WHITEHOUSE -- The celebration for Lindale was short lived.

Theron Brown came through for the Eagles when they needed him most. He scored a touchdown late on fourth down to give Lindale its first lead of the game that it needed to win to make the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Eagles needed more points to qualify for the playoffs given a potential three-way tie. Their onside kick attempt failed and their comeback rally fell short as Whitehouse scored quickly to win the game, 27-23 on Friday night.

Flint Herrington led the game-winning drive for Whitehouse after starting quarterback Jake Clemons went down with a rib injury earlier in the fourth quarter. Despite entering a high-pressure situation, he looked poised.

He completed all four of his passes on the drive for a total of 54 yards. When the Wildcats were 19 yards away from scoring, he delivered a perfect ball to receiver Kendrion Johnson for the touchdown.

"Had absolutely no doubt that he would do that well," Cook said. "He came in the Nacogdoches game and led on on a scoring drive in that game. Jake was having some (injury) issues on the sideline so I hollered, 'Flint, get over here and get in,' and he leads us on that drive. Just to see his emotions afterward is pretty exciting. You love winning games by huge margins, but to win one like that where the kids have to fight back and face adversity. You're putting in the back up and to see them go over there and do what you know they can do is pretty awesome."

Lindale found itself in a position to win after a drive that included a couple of big plays. None bigger than a hitch-and-pitch between receiver Theron Brown and running back Jordan Robison, however.

Desperately needing a score, Lindale dug into its bag of tricks. Heinaman threw what appeared to be a screen to Brown. However, Robinson came quickly around the edge, and Brown pitched him the ball and watched and he ran right on the edge of the sideline for a touchdown.

After a recovery on an onside kick attempt Lindale was in position for Brown to make the play on fourth down that gave Eagles fans a glimmer of hope. However, when the Eagles went for another onside kick after that score, they failed to recover.

Whitehouse got big plays from its defense multiple times tonight.

It started early, when Jermone Bowser scooped up a fumble to score within the first minute of the game. The next touchdown didn't come until the third quarter, but it was also a product of the Wildcat defense.

Michael Raabe was in the right place as an interception fell right into his hands. He made the most of it, sprinting into the end zone to put Whitehouse up by two touchdowns.

In all, Whitehouse forced five turnovers from the Eagles on Friday.

Most importantly, it recovered a fumble after the final touchdown to seal the game for good.

"Defense played lights out," Cook said. "Two defensive scores for us. To make the play to get the ball back for us at the end so we can get into victory formation was huge."

Next up for Whitehouse is a first round playoff matchup with A&M Consolidated on Friday at Bowers Stadium on the campus of Sam Houston State University.

"We know that it's gonna be a good game," Cook said. "We're just excited to get in the playoffs. This is a good win for us to have. The way that we were able to win is going to be great momentum for us heading into next week."

Whitehouse 27, Lindale 23

At Wildcat Stadium, Whitehouse

Lindale              0    0   8   15    --    23
Whitehouse      7    0    13     7    --    27


First Quarter
WHI--Jermone Bowser fumble recovery (Cooper Clemons kick), 11:22.
Third Quarter
WHI--Michael Raabe interception (Clemons kick), 9:40.
LIN--Jordan Robinson 4 run (Robinson 2-point conversion), 5:43.
WHI--Clayton Cook 63 run (XP no good), 5:33.  
Fourth Quarter
LIN--Robinson 19 pass from Dillon Heinaman (Theron Brown pass from Dillon Heinaman 2 points), 2:53.
LIN--Brown 20 pass from Dillon Heinaman (Brennan Moore kick), 1:37.
WHI--Kendrion Johnson 19 pass from Flint Herrington (Clemons kick), 0:32.

                                           LIN                    WHI
First Downs                             13                       9
Total Yards                             321                     355
Rushes-Yards                   29-62                 33-165
Passing Yards                        259                    190
Comp.-Att.-Int.                25-40-3                    16-31-1
Punts-Avg.                         7-42.4               6-37.7
Fumbles-Lost                          2-1                    0-0
Penalties-Yards                     2-20                  9-100

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Lindale, Jordan Robinson 21-48, Cody Pike 1-20, Conner Boyette 1-(-3), Dillon Heinaman 5-(-1), Team 1-(-2). Whitehouse, Clayton Cook 12-98, Jaden Haskins 8-23, Kendahl Fry 6-44, Jame Clemons, 6-4, Team 1-(-4). 
PASSING--Lindale, Heinaman 25-40-3--259. Whitehouse, Jake Clemons 12-27-1--136, Flint Herrington 4-4-0--54.
RECEIVING--Lindale, Jordan Robinson 8-52, Ethan Gilley 3-62, Theron Brown 7-66, Conner Boyette 4-60, Brennan Moore 3-23, Jonathan McWhorter 1-15. Whitehouse, Cameron Cantrell 5-59, Javier Neal 4-64, Kendrion Johnson 4-51, Seth Dolan 1-7, Jaden Haskins 1-0.