark has history and reputation on its side. This is a consistently strong program with years and years of playoff experience that has benefited from talent and consistent coaching.
  • Kennedale has the numbers on its side this. Kennedale is senior laden team heavy on returning starters. It has achieved a balance of talent on both sides of the ball unlike any team in recent history. And, this is a team including the coaches that know how to make adjustment mid-game and produce results.

Edge – Kennedale

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