Players at large-sized schools usually take a ribbing from their district foes even when they come out victorious against smaller schools in the non-district portion of the schedule.

Whitehouse's guys, Class 5A players, just might catch some uninformed flack if they manage to topple Carthage from Class 4A Division I at home on Sept. 15. But maybe, this one time, proponents of the theory the larger school should always be better will still have to give the Wildcats props.

Carthage is no joke.

Carthage at Whitehouse is what we view as the sixth-best game of the 2017 regular season. It's an important gauging contest for both programs.

The Bulldogs are the defending Class 4A Division I state champions and are favorites to repeat this season. Whitehouse managed to get some of its shine back with its first playoff appearance since 2013 and brings back 17 starters from its breakthrough team.

Whitehouse's defense, which returns eight starters, will get tested by Carthage.

Whitehouse WR Cameron Cantrell (© Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Bulldogs head coach Scott Surratt owns arguably the most complex playbook in the state. More than that, he currently has the athletes to execute said playbook.

Keaontay Ingram, a Texas verbal commitment and the state's top-ranked senior running back, will be a massive challenge even for a Wildcats program that prides itself on defensive front play. In this game, Ingram will be pitted up against Texas State defensive line target Trevor Lawrence and a unit at large that allowed 22 points per game against mostly 5A competition a season ago.

Carthage has an incredibly complex system of route running and quarterback reads, but the Wildcats' own scheme isn't far off the beat.

Whitehouse head coach Adam Cook had Patrick Mahomes II so well-prepared for the college level that Mahomes began starting games for Texas Tech as a true freshman in 2014.

Speaking of Texas Tech, Wildcats junior receiver Cameron Cantrell committed to the Red Raiders program earlier this summer. Cantrell will face senior Carthage cornerback Mekhi Colbert.

Many experts think Colbert belongs at that recruiting level on the heels of a breakout junior season.

We could go on and on with these matchups.

The point is, bigger isn't always better. These two teams, high-end teams in their own classifications, appear evenly matched.

This game will make both teams better. And both squads have big aspirations for the upcoming season.

ETSN.fm’s Top 25 Games of 2017