Mus­tangs eye berth in state semis

Manor

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - C ash­ley lan­dis / FOR amer­i­can-states­man PLAY­OFF SCHED­ULE & RE­SULTS Class 4A, Di­vi­sion II Class 5A, Di­vi­sion II Class 4A, Di­vi­sion I Class 4A, Di­vi­sion II Con­tact Danny Davis at 4453952. Twit­ter: @aas­danny

fa­ther’s de­ploy­ment, said he ex­changed e-mails with his fa­ther, but once went four months with­out be­ing able to com­mu­ni­cate with him. Hutchin­son was able to talk with his step­fa­ther on the phone.

Mo­lette “couldn’t take” some of the sto­ries his fa­ther had told him about Afghanistan, but his fa­ther in­sisted his son needed to fo­cus on his own well­be­ing.

“I had to grow up,” Mo­lette said.

Eric Rivers, Hutchin­son’s step­fa­ther, told his step­son that as long as the fam­ily was fine, he would be fine, too.

“I try to keep my head up,” said Hutchin­son, who plays on spe­cial teams and is a third-down pass rusher for a Manor de­fense that has al­lowed 18.2 points per game. The Mus­tangs also have forced eight turnovers in the play­offs.

The Mus­tangs — who are try­ing to reach the state semi­fi­nals for the first time in school his­tory — have been led of­fen­sively by ju­nior run­ning back Ty­rone Owens, who has rushed for at least 135 yards in each of his past six games. But a re­ceiv­ing

UIL state quar­ter­fi­nals

Cedar Park (11-2) vs. San An­to­nio Bren­nan (13-0), late Fri­day

West­lake (9-4) vs. Plano West (9-4), 2 p.m. Satur­day (Waco ISD Sta­dium)

Ge­orge­town (13-0) vs. Ned­er­land (12-1), 3 p.m. Satur­day (Berry Cen­ter, Cy­press)

Rouse (9-4) vs. Cor­pus Christi Flour Bluff (13-0), 7 p.m. Satur­day (Bob­cat Sta­dium, San Mar­cos)

Manor (10-3) vs. Fort Bend Mar­shall (13-0), 8 p.m. Satur­day (Alam­od­ome) corps an­chored by Mo­lette and fel­low se­nior Kel­ton Evans has given Manor other of­fen­sive op­tions, too. Mus­tangs quar­ter­back Chris John­son has thrown for 16 touch­downs this sea­son, and there are five Manor re­ceivers who have at least 26 re­cep­tions.

“It kind of makes our of­fense a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to stop at times, “said Jack­son, whose team has won eight straight games. “Ev­ery one of those kids (has) got the ca­pa­bil­ity of mak­ing plays.”

With the hol­i­day sea­son ap­proach­ing, Mo­lette said the Manor coaches have been ask­ing the Mus­tangs what they want for Christ­mas. The an­swer: state cham­pi­onship rings.

“The W.A.M.M. Na­tion train, ev­ery­one wants to be a part of it now,” said Mo­lette, us­ing the team acro­nym for “We Are Manor Mus­tangs.”

“We have a chance to win state and we all be­lieve that.”

The step­fa­ther of Manor’s Den­zel Hutchin­son (left) and the fa­ther of Rod­ney Mo­lette re­cently re­turned from Afghanistan. Mo­lette holds an Army dog tag that he wears each game.

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