WHITEHOUSE -- Dylan Cantrell separated himself from the pack last season as a junior, garnering statewide acclaim and recognition from college scouts.

As the Whitehouse wide receiver prepares for his senior year, it doesn't appear the Texas Tech commit plans on disappearing from the spotlight anytime soon.

Cantrell was on the receiving end of three touchdowns in the Wildcats' 35-21 defeat of Gilmer on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in the first scrimmage of the season for both teams.

The first two TD receptions for Cantrell occurred within the Wildcats' first 20 plays, and both were in the red zone. His first came from a yard out from junior Ryan Cheatham. Cantrell's next score was of the highlight-reel variety, leaping high in the corner of the end zone and pulling a Patrick Mahomes pass down with one hand.

Cantrell, who had more than 1,400 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2011, completed the hat trick after beating a Gilmer defender one-on-one, and outracing the secondary into the end zone from more than 60 yards out.

"Dylan made big plays, but of course Jake Parker made a couple of big plays tonight," McFarlin said. "Overall in our receiving corps, we don't just have Dylan Cantrell. We've got three others that are pretty good."

Cheatham and Mahomes, two juniors competing for the starting quarterback spot, both performed well. Cheatham passed for three TDs, while Mahomes found the end zone twice.

"We saw tonight that both of them were very poised and got the job done," McFarlin said. "It was like you didn't know which one was in there. They were both very good, they shared duties tonight and we'll continue doing that."

The Wildcats defense was also sharp early, holding Gilmer's offense scoreless for the first 20 plays while forcing two turnovers.

"Last year we had no returners coming back on defense," McFarlin said. "This year we've got several back and that's so important to kids, knowing what to do and having confidence. And of course, we're a little more talented with a little more speed on the field this year."

Gilmer, which returns just two starters on offense, is also trying to find its quarterback. Tanner Barr and Jaidon Parrish took the majority of the snaps with the first team. Barr tossed one TD, while Parrish found the end zone both on the ground and through the air.

Sophomore McClane Carter, who is also in the mix at quarterback, was injured and did not play.

"I think they both played very well considering the circumstances," Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor said. "Having as many penalties as we did, to not block very well, I thought our quarterbacks performed very admirably. Do they have a lot to get better at? Sure they do. But for their first time, and with both of them not playing quarterback last year, you can tell they worked hard at it."

It was a struggle early for Gilmer's offense.

"We're just a young football team and we're replacing a lot of guys on offense," Traylor said. "It's just going to take time."

Whitehouse's final scrimmage is Aug. 24 at Mount Pleasant, while Gilmer plays host to New Boston on Aug. 23.