No. 5 Whitehouse Withstands Furious Comeback + Holds Off Chapel Hill, 42-34
TYLER -- The phrase "it's a marathon, not a sprint" doesn't apply to the game of football very often, but it was certainly an apt descriptor of Thursday night's matchup between Whitehouse and Chapel Hill.
Behind the arm of senior standout quarterback Patrick Mahomes, fifth-ranked Whitehouse raced to a 35-point lead late in the first half but had to hold for dear life to secure its 42-34 victory over rival Chapel Hill in the opener of the Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic at Rose Stadium.
The Wildcats (2-0) led Chapel Hill 35-0 with 3:15 remaining in the opening half before the Bulldogs (1-1) twice pulled to within one touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"I really thought that it was gonna be a really tight ball game early and I honestly think that in the end we would be better conditioned because we just have the numbers," said Whitehouse coach Adam Cook. "But they were better conditioned.
"That 35, that little pad right there sure helped us out."
Joseph Clark's 6-yard touchdown run cut the Whitehouse lead to 42-34 with 2:50 remaining. The Wildcats recovered Chapel Hill's onside-kick attempt, but fumbled two plays later, giving the Bulldogs new life. But sophomore Reggie King, who was forced into quarterbacking duties after starter Andrew Black injured his finger on the previous scoring drive, was intercepted by Whitehouse junior cornerback Isaiah Burton to seal the win.
It was one of four Chapel Hill turnovers on the night, but the Bulldogs' first of the second half.
"They will fight tooth-and-nail for 48 minutes every single week," Chapel Hill coach Thomas Sitton said of his team. "I'm disappointed that we lost the game, but to see the effort and see the heart in a group of kids in their second ballgame of the year, it gives us a lot of promise and gives us a chance to know we're going to end up getting things fixed and go on to play some good football this year."
Mahomes finished 33-of-48 passing for 395 yards with all four touchdown throws coming in the first half. He also rushed for 39 yards, which included a 3-yard scoring run that gave Whitehouse a 42-27 lead with 8:56 remaining.
"Pat came out and he's humming and he's doing a lot of good things for us offensively," Cook said. "Overall I thought he did good. That last touchdown we had, he had some big, key runs in that (drive). That helped out whenever he was able to run the ball like that. Pat did a good job tonight."
Chapel Hill controlled the ball in the second half, running 48 plays to Whitehouse's 28. As a result, Mahomes had just five completions for 28 yards in the final two quarters.
"We were getting stopped pretty often and they were kinda taking control of the clock, which is something we never like … when we can't be on the field," Mahomes said.
Despite managing just two sacks for the game, Chapel Hill's defensive linemen Keith Minor, Shaq Warren and Kevone Kennedy applied a steady pass rush to Mahomes, especially in the second half.
"Down-in, down-out they were relentless," Sitton said of his defensive linemen. "They kept on fighting, they kept on giving great effort. I feel like they really got after (Whitehouse's) run game and put some good pressure on (Mahomes) to kinda get the ball out of his hands. But I was extremely proud of those three guys; they really stepped up and were great senior leaders tonight."
Minor and Warren both start on the Chapel Hill offensive line as well, which made their defensive pressure in the second half even more impressive.
"They had a great pass rush," Mahomes said of Chapel Hill. "I know those dudes go both ways on the offensive and defensive line, so they're in great condition. They were pretty much on me all night. It's gonna be an eye-opener to kinda go back and look at why they were getting through, and make sure we make improvements."
Facing a 35-0 deficit, Chapel Hill used a 49-yard run by senior Wesley Thompson to set up Black's 24-yard touchdown pass to Clark, who leaked out of the backfield on a wheel route.
The Bulldogs forced Whitehouse into a quick three-and-out, and again used a big gain on the ground -- this time a 38-yard run from sophomore Ja'Braylon Franklin -- to get things going. A pass interference penalty on Whitehouse gave the Bulldogs and first-and-goal, and Black ran it in from 8 yards on a zone-read option, cutting Whitehouse's lead to 35-14 with 1:04 remaining in the half.
"We were down (35-0) at that point and I thought a few heads were going to drop, but those two scores right before half … it showed us what we can do when we play disciplined and do the things that we need to do on the football field," Sitton said. "It really gave us some momentum and helped us come out that second half and play 24 minutes of hard, tough football."
Chapel Hill's second drive of the third quarter consisted of 10 plays -- seven on the ground -- and ended with a Black 1-yard run. The Bulldogs missed the PAT and trailed 35-20 with 7:32 to go in the third. Two possessions later, the Bulldogs traveled 71 yards in 11 plays, cutting Whitehouse's lead to 35-27 with 11:30 remaining in the fourth on another 1-yard run by Black.
Black completed 18-of-37 pass attempts for 174 yards and two interceptions, but ran 15 times for 62 yards and three touchdowns.
"(Chapel Hill was) getting in unbalanced (formations) and we were having a tough time getting over," Cook said. "Honestly what I think it was, was just our kids being able to think whenever they were tired."
It took Whitehouse's offense one play to take a 7-0 lead. Following Burton's 62-yard return on the game's opening kickoff, Mahomes found a wide-open Jake Parker down the sideline for a 38-yard touchdown. Coleman Patterson's 22-yard scoring reception came after Whitehouse linebacker Reggie Long intercepted Black, and made it 14-0 midway through the first.
Savian Lacy's second-quarter interception gave the ball back to Whitehouse, which built a three-touchdown lead on a 69-yard scoring strike from Mahomes to Parker, who finished with eight catches for 162 yards. Whitehouse went up 28-0 on a 4-yard pass from Mahomes to Patterson.
Jaylon Dews led Whitehouse with 10 receptions for 130 yards, while Patterson added eight catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
"We started out great, executing well off the stuff they were giving us," Mahomes said. "They were kinda giving us the quick game. They were manning up on the outside and I knew I could take advantage of that. We have four great receivers, and two on the outside that if they're manned up, I know they can make plays. We took advantage of that really early."
The lead swelled to 35 points on Vincent Dunning's 13-yard scoring run with 3:15 remaining until halftime.
It was the last touchdown Whitehouse scored until the fourth quarter.
"I thought early on those first few (Whitehouse) drives, there were several plays throughout those series … we were that close to making a play," Sitton said. "(Whitehouse) is just so talented over there, they'd make us miss and hit us with a big one. (Mahomes) is definitely one of the better quarterbacks that I've ever coached against. His ability to extend a play after things kinda break down, it's hard to defend it."
There were a couple of key injures in the fourth quarter. Sitton said Black suffered a significant laceration on one of the fingers of his throwing hand.
And Whitehouse junior safety Justin Dunning left early in the fourth after suffering an apparent knee injury.
"Not sure what it is," Cook said of Justin Dunning's injury. "The doctor seemed to feel really good about it, and said that we may look at an MRI tomorrow, but he felt pretty good about it. So I don't know. We'll just have to watch it and see."
Chapel Hill's road doesn't get much easier next week as the Bulldogs face Carthage, the state's top-ranked team in Class 3A, on the road next Friday. Whitehouse is also on the road at Sulphur Springs the same night.
No. 5 Whitehouse 42, Chapel Hill 34
Trinity Mother Frances Classic
Rose Stadium, Tyler
Chapel Hill 0 14 6 14 -- 34
Whitehouse 14 21 0 7 -- 42
WHI--Jake Parker 38 pass from Patrick Mahomes (Travis Blackburn kick), 11:43.
WHI--Coleman Patterson 22 pass from Mahomes (Blackburn kick), 5:01.
WHI--Parker 69 pass from Mahomes (Blackburn kick), 10:10.
WHI--Patterson 6 pass from Mahomes (Blackburn kick), 6:28.
WHI--Vincent Dunning 13 run (Blackburn kick), 3:15.
CH--Joseph Clark 24 pass from Andrew Black (Johnny Bonilla kick), 2:34.
CH--Black 8 run (Bonilla kick), 1:04.
CH--Black 1 run (kick failed), 7:32.
CH--Black 1 run (Bonilla kick), 11:30.
WHI--Mahomes 3 run (Blackburn kick), 8:56.
CH--Clark 6 run (Bonilla kick), 2:50.
FIrst Downs 24 23
Total Yards 418 483
Rushes-Yards 45-244 29-88
Passing Yards 174 395
Comp.-Att.-Int. 18-38-3 33-48-0
Punts-Avg. 5-42.2 4-34.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-Yards 7-45 5-45
RUSHING--Chapel Hill, Wesley Thompson 12-82, Andrew Black 15-62, Joseph Clark 9-49, Ja'Braylon Franklin 6-49, Jesse Mumphrey 1-7, Reggie King 1-(-1), Jeffery Minor 1-(-5). Whitehouse, Vincent Dunning 12-45, Patrick Mahomes 9-39, Isaiah Burton 1-5, Dominique Hollie 4-3, Shemar Smith 3-(-4).
PASSING--Chapel Hill, Black 18-37-2--174, King 0-1-1--0. Whitehouse, Mahomes 33-48-0--395.
RECEIVING--Chapel Hill, King 7-35, Gabriel Robinson 4-27, Minor 2-32, Zack Walters 2-15, DeUndre Phillips 1-34, Clark 1-24, Lex Heckel 1-7. Whitehouse, Jaylon Dews 10-130, Jake Parker 8-162, Coleman Patterson 8-49, Dunning 3-29, Ryan Cheatham 3-22, Smith 1-3.