MESQUITE -- The Whitehouse Wildcats, like always, put up the yards and points in their Class 4A Division II Region II bi-district playoff against Ennis on Friday night.

But the biggest play of the Wildcats' 42-32 victory at Mesquite Memorial Stadium came from a defense that's been making things happen at key moments all year long.

Clinging to a three-point lead with 20 seconds remaining, Whitehouse defender Christopher Reese sacked Ennis quarterback Brandon Adams on fourth down, forcing a fumble that was scooped up by teammate Brannon Beaton, who did the rest by rumbling 62 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.

"I told Chris during the timeout that when they play-fake, just go ahead and sack the quarterback," said Whitehouse coach Randy McFarlin. "I challenged all the guys, "Which one of you guys is going to step up and make a play to win the ballgame?' It was Chris Reese and Brannon Beaton ... what a great way to end a bi-district championship."

Whitehouse (10-1), which tied a single-season school record for wins, faces Wylie East (8-3) in the area round at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at Garland's Homer B. Johnson Stadium. Ennis' resurgent season concluded at 8-3.

Wildcats quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 328 yards and four touchdowns on the night, including a highlight-reel, 51-yard, Hail-Mary touchdown as time expired in the second half.

Mahomes avoided a heavy rush by reversing field and heaving a bomb to the 2-yard line. Receiver Dylan Cantrell leapt high in the air for the catch, then extended it across the goal line, giving Whitehouse a 28-26 halftime lead.

"I just tried to keep the play alive as long as I could," Mahomes said. "I saw Dylan manned up in the end zone and every time he's manned up I throw it up to him. It was huge, it kind of got the momentum back to us."

Added Cantrell, who finished with a game-high nine receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns.: "I knew I was going to be able to make a play on the ball. I hadn't looked behind me, so I wasn't sure where I was at. I actually thought I was further out than that. When I caught it I thought I came up short, but when I looked up I was laying in the end zone."

The half-ending score came moments after Mahomes threw an interception that was returned 68 yards by Jahshawn Johnson down to the Whitehouse 2. Brandon Adams' 2-yard TD toss to Cshamari Reed gave Ennis a 26-21 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the half.

Mahomes also lost a fumble on Whitehouse's first drive of the second half, and it was returned by Malik Jenkins 39 yards for a score that put Ennis ahead, 32-28.

"Every time I make a turnover I just try to look past it," Mahomes said. "I can come make a play in the next series. I kind of trust my arm too much sometimes, knowing when to throw it away and knowing when to take a sack."

Mahomes regrouped and led Whitehouse on the eventual game-winning drive early in the fourth quarter. Jaylon Dews' 3-yard touchdown catch capped a 13-play, 77-yard drive that put Whitehouse in front, 35-32 with 9:50 remaining.

Much of the heavy lifting on the drive was done by running back Vincent Dunning, who finished with 107 yards on 13 carries along with two catches for 33 yards and a TD.

Whitehouse struggled to slow down Terence WIlliams and the powerful Ennis ground game in the first half. Williams, who finished with 192 yards and a touchdown, churned out 130 in the first two quarters.

But the Wildcats were able to contain Ennis' backs in the second half, limiting them to 132 yards after allowing 233 in the first half.

"It was simple ... they were running a little cross-buck sweep and our outside linebacker wasn't coming and spilling it," McFarlin said. "We put another kid in there ... to spill that cross-buck. That stopped the run in the second half for the most part."

Whitehouse, if it can win next week's matchup with Wylie East, will tie the school mark for the furthest postseason advancement. The Wildcats reached the regional semifinals in 2006.

"On offense we did enough to win the football game," McFarlin said. "We had some errors tonight and we've got to cut those out. This group wanted it ... and they wanted it bad."


Class 4A Division II Region II Bi-District Playoff
At Mesquite Memorial Stadium
Whitehouse 42, Ennis 32
Ennis                13   13    6    0    --   32
Whitehouse       14   14    0   14   --   42
First Quarter
WHI--Vincent Dunning 21 pass from Patrick Mahomes (Destin Wilkins kick), 9:32.
ENN--Jahshawn Johnson 66 run (Alex Sanchez kick), 7:54.
WHI--Dylan Cantrell 10 pass from Mahomes (Wilkins kick), 1:49.
ENN--Terence Williams 52 run (run failed), :48.
Second Quarter
ENN--Nick Gabriel 2 run (pass failed), 5:33.
WHI--Dominique Hollie 3 run (Wilkins kick), 3:45.
ENN--Cshamari Reed 2 pass from Brandon Adams (Sanchez kick), :16.
WHI--Cantrell 51 pass from Mahomes (Wilkins kick), :00.
Third Quarter
ENN--Malik Jenkins 39 fumble return (run failed), 9:20.
Fourth Quarter
WHI--Jaylon Dews 3 pass from Mahomes (Wilkins kick), 9:50.
WHI--Brannon Beaton 62 fumble return (Wilkins kick), :07.

                                      ENN              WHI
First Downs                         19                 28
Rushes-Yards                53-365          33-143
Passing Yards                      43               328
Comp.-Att.-Int.             11-17-0         23-39-1
Punts-Avg.                     2-40.5           3-33.3
Fumbles-Lost                       2-1               1-1
Penalties-Yards                  9-70              3-21

RUSHING--Ennis, Terence Williams 26-192, Nick Gabriel 17-83, Jahshawn Johnson 1-66, Brandon Adams 7-15, Devin Smith 1-4. Whitehouse, Vincent Dunning 13-107, Dominique Hollie 5-13, Patrick Mahomes 10-10, Colby Campbell 3-8, Isaiah Burton 1-4, Roy Lee White 1-1.
PASSING--Ennis, Adams 11-17-0--43. Whitehouse, Mahomes 23-39-1--328.
RECEIVING--Ennis, Williams 3-12, Smith 3-6, Marcus Daggs 2-7, Hunter Isom 1-9, Donta Thompson 1-7, Cshamari Reed 1-2. Whitehouse, Dylan Cantrell 9-150, Jake Parker 5-67, Coleman Patterson 3-64, Jaylon Dews 3-17, Dunning 2-33, Ryan Cheatham 1-(-3).