Whitehouse Captures Pool + Advances to Saturday’s Division I Championship Bracket At State 7-on-7
COLLEGE STATION -- The Whitehouse Wildcats missed out on an opportunity to sweep its pool during Friday's action at the Division I Texas State 7-on-7 Championships.
But after rolling to a pair of easy wins to begin the day, Whitehouse did enough to advance to Saturday's championship bracket as the No. 1 seed from Pool G.
The Wildcats scored pool-play victories over Cy Fair (38-18) and Copperas Cove (39-26) before dropping a 35-28 decision to San Antonio Alamo Heights in the finale.
Whitehouse begins the single-elimination Round of 32 at 9 a.m. Saturday against Houston Stratford, which finished second in Pool O. The winner will play either Mesquite Horn or Houston Langham Creek at 10:15 a.m.
The Wildcats' first half against Cy Fair left something to be desired as Whitehouse entered halftime facing a 12-6 deficit. But a strong defensive showing and precision passing by senior quarterback Jackson Allen over the game's final 20 minutes was more than enough to overcome the "first-game jitters."
"We just had some start-up issues," Allen said. "We just had to fix things up and settle down, and once we did that we started turning the mindset."
Whitehouse senior Justin Dunning, a 2015 safety committed to Texas A&M, played linebacker almost exclusively after his stellar performance at The Opening earlier in the week in Oregon. His interception in the end zone led to the Wildcats' final touchdown vs. Cy Fair.
"We came out lazy at the beginning, and that's on us," said Dunning, who arrived in College Station after flying into Houston from Oregon at 6 a.m. Friday. "But we came out in the second half ready to play. If we come out ready to play every time, that's the result you're gonna get."
The Whitehouse offense had little trouble in its first two games as its deep corps of receivers gave Allen plenty of options down the field.
"It's always great having a full squad of receivers, not just the starters, but even the back-ups," Allen said. "We've got about six or seven athletes we can throw the ball to. I like to spread it around because the defense has no clue what I'm about to do next."
Seven different pass catchers were on the receiving end of touchdowns in Whitehouse's three pool-play games, led by senior inside receiver Eric Munoz, who finished with six.
The Wildcats excelled even without the services of starting wideout Trent Williams, who was sidelined by an injury.
"Our starting receiver (Trent Williams) is out right now, so the freshmen and sophomores are doing a really good job coming in and getting experience," Allen said.
Whitehouse 2015 cornerback Nate Brooks, a North Texas commit, anchored an active defensive attack. The Wildcats ended the day with five interceptions -- three coming from senior Vernon Polk.
"We played balls to the wall," Brooks said. "Our corners really stepped up; some of them are kinda young, but a lot of them stepped up. Our safeties and (Dunning) at middle linebacker really showed up."
- For complete Division I pool-play results, click here.
- For complete Division I championship bracket, click here.