If this year's clash between District 16-4A rivals John Tyler and Whitehouse is anything like last season's classic, it would be hard to argue with its preseason billing as game of the year in East Texas.

Just like 2012, this season's Nov. 8 regular-season finale in Whitehouse figures to be for the district title.

John Tyler's Tra Moore. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)

Heading into last year's encounter, Whitehouse was off to the best start in school history at 9-0. A high-flying offense led by a bevy of underclassmen came into the game extremely confident, and after jumping on JT 24-0 in the second quarter, most of the 10,000-plus in attendance at Rose Stadium in Tyler thought one of two things: they'd see a stunning upset of the state's No. 2-ranked team, or a comeback for the ages.

They saw the latter. John Tyler got 10 quick points right before the half to pull to within a couple touchdowns, then scored on its opening possession of the second half to cut the deficit to 24-17.

JT never led in the game, until a fourth-quarter fumble by Whitehouse gave the Lions the ball deep in Wildcats territory in a 38-38 game. The Lions scored the go-ahead score with 4:47 remaining and held on for a thrilling 45-38 win and the 16-4A title.

Whitehouse brings back the bulk of its playmakers from 2012, while JT will be putting several new faces on the field. And while that might sound like a clear advantage for the Wildcats, the nine games leading up to this one should give JT enough time to know exactly what to expect.

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Whitehouse 's Vincent Dunning. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)