Several Teams Enjoying Surprising Starts to the Season
There have already been a handful of surprises -- good and bad -- through two weeks of the high school football season.
Some teams have tossed aside preseason notions and established themselves as forces to be reckoned with for the rest of the year.
In the category of pleasant surprises, Whitehouse (2-0) has begun with a pair of convincing wins over Hallsville (35-18) and Chapel Hill (38-14). It's a far cry from last season when the Wildcats began 0-3 and allowed 183 points to their first three opponents.
What makes Whitehouse's start even more impressive are the circumstances under which the program is operating. Last spring, Whitehouse ISD board members took the athletic director position away from head coach Randy McFarlin, the school's all-time winningest coach.
Unless something unforeseen occurs, this will be McFarlin's last season in Whitehouse. Perhaps it's serving as added motivation for Whitehouse players and coaches.
Juniors Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Cheatham have split time at quarterback with great success. Mahomes has thrown for 523 yards and six touchdowns, while Cheatham has gone for 202 yards and two TDs through the air. Cheatham is also second on the team in rushing with 78 yards.
The Wildcats host Sulphur Springs (1-1) on Friday night.
Another team turning heads in the area is Bullard (2-0), which has blown away its first two opponents. The Panthers have outscored Quitman and White Oak by a combined score of 110-12.
Most everyone left out Bullard when discussing District 16-3A, a.k.a. the District of Doom. But with the way the Panthers are clicking on both sides of the ball, the league may be even deeper than everyone realized.
Senior quarterback Colton Mebane has been the catalyst for Bullard with 448 yards and six touchdowns through the air. Fellow senior Haden Bryant is enjoying a fast start to the season as well with 12 receptions for 280 yards and five TDs.
Bullard travels to Diboll (1-1) on Friday.
Staying in 16-3A, the Gladewater Bears (2-0) have a pair of nice wins on their non-district resume. Gladewater opened with a solid 31-14 win over 2A power Daingerfield followed by last week's 35-34 come-from-behind thriller over Pittsburg.
When the UIL's biennial realignment and reclassification took shape back in February, Gladewater like Bullard was an afterthought in the District Doom. Now, it seems Gladewater is primed to jump up and steal a playoff spot from one of the league's big four -- Gilmer, Kilgore, Henderson or Chapel Hill.
The Bears have done it by running the ball with the best of them. Senior quarterback Derrick Daniels is leading the area in rushing with 373 yards and five touchdowns on just 37 attempts. Teammate Tyler Price isn't far behind with 337 yards and three TDs.
Gladewater plays host to Athens (1-1) this week.
Rusk only won four games last season, but qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2006. And the Eagles (2-0) have picked up where they left off with impressive wins over Terrell (47-6) and Crockett (35-13).
Senior two-way standout Chaston Bennett has been one of the area's most impactful players through the first two weeks. He has rushed for 361 yards and three touchdowns while averaging an astounding 15 yards per carry. On defense, he already has two interceptions.
Rusk hopes to keep it going this Friday at Eustace (1-1).
Sabine won two games total in the previous two seasons, but the Cardinals (2-0) have already reached that plateau in 2012 with victories over Ore City (34-18) and Rains (36-20).
Helping the Cardinals to their 2-0 start has been senior running back Qwaylen Chumley, who has carried the ball 35 times for 263 yards and five touchdowns.
Sabine shoots for three in a row Friday at Waskom (1-0).