Class 4A Division II Region II
Area Playoff

Sulphur Springs Wildcats (8-3)

vs.

No. 3 Whitehouse Wildcats (11-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

City Bank Stadium, Forney

 

Coaches

  • Sulphur Springs: Greg Owens
  • Whitehouse: Adam Cook

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Winner plays Mesquite Poteet or Dallas Wilson in a 4A Division II regional semifinal

 

Playmakers

Sulphur Springs

  • QB Larry Pryor, Jr., 6-1, 185 (163 of 256, 2,562 yards, 26 TDs, 6 INTs; 135 carries, 925 yards, 15 TDs)
  • RB Willy Ivery, Sr., 5-8, 180 (169 carries, 1,514 yards, 26 TDs; 21 catches, 386 yards, 5 TDs)
  • WR Isaiah Lacy, Sr., 5-9, 150 (38 catches, 769 yards, 9 TDs)
  • WR Alex Burney, Sr., 5-8, 165 (45 catches, 658 yards, 8 TDs)
  • LB Dedric Smith, Sr., 5-10, 180 (99 tackles, 9 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass break-up)
  • DE Garrett Hood, Sr., 6-3, 200 (70 tackles, 12 for loss, 5 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 blocked PAT)
  • LB Derick Ingram, Sr., 5-11, 180 (56 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 INT, 1 pass break-up)
  • S Zach Spigner, Jr., 6-0, 180 (67 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 INT, 3 pass break-ups)
  • OL Jess Jenkins, Jr., 6-3, 290
  • OL Austan Davis, Jr., 6-4, 230

 

Whitehouse

  • QB Patrick Mahomes, Sr., 6-3, 200 (committed to Texas Tech; 241 of 409, 3,796 yards, 43 TDs, 4 INTs; 133 carries, 808 yards, 13 TDs)
  • DT Kostin Wallace, Sr., 5-11, 340 (37 tackles, 7 for loss, 3 sacks, 19 QB pressures)
  • WR Jake Parker, Sr., 6-0, 165 (56 catches, 1,189 yards, 8 TDs)
  • WR Jaylon Dews, Sr., 6-0, 160 (42 catches, 573 yards, 11 TDs)
  • RB Shemar Smith, Soph., 5-8, 155 (55 carries, 384 yards, 4 TDs; 19 catches, 327 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB/LB Dominique Hollie, Jr., 6-1, 215 (61 carries, 432 yards, 8 TDs; 6 catches, 87 yards, 2 TDs; 29 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack)
  • CB Nate Brooks, Jr., 5-11, 150 (49 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 4 INTs, 4 pass break-ups)
  • CB Isaiah Burton, Sr., 5-8, 160 (44 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 QB pressures, 1 fumble recovery, 2 INTs, 15 pass break-ups)
  • LB Savian Lacy, Sr. (87 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 1 INT)
  • WR Ryan Cheatham, Sr., 6-2, 185 (46 catches, 498 yards, 8 TDs)

 

Just the facts

  • Sulphur Springs is averaging 45.5 points and 508.6 yards per game.
  • The Wildcats of Sulphur Springs have scored at least 40 points in a game seven times this season, which includes a streak of four straight entering Friday.
  • Sulphur Springs has run 700 plays from scrimmage for an average of eight yards per snap.
  • Sulphur Springs averages 240.1 passing yards per game and 268.5 rushing.
  • The Wildcats of Sulphur Springs have allowed 40 points or more in a game five times this season.
  • Sulphur Springs is giving up 37.4 points per game.
  • In its three losses this season -- to Tyler Lee, Whitehouse and Texas High -- Sulphur Springs was outscored 159-49.
  • Whitehouse is averaging 55.4 points and 562.9 yards per game.
  • The Wildcats of Whitehouse have scored at least 60 points in a game four times this season. Their lowest single-game point total this season is 42.
  • Whitehouse has run 796 plays from scrimmage for an average of 7.8 yards per snap.
  • Whitehouse averages 366.2 passing yards per game and 196.7 rushing.
  • Whitehouse has allowed 21 points or less in a game five times this season.
  • Whitehouse is giving up 26.1 points per game.
  • The average margin of victory for Whitehouse this season is 29.3 points.
  • Whitehouse defeated Sulphur Springs 61-22 during the regular season.
  • Sulphur Springs and Whitehouse have met 25 times since 1986. Sulphur Springs leads the series over that span, 19-6. But the series is 4-4 since 2007.
  • Head coach Greg Owens is 68-29 in his eight seasons at Sulphur Springs.
  • Whitehouse set the school record for wins in a season with last week's bi-district victory.

 

Sulphur Springs QB Larry Pryor. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Whitehouse quarterback Patrick Mahomes vs. Sulphur Springs quarterback Larry Pryor. Two of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the area square off Friday night in Forney. Mahomes, who before this season was considered more of a traditional pocket passer, has increased his rushing output by more than double in his senior year. Mahomes leads his team with more than 800 yards on the ground after going for just 258 last season. He has eclipsed the 100-yard plateau three times on the year, including last week's career-high 213-yard performance.

Sulphur Springs RB Willy Ivery. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

One of the biggest reasons for his success on the ground has been the opposing defense's willingness to keep the middle of the field open while defending the Wildcats' receivers on the perimeter and deep down the field. Another reason for Mahomes' newfound rushing prowess is just his pure athletic ability. When flushed out of the pocket, he is one of the best in the state of extending the play -- either to buy his receivers more time to get open or to do it himself. Then there's his prolific passing ability. Mahomes has thrown for more than 300 yards in a game eight times this season, and has at least two touchdown passes in every game this season. In the regular-season matchup with Sulphur Springs, Mahomes passed for 384 yards and four touchdowns and added 47 yards on the ground.

Whitehouse QB Patrick Mahomes. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

After starting at safety as a sophomore, Pryor took over the reins of Sulphur Springs' uptempo "NASCAR" offense at the beginning of the season and has developed into one of East Texas' best at the quarterback position. His numbers for the season speak for themselves, but it's his performance during Sulphur Springs' current four-game winning streak that has elevated his play from good to great. In his last four games, Pryor has thrown for 1,188 yards and 16 touchdowns, while rushing for 414 yards and nine touchdowns. And a result, Sulphur Springs is averaging 58.5 points over its last four.

Whitehouse WR Jake Parker. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Both quarterbacks will be at the forefront Friday night, and the game could come dow to which quarterback plays the best. Pryor was bottled up by Whitehouse in their game earlier this season, as he was limited to 190 yards and one touchdown passing and just 28 yards on seven rushing attempts. However, that was Pryor's third career start at quarterback and he's made considerable progress since.

Mahomes is coming off his worst passing performance of the season against Arlington Seguin -- 13-of-31, 209 yards, two touchdowns -- but more than made up for it by scoring the game-tying touchdown with a 25-yard scramble on fourth down with 29 seconds remaining in regulation. Pryor had a monster game last week as well, totaling 310 yards and accounting for eight touchdowns in Sulphur Springs' rout of Denison.

Sulphur Springs FS Zach Spigner. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is just as high-scoring as the regular-season encounter, but much more competitive. Whitehouse enters as the clear favorite, but has shown signs of vulnerability in each of the last two weeks. Whitehouse needed a stop on a two-point conversion attempt to defeat John Tyler, 55-54, for the District 16-4A championship in the regular-season finale. And last week, Whitehouse coughed up a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead to Seguin and needed a clutch drive in the final minute to send the game to overtime.

Since these teams met back on Sept. 13, Whitehouse has dealt with several season-ending injuries, most notably to then-leading rusher Vincent Dunning, its second-leading receiver Coleman Patterson and leading tackler Reggie Long. Since a humbling 43-7 loss to eventual 14-4A champion Texas High, there's been no stopping Sulphur Springs, which enters the area round with loads of confidence.