No. 3 Whitehouse Claims 16-4A Championship in 55-54 Shootout Victory Over John Tyler
WHITEHOUSE -- A game that featured 109 points came down to a defensive stand on a two-point conversion.
John Tyler junior quarterback Geovari McCollister ran for a 13-yard touchdown with 59.8 seconds left, but No. 3 Whitehouse's defense pressured McCollister on a would-be, go-ahead two-point conversion attempt to force an incompletion in the back of the end zone to hold on for a 55-54 Wildcat victory Friday night and secure a perfect regular season and the District 16-4A crown.
Whitehouse (10-0, 5-0) plays Arlington Seguin at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium in a Class 4A Division II Region II bi-district playoff. John Tyler (7-3, 4-1) plays Mansfield Legacy at 2 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 16) at Forney's City Bank Stadium in a 4A Division I Region II first-round playoff.
Whitehouse senior quarterback Patrick Mahomes and McCollister put on a show in Friday's thriller before a sellout crowd at Wildcat Stadium.
Mahomes, who is committed to Texas Tech, completed 24 of 43 passes for 391 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception while rushing 18 times for 85 yards and two scores. His second touchdown run was a 14-yarder that capped a 12-play, 68-yard drive for a 55-48 Whitehouse lead with 1:49 remaining. That drive took almost four minutes off the clock as the Wildcats ran six times thanks to run-pass options, Mahomes said.
"The thing was, I had the pass-run option and I was counting my numbers on both sides. They were weak (in numbers) on the right side, so I decided I was gonna take it myself," Mahomes said, "and then that last play I told coach (Adam Cook), 'Coach, just keep calling it. I'm gonna get in there.' He gave me the option to do it and I ran it in there."
John Tyler finished with 41 carries for 193 yards, but 118 of those came on two Jeremy Wilson runs -- a 70-yard touchdown sprint on JT's first play from scrimmage and a 48-yarder to set up McCollister's 13-yard score with a minute remaining. Outside of those two runs, Whitehouse smothered JT's running game for 75 yards on 39 rushes. McCollister, who Whitehouse held to one yard on his first 13 carries thanks to sacks and negative plays, willed his way to 64 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries and completed 17 of 27 passes for 244 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
Senior nose tackle Kostin Wallace spearheaded Whitehouse's interior defensive push throughout the evening, including after senior linebacker Reggie Long -- Whitehouse's leading tackler -- left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury and didn't return. Wallace wrapped up McCollister on the two-point attempt to force the incompletion, which led to a John Tyler illegal touch penalty on the ensuing onside kick to seal the Whitehouse win.
"Our defense, you've gotta take care of your gap. As long as everybody takes care of their gap, I know that if I take care of mine, it opens it up for everybody else," Wallace said. "As long as we work for each other, it all works together to make it hard for anybody to run."
John Tyler called a timeout prior to the two-point try. Whitehouse's entire team huddled around the defense. Cook said Wallace took command of the gathering.
"Make a play," Wallace said of his timeout speech. "(Earlier) I told the guys during halftime, I turned 18 yesterday. I've been working 18 years of my life to get to this point right now, and we've come too close to let it go."
Whitehouse head coach Adam Cook did not blame JT head coach Ricklan Holmes at all for going for the go-ahead two-pointer. He also said despite his injury, Long still communicated a message with his teammates during the pivotal timeout.
"I had a text from Reggie. Reggie's text said, 'Hang tight and finish.' That's what we talked about," said Cook, who led the 'Cats to a district crown in his first season at the helm. "John Tyler is so doggone athletic that it was tough to get those guys down and stop them. I know exactly what coach Holmes was doing right there going for two. He's a winner. He's going for the win. He's not going to overtime. He's in to win this thing. I knew for sure that's what he was gonna do. For us it was just about finishing."
Whitehouse outgained John Tyler 517-437. Mahomes completed passes to eight different receivers. Senior Jake Parker caught three passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns, while junior Eric Munoz caught six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown, a 16-yarder four minutes into third for a 40-28 lead. Senior Ryan Cheatham caught six passes for 55 yards, including a five-yarder for Whitehouses's 48-34 advantage with 3:25 left in the third. Sophomore Shemar Smith had seven touches for 73 yards and one rushing touchdown, and senior Jaylon Dews caught two passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.
"They were a great team and they always are. To finally get that win over them and set that example for kids younger than us, we always wanted to be that class to do things that Whitehouse usually hasn't, and it's a great feeling to finally accomplish that," Mahomes said. "It gets us over that hump and now the playoff run will hopefully be a little easier."
Whitehouse's win avenged a heartbreaking 45-38 loss at John Tyler in 2012, when the Wildcats built a 24-0 first-half lead before the veteran Lions roared back for the win and the district title.
"It's huge," Wallace said of the win. "Just think of something you've been working for your whole life and then you finally accomplish it, couldn't help but drop some tears. It was just a special moment."
Whitehouse forced two turnovers to John Tyler's one takeaway, which came on senior safety Terry Ausborne's interception. That ended a Whitehouse possession that started with Wildcat senior linebacker Chris Reese's fumble recovery. Whitehouse junior cornerback Nate Brooks had a late second-quarter interception.
Brooks' pick gave Whitehouse a chance for a three-score lead before halftime, but John Tyler forced a three-and-out trailing 33-21 with less than a minute remaining. A 17-yard punt combined with JT junior Isaac Warren's heads-up, 18-yard return to give the Lions a short field with 15.4 seconds before halftime. A 16-yard completion to Cain set up an 18-yard touchdown strike to Wilson, who caught three passes for 40 yards and ran eight times for 130 yards, with no time left in the first half to cut Whitehouse's lead to 33-28.
Junior Rodney Bendy led John Tyler with seven catches for 100 yards, including a 32-yard first-half touchdown. Junior Nick Cain caught five passes for 80 yards and a score, a 12-yard, fourth-and-goal strike from McCollister that tied the game 48-48 with 5:39 remaining to cap a 16-play, 67-yard drive.
The 10 wins match Whitehouse's single-season school record. The Wildcats won 10 games in 2012 (10-2), 2007 (10-2), and 2006 (10-3).
The teams went back and forth in the first, which ended with John Tyler leading 14-12. John Tyler took a 21-19 lead on Bendy's 32-yard touchdown with 8:17 left before halftime, but Whitehouse answered with a 61-yard drive capped by Smith's one-yard touchdown with less than four minutes remaining in the second quarter.
John Tyler never led after that, tying only at 48-48 on the aforementioned McCollister-to-Cain strike in the fourth.
John Tyler senior running back Dyran McDuff's one-yard touchdown run with 4:47 in the third cut Whitehouse's lead to 40-34, but the Wildcats stretched their lead to 48-34 less than a minute and a half later on Mahomes' five-yard touchdown strike to Cheatham. That set the stage for John Tyler's comeback and the dramatic finish.
If Long is out for an extended period, that's another on a growing list of Whitehouse's injured impact players. Junior safety Justin Dunning (knee), senior running back Vincent Dunning (knee), and senior receiver Coleman Patterson (collarbone) are already out. The Dunnings are out for the season, while Patterson's availability depends on how far Whitehouse advances.
No. 3 Whitehouse 55, John Tyler 54
Wildcat Stadium, Whitehouse
John Tyler -- 14 14 13 13 -- 54
Whitehouse -- 12 21 15 7 -- 55
JT -- Jeremy Wilson 70 run (Perez good) -- 10:44
WHI -- Jake Parker 70 pass from Patrick Mahomes (kick failed) -- 7:35
WHI -- Jaylon Dews 7 pass from Mahomes (run failed) -- 4:17
JT -- Geovari McCollister 3 run (kick good) -- 1:56
WHI -- Mahomes 1 run (kick good) -- 8:17
JT -- Rodney Bendy 32 pass from McCollister (good kick) -- 8:17
WHI -- Shemar Smith 1 run (kick good) -- 3:51
WHI -- Parker 8 pass from Mahomes (kick good) -- 1:50
JT -- Wilson 18 pass from McCollister (kick good) -- 0:00
WHI -- Eric Munoz 16 pass from Mahomes (good kick) -- 8:07
JT -- Dyran McDuff 1 run (kick failed) -- 4:47
WHI -- Ryan Cheatham 5 pass from Mahomes (Mahomes run) -- 3:25
JT -- McCollister 3 run (kick good) -- 1:51
JT -- Nick Cain 12 pass from McCollister (kick good) -- 5:39
WHI -- Mahomes 14 run (kick good) -- 1:49
JT -- McCollister 13 run (pass failed) -- 0:59
Total yards 437 517
Rushes-Yards 41-193 33-126
Pass yards 244 391
Comp.-Att.-Int. 17-27-1 24-43-1
Penalties-Yards 9-67 10-106
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Punts-Avg. 5-37.4 4-40.3
RUSHING -- John Tyler: Jeremy Wilson 8-130, Geovari McCollister 27-64, Dyran McDuff 3-8, Nick Cain 2-(2), TEAM 1-(-7). Whitehouse: Patrick Mahomes 18-85, Shemar Smith 6-29, Dominique Hollie 3-10, Tre' Staples 3-9, Eric Munoz 1-1, TEAM 2-(-8).
PASSING -- John Tyler: Geovari McCollister 17-27-1 244. Whitehouse: Patrick Mahomes 24-43-1 391.
RECEIVING -- John Tyler: Rodney Bendy 7-100, Nick Cain 5-80, Jeremy Wilson 3-40, Duntavion Gross 2-24. Whitehouse: Eric Munoz 6-74, Ryan Cheatham 6-55, Jake Parker 3-104, Jaylon Dews 2-62, Dominique Hollie 2-30, Drew Smith 2-14, Tre' Staples 2-13, Shemar Smith 1-44.