One step short: Texans fall to West Orange-Stark in state semifinal

KATY – Not even a high-powered pass attack could help the Wimberley Texans from becoming the West Orange-Stark Mustangs’ 40th victim in a row.

Smothering defense, along with a handful of explosive plays on offense, allowed WO-S to gallop away with a 30-21 state semifinal win Dec. 14 at Legacy Stadium.

Wimberley Texan senior JoJo Weeks is consoled by his mother, Lisa. (photo by Moses Leos III)

Wimberley seniors Thomas Carruthers (L) and Gavin Martinez celebrate after Martinez hauled in a 39-yard touchdown catch from quarterback JoJo Weeks just before halftime to narrow the Mustang’s lead 27-21 in the Class 4A Division II Semifinals. (photo by Wayland D. Clark,

Thomas Carruthers breaks away from West Orange-Stark’s Kayven Cooper on a 21 yard run. The senior linebacker and running back rushed 13 times for 53 yards but was kept out of the end zone through four quarters. (photo by Wayland D. Clark,

But amid the sadness of a season ending one step short of state, Texan head coach Doug Warren celebrated his program’s achievement in reaching the 5th round of the playoffs for the first time under his guidance.

“They bought in and fought hard. After last season, they felt disappointed,” Warren said. “They made the commitment into the summer and through this season. They made all the work. Just so proud of them because of the things they’ve done for us.”

Wimberley (13-2) was unable to corral WO-S quarterback Chaka Watson, who finished with a game-high 241 rushing yards and two highlight reel touchdowns in the contest. Watson’s game-breaking moment came in the second quarter when he rattled off a critical 99-yard touchdown run that gave WO-S a 20-14 advantage.

Warren said WO-S had a “good athlete” in the backfield, but knew the Texans had to limit his explosive plays. While the Texans did that for the most part, Watson made the plays in critical moments.

“We were trying to get out of the endzone,” Watson said. “We were on the goal line. I saw the noseguard go to the right. There was a hole to the left. I saw green and I knew I had to go.”

WO-S took control of the game several minutes later when Jarron Morris ran back a 77-yard punt return to give WO-S a 27-14 lead late in the second quarter.

Wimberley, however, fought to stay in the game as much as possible. They countered with a 39-yard touchdown pass from quarterback JoJo Weeks to wide receiver Gavin Martinez, which cut the WO-S lead to 27-21 at intermission.

But Weeks, who went 11 of 33 for 274 yards in the game, struggled against a playmaking WO-S defense that he said was the “best defense I’ve seen all year.” Weeks said he felt the Mustangs “knew pretty much everything we were going to do.”

Wimberley was held scoreless over the final two quarters of the ball game. It was one of the few times Wimberley was not able to score in a quarter this season.

“We had to make plays. We did that a few times, but we didn’t do that enough,” Weeks said.

Warren said the Texans understood the Mustangs were focused on stopping the run, which he said they were going to hang their hats on. Wimberley was held to 87 rushing yards in the game. Senior running back Thomas Carruthers was limited to 56 yards in the game. 

“We knew if we could throw the ball, we could loosen them up,” Warren said. “We were not as consistent as we needed to be.”

But for Weeks, the ability to take the Texans the furthest its ever gone since the program claimed the 2011 state title was a thrill.

“We wanted to get past the third round. We made it to the fifth round,” Weeks said. “We didn’t go to state, but you know, sometimes it doesn’t always work out the way you want.”

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