After last weeks emotional regional final win over West Orange Stark 35-28, the Silsbee Tigers are, for the second straight year, playing for the state finals in Dallas. With last years 29-24 semifinal loss to Cuero, Silsbee has yet to make the big dance but Friday night's game against Wimberly could be a program defining win for Randy Smith's squad.
"All year we've been talking to our kids about finishing what you do," said Silsbee head coach Randy Smith.
"We're a little bit more focused this year on what it is we need to do."
There's a perfect storm brewing in southeast Texas this Friday night as the Silsbee Tigers and West Orange Stark Mustangs meet for the fourth time in just over a calendar year. Silsbee defeated WOS in last years 4A D2 state quarterfinal final playoff game, snapping a nine game losing streak to the Mustangs that dated back to October 9, 2009.
West Orange Stark would appease that loss with a defeat of Silsbee this past October during the regular season 19-7.
Silsbee would lose their semifinal game last year to Cuero 29-24 but the win over WOS was arguably the biggest win in Silsbee history.
The win left a bitter taste with West Orange Stark who is accustomed to championships. The Mustangs won back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016 and won 13 games in 2017. The last time WOS has not played over Thanksgiving weekend was 2010.
This Friday night brings together two football crazy communities to Beaumont ISD Memorial Stadium that could see record attendance.
"We're going to have 12,000 people at this game," said Mustangs head coach Cornell Thompson whose record is 117-21 at WOS since his first season in 2011.
"You'll be able to loot Orange (Tx.) this Friday night, we're the only two teams left," said Thompson.
The team features an overpowering WOS defense going up against a balanced Silsbee offense that averaged nearly 350 yards a game during district play. The game projects to be tighter than a rusted lug nut on a '57 Chevy.
"Finishing is a big point of what we try to do", said Silsbee head coach Randy Smith.
"It's the same way when you're in the weight room, you finish your sets, you finish in conditioning, all of those things come together in a game like this."
West Orange Stark has beaten Huntington, La Grange, and Bellville in the playoffs to get to Friday nights game. Silsbee has beaten Shepherd, Smithville, and Giddings.
The Mustangs have reached the state quarterfinals nine years in a row while this will be Silsbee's fourth appearance, having reached last season and again in 2015 and 1998.
"In order to be the best, you have to beat the best." - Ric Flair, NWA/WCW Word Heavyweight Champion.
Listen to the VYPE SETX Podcast with Cornell Thompson & Randy Smith by clicking the play button below: