Mesquite Poteet Holds Off Whitehouse’s Furious Rally in Drama-Filled 65-60 Regional Semifinal Win
ALLEN -- One of the biggest offensive showcases in Texas high school playoff history was ultimately decided by a defensive play.
Malachi Cobb intercepted Whitehouse quarterback Patrick Mahomes on a tipped pass on the Wildcats' potential game-winning drive to give Mesquite Poteet a 65-60 victory in a Class 4A Division II Region II semifinal at Eagle Stadium.
Poteet (12-1) held off Whitehouse's rally from as much as 18 down to advance to the regional finals against Ennis, a 46-25 winner over Frisco on Friday night.
Mahomes was picked off for the fifth and sixth time this season -- both off tipped passes -- in a game where he ended his high school career with a dazzling stat line. The Texas Tech commit threw for 597 yards and five touchdowns on 34-of-59 passing, and also ran for two scores.
On the opposite side of the ball, Poteet quarterback Lane Novy threw for 433 yards and six touchdowns on 22-of-42 attempts.
The two signal-callers' numbers combined for 1,030 of the game's 1,279 total offensive yardage. It also marked just the 18th time in Texas high school football history a game has ended with at least 125 total points.
Whitehouse put itself in prime position to go ahead late in the game after a 12-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Jake Parker -- Mahomes' 50th touchdown pass of the season -- made the score 65-60 and the Wildcats forced the Pirates to punt on their ensuing possession.
The Wildcats, who had scored on four straight possessions, started their drive from their own 23. Mahomes' 10th completion to Parker -- who finished as Whitehouse's all-time leading receiver after totaling 283 yards and four touchdowns -- moved the Wildcats to their own 32.
Whitehouse got as far as its own 46 after Mahomes hit Ryan Cheatham on a quick strike for 14 yards on fourth-and-1, but Mahomes' next passed bounced out of Dominique Hollie's hands and into Cobb's to end the game.
"(Coming back) just shows the character of these young men, the resiliency they have and our holding true to our motto of being dependent on our brothers," Whitehouse coach Adam Cook said. "For us to have an opportunity for us to win right there with 42 seconds left on the clock is just a testament to them."
Twice the Wildcats got within five in the second half after trailing by as much as 18. The two teams combined for 30 penalties for 246 yards (three yards less than they combined for rushing), but no penalty was as costly as one against Whitehouse with 7:29 left in the fourth quarter.
Whitehouse forced Novy into two straight incompletions to give Poteet a fourth-and-11 at the Wildcats 34. Poteet decided to punt, but Whitehouse was called for offsides to move the Pirates up to the 29.
Poteet went for it, and Novy hit Lajarian Poole on the left sideline, where he went out of bounds at the Whitehouse 1. Jaylon Smith's second rushing touchdown of the game put Poteet up 65-53 with 7:12 left in the game.
"There's several different things that we could go back and look at and say it was this or that that was the deciding factor, but I don't think you can point out just one thing," Cook said. "They converted a lot of third downs and fourth downs that we should have stopped. What got us early is that we weren't finishing plays. That's what we stressed at halftime --playing whistle to whistle."
Whitehouse started the game in high gear. Mahomes in the first 8 1/2 minutes completed 9 of his first 12 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns -- the first a 48-yarder to put the Wildcats up 7-0 1:54 into the game and the second for 71 yards to Parker on Whitehouse's first play following a Novy-to-Deandre McNeal 20-yard touchdown that tied the game at 7.
Poteet's Kody Edwards, who finished with seven catches for 161 yards and two scores, tied the game at 14-14 17 seconds after Parker's second score on a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The two teams had combined for 28 points less than seven minutes into the game, including three touchdowns in a 36-second span.
Poteet scored 21 consecutive points to open the second half, the last of them coming on a prayer that Novy threw as high and as far as he could while evading Whitehouse pressure. The ball dropped into the hands of a wide-open McNeal who waltzed into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown and a 35-20 lead for Poteet.
Mahomes ran nine times for 48 yards and two touchdowns, both of them coming 2:25 apart to get Whitehouse within 35-33 with 4:07 in the first half.
But Novy and Edwards would connect again, this time from 36 yards out to put Poteet up 41-33 with 42 seconds left in the half.
Whitehouse had a chance to respond again, but the first half ended the same as the second. Mahomes' pass was tipped and intercepted, which at the time was just his fifth interception of the season.
Mahomes finished his senior season with an unofficial line of 4,597 yards, 50 touchdowns and six interceptions.
"Patrick is such a special player and he played his heart out today," Cook said of his star quarterback. "He's blessed me so much and has helped put me where I am today. You don't go 12-1 in this offense without special quarterbacks. And just like Brady Attaway and Hunter Taylor before him, Patrick has done that."
The Wildcats kept their season alive for 13 games despite losing many standouts to injury this season. Whitehouse ended 2013 without safety Justin Dunning, receiver/defensive back Coleman Patterson and linebacker Reggie Long in its final game.
Not having that depth against Poteet's high-powered offense -- which Cook compared to playing against his own -- was crucial.
"I think that it would have helped had we had those guys, no doubt," Cook said, "but going back to the heart of these kids, when someone has gone down someone else has stepped in right away. I'm so proud of these kids and the season we had."
Mesquite Poteet 65, No. 3 Whitehouse 60
Class 4A Division II Region II Semifinal
At Eagle Stadium, Allen
Whitehouse 20 13 14 13 -- 60
Mesquite Poteet 14 27 17 7 -- 65
WHI -- Jake Parker 48 pass from Patrick Mahomes (Travis Blackburn kick), 10:06
MP -- Deandre McNeal 20 pass from Lane Novy (Derric Davis kick), 5:50
WHI -- Parker 71 pass from Mahomes (Colby Crim kick), 5:31
MP -- Kody Edwards 91 kick return (Davis kick), 5:14
WHI -- Dominique Hollie 2 run (kick blocked), 3:30
MP -- Jaylon Smith 2 run (Davis kick), 11:03
MP -- Lajarian Poole 29 pass from Novy (Davis kick), 9:29
MP -- McNeal 32 pass from Novy (Davis kick), 8:22
WHI -- Mahomes 2 run (pass failed), 6:32
WHI -- Mahomes 1 run (Crim kick), 4:07
MP -- Edwards 36 pass from Novy (kick failed), 0:42
MP -- Davis 24 FG, 8:29
MP -- Edwards 14 pass from Novy (Davis kick), 6:35
WHI -- Jaylon Dews 52 pass from Mahomes (run failed), 5:36
MP -- Denzel Thomas 18 pass from Novy (Davis kick), 4:03
WHI -- Dominique Hollie 15 run (Ryan Cheatham pass from Mahomes), 1:01
WHI -- Parker 30 pass from Mahomes (run failed), 9:33
MP -- Smith 1 run (Davis kick), 7:12
WHI -- Parker 12 pass from Mahomes (Crim kick), 3:26
First Downs 25 25
Total Yards 710 569
Rushes-Yards 23-113 40-136
Passing Yards 597 433
Comp.-Att.-Int. 34-59-2 22-42-0
Punts-Avg. 3-33.3 4-30.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 16-133 14-113
RUSHING -- Whitehouse, Patrick Mahomes 9-48, Shemar Smith 8-24, Dominique Hollie 5-21, Ryan Cheatham 1-20. Mesquite Poteet, Jaylon Smith 22-87, Walter Dawn Jr. 7-62, Marquise Banks 2-6, Deandre McNeal 2-1, Lane Novy 5-(-8), Team 2-(-12).
PASSING -- Whitehouse, Mahomes 34-59-2--597. Mesquite Poteet, Novy 22-42-0--433.
RECEIVING -- Whitehouse, Jake Parker 10-287, Jaylon Dews 5-123, Smith 5-81, Cheatham 7-58, Eric Munoz 5-35, Drew Smith 2-17. Mesquite Poteet, Kody Edwards 7-161, McNeal 6-98, Lajarian Poole 2-62, Dawn Jr. 2-48, David Ayala 2-30, Denzel Thomas 2-25, Smith 1-9.