Hunter Taylor and Jonathan Aldridge have graduated, but don’t expect Whitehouse to stop scoring points anytime soon.

The Wildcats will have a lot of new faces on their trademark pass-happy spread offense, but one similarity from last year will be Dylan Cantrell, who caught a staggering 21 touchdown passes in 2011 and is committed to Texas Tech. Patrick Mahomes could be the new Whitehouse quarterback after having a solid sophomore season at safety. Fellow junior Ryan Cheatham is also in the mix at QB.

The big question for Whitehouse is defense. The Wildcats were porous a year ago, yielding 43.5 points per game. That included opponents’ outputs of 54, 59, 70, 48, and 64. Can Whitehouse make drastic defensive improvements to help out an offense that averaged six touchdowns per game in 2011? The Wildcats have a better chance to be successful defensively after a young unit suffered through growing pains a year ago. Don’t be surprised if safety Colby Campbell (77 tackles in 2011) has a big year to help the cause.

Whitehouse’s ability to clinch its seventh consecutive playoff berth might hinge on how beat up the Wildcats are after non-district play, which features an ambitious schedule. Four of their five opponents were 2011 playoff teams, and after not leaving Smith County for their first three games -- one of which is against Chapel Hill at Tyler’s TMF Rose Stadium on Sept. 7 -- the Wildcats close non-district play with trips to Marshall and Carthage.

The good news for Whitehouse is 3 of 5 District 16-4A games are at home, and the Cats’ longest trip after Sept. 28 is a 27-mile skip to Jacksonville. If Whitehouse gets to the postseason, the potential for a favorable first-round matchup against Red Oak may allow the Wildcats to hang around a little while.

5A/4A Countdown

No. 9: Hallsville

No. 10: Lindale