WHITEHOUSE -- Whitehouse had trouble finishing against John Tyler in the 2012 regular-season finale, losing a 24-point lead and the ultimately the District 16-4A championship.

The Wildcats experienced difficulty in closing out Chapel Hill three weeks ago after being staked to a 35-point, first-half lead.

Finishing wasn't an issue for Class 4A No. 3 Whitehouse on Friday night.

The Wildcats erased a 19-point, early-third quarter deficit and scored the final 43 points in an impressive 63-39 victory over Class 3A No. 1 Carthage in Whitehouse's final non-district game of the year.

Whitehouse running back Shemar Smith looks for room to run during the Wildcats' 63-39 win over Carthage on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in Whitehouse. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Whitehouse (5-0) rattled off 22 points on just nine plays in 3:10 to vault back in front for good at 42-39. Wildcats quarterback and Texas Tech commit Patrick Mahomes, who finished with 395 yards and seven touchdown passes, hit sophomore running back Shemar Smith out of the backfield for a 67-yard score, and connected with senior receiver Jaylon Dews for a touchdowns of 55 and 23 yards in the third-quarter scoring spree.

"I can throw a short, little out-pass and we can go score," Mahomes said. "It's awesome to have playmakers like that on your team. If the O-line is blocking for me, I can throw all day and they did great tonight."

Carthage (4-1) looked to be in complete command after scoring on its first possessions of the second half to take a 39-20 lead.

"They were way better in person than they were on film," said Whitehouse senior linebacker Jamal Kennedy, of Carthage's offense.

But after Blake Bogenschutz's 4-yard touchdown to O'Keeron Rutherford, Carthage's offense went silent. The Bulldogs managed just 123 yards over the game's final 21 minutes and committed two turnovers that led to one Whitehouse touchdown.

Carthage quarterback Blake Bogenschutz throws while being pressured by Whitehouse's Savian Lacy during their game Friday night in Whitehouse. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

"We were just finishing; we've been doing this since Aug. 5," said Whitehouse senior inside linebacker Reggie Long. "The coaches preach to us to just finish. We were just being more aggressive in getting after the quarterback."

Added Cook: "The fact that these kids didn't give up and that they continued to battle back … I told the defense 'we gotta get some turnovers.' And I think that's the key with this defense, putting the pressure on other team and finally we're going to crack through."

Cook credited defensive line coach Jerod Brown for putting his defensive front in position to succeed in the second half, but added that his players deserved a lot of the credit.

"The kids, somewhere they dug down deep," Cook said. "The kids decided, 'hey, we're gonna go get this.' That's what we needed .. that kind of test before district."

Whitehouse scored three more times in the fourth quarter to put the game away, turning what was a 19-point deficit into a convincing 24-point victory.

"We did make a statement," said Mahomes, who added 84 rushing on 11 carries. "To know that we can be down to a great team like Carthage and come back and win like that kinda shows where we're at right now. Hopefully we can come out and beat teams like that in the playoffs."

Whitehouse quarterback Patrick Mahomes fights for yardage during the Wildcats' 63-39 win over Carthage on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in Whitehouse. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)