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Randy McFarlin’s Tenure Comes to End at Whitehouse After 63-56 Shootout Loss to Wylie East

GARLAND — Randy McFarlin brought his team around him on the field, waited for the cheers from Wylie East’s side of the stadium to subside, and gave his final speech as head football coach at Whitehouse High School.

“You played your hearts out. That’s all you could do. And I love you all,” McFarlin told his Wildcats after a 63-56 loss to Wylie East on Friday night at Homer B. Johnson Stadium in a Class 4A Division II area round game.

McFarlin’s contract was not renewed in the offseason, leaving this season as his last at Whitehouse. After a 9-1 regular season and an incredible turnaround of a once-hapless football program, his tenure came to an end following a historic shootout that saw nearly 1,300 total yards of offense and two highlight-reel plays that turned the tide of the game.

Wylie East (9-3) will face Mesquite Poteet next week in the regional round. Whitehouse ended its season at 10-2 after having reached the postseason seven straight years under McFarlin.

Neither team held a lead bigger than 11, and that belonged to Whitehouse early in the second quarter before it vanished. The teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 49, seemingly allowing for the cliche, “Whoever has the ball last will win,” to come true.

It was nearly the case — Wylie East’s Kevon Mack scored on a 6-yard run with 41 seconds left to put the Raiders up 63-56. Whitehouse started from its own 3, but only managed to get near midfield on the final play on a string of laterals in hopes of a miracle.

Mack’s touchdown was set up by an incredible diving catch by Wylie East receiver Marcell Ateman, who dove for the ball, only to have it roll off his back and into his arms on the Whitehouse 6-yard line. It capped an 11-catch, 192-yard night for Ateman, who also scored three touchdowns, giving him eight over his last two playoff games.

“Look at what we experienced, and look at what you did,” McFarlin told his team after the game. “I want you guys to get right back here next year.”

Considering Whitehouse’s offense and Wylie East’s 70-point performance against Sulphur Springs last week, a shootout was to be expected. Neither team disappointed, combining for 31 points in the first quarter and they went into the locker room at halftime tied at 35-35.

Wylie East looked to have a halftime lead in hand, but one of the plays of the year gave Whitehouse the tying touchdown. Wildcats quarterback Patrick Mahomes airlifted a Hail Mary to Dylan Cantrell, who leaped to catch the ball near the Wylie East 10. Completely surrounded, he lateraled the ball to Dunning, who went up the left sideline for a stunning touchdown.

Mahomes, who will return his senior season as one of the top quarterback recruits in East Texas, finished his season with a dazzling performance: he completed 22 of 39 for 445 yards and four touchdowns. Two went to Ryan Cheatham, whose only catches were for touchdowns. Cantrell caught six passes for 177 yards and Jake Parker had eight grabs for 114 yards and a touchdown.

All performances were outdone by Wylie East running back Jabari Anderson, who constantly extended Raiders drives on the ground. The senior running back, with no college offers, ran the ball an astounding 49 times for 384 yards and two touchdowns.

Wylie East quarterback Garrett McCain, who threw seven touchdowns last week against Sulphur Springs, could only find Ateman early, but it worked. Ten of McCain’s first 11 completions were to the Oklahoma State commit. McCain finished 13 of 29 for 227 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

The Raiders ran 97 plays to Whitehouse’s 68, using Anderson every chance possible to lengthen drives. Wylie East finished with 41 first downs and 677 total yards of offense, compared to 609 yards for Whitehouse.

You can watch the play at the end of the first half right here, thanks to Joe Terrell at KLTV Channel 7 in Tyler:

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