[By Anthony Hawthorne, Special to ETSN.fm]

FORNEY -- The combination of freezing temperatures, gusty winds and steady rain gave the Whitehouse Wildcats a chance to show their ability to run the football.

They did just that.

Whitehouse rolled up 377 yards on the ground, Patrick Mahomes eclipsed the 4,000-yard passing mark on the season and the Wildcats defeated Sulphur Springs 38-14 at Forney’s City Bank Stadium in a Class 4A Division II Region II area-round showdown.

Sulphur Springs defenders Derrick Ingram and Tyler Rosamond bring down Whitehouse's Ryan Cheatham during their Class 4A Division II Region II area-round playoff Friday in Forney. (Jaime R. Carrero, ETSN.fm)

The Wildcats improved to a school-record 12-0 and advanced to play Mesquite Poteet, a 42-7 winner over Dallas Woodrow Wilson, next Friday at 1 p.m. in Allen in the regional semifinals.

Shemar Smith lead the way on the ground for Whitehouse, picking up 145 yards on just eight carries, which included a 57-yard score early in the third quarter to spark a 17-0 run that put the game away.

Mahomes added 100 yards on 13 carries, and Ryan Cheatham, lining up in a jumbo package with four players in the backfield, rushed for 69 yards and a score on 12 carries to go along with six catches for 61 yards.

“We knew with the weather conditions like they were we wanted to run the ball," said Whitehouse coach Adam Cook. “Our jumbo package, we usually work Ryan (Cheatham) in there, we looked at running other people other in there but I’m glad we went with Ryan. He’s a tough kid, he’s pitched in weather like this. Just a great game tonight.”

Despite giving up 263 yards on the ground, the Whitehouse defense was impressive when it mattered most as Sulphur Springs was 0-for-7 on fourth down including 0-for-3 inside the Whitehouse 25.

Whitehouse's Shemar Smith runs upfield during his team's 38-14 win over Sulphur Springs in their Class 4A Division II Region II area-round playoff Friday in Forney. (Jaime R. Carrero, ETSN.fm)

“Defense played really well, defensive line again I thought did well," Cook said. "At the end I thought Dillon Klein (in place of Reggie Long) stepped up huge for us. The thing we kept telling them at the half is if we can shut down the run of (Ivery) and (Pryor) they’re gonna have to throw it and we felt like our odds were pretty good if they had to throw it."

Just a week after struggling to get in sync offensively, Mahomes and the offense seemed to click from the start, despite the poor conditions.

Mahomes led the Wildcats down the field on the game's opening possession, completing 4 of 5 passes for 61 yards, including a 30-yard strike to Jake Parker, one of two times that connection found the end zone. Parker finished with four catches for 146 yards.

Mahomes and Parker connected on Whitehouse’s next score, this time with the aid of a bit of luck.

After starting at their own 19, Mahomes scrambled and found Parker down the sideline with Sulphur Springs defender Melroy Givens deflecting the ball into the air and Parker grabbing it and taking it to the house from 81 yards away for a 14-0 lead.

Whitehouse's Ryan Cheatham plows into the end zone against Sulphur Springs during their Class 4A Division II Region II area-round playoff Friday in Forney. (Jaime R. Carrero, ETSN.fm)

Sulphur Springs quarterback Larry Pryor, who struggled throughout the night with the wind, completed his first pass of the night late in the second quarter after an 0-for-10 start, setting up Willy Ivery for runs of 24 and10 to the end zone to cut the deficit in half at 14-7.

Whitehouse added a score just before the break with Cheatham finding the end zone from 2 yards away to put the halftime score at 21-7.

Sulphur Springs opened the second half with a five-play, 64-yard drive with Pryor rushing for 46 yards, including a score from a yard out, closing the gap to 21-14.

It was a costly drive as Ivery, who finished the night with 160 yards on 22 carries, hurt an ankle and went to the locker room. He retuned two series later but left after one carry, clearly unable to move well.

Smith’s 57-yard score on the first play of the drive following Pryor’s TD provided the answer Whitehouse needed to regain momentum as it moved the ball and maintained possession throughout the second half.

With Sulphur Springs (8-4) unable to move the ball successfully through the air, Dominique Hollie’s touchdown run from 10 yards out was the dagger, pushing the lead to 35-14 in the middle of the third.

Colby Crim added a 25-yard field goal to close out the scoring.

Whitehouse's Patrick Mahomes looks for a target under pressure from Sulphur Springs' Dedric Smith and Derrick Ingram in their Class 4A Division II Region II area-round playoff Friday in Forney. (Jaime R. Carrero, ETSN.fm)
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Class 4A Division II Region II Area Playoff

No. 3 Whitehouse 38, Sulphur Springs 14

City Bank Stadium, Forney

Whitehouse                 7   14   14    3    --   38
Sulphur Springs           0     7    7    0     --  14
First Quarter
WHI--Jake Parker 30 pass from Patrick Mahomes (Travis Blackburn kick), 9:48.
Second Quarter
WHI--Parker 81 pass from Mahomes (Colby Crim kick), 10:34.
SS--Willy Ivery 10 run (Ryan Watson kick), 4:03.
WHI--Ryan Cheatham 2 run (Blackburn kick), 1:37.
Third Quarter
SS--Larry Pryor 1 run (Watson kick), 10:39.
WHI--Shemar Smith 57 run (Crim kick), 10:27.
WHI--Dominique Hollie 10 run (Blackburn kick), 6:47.
Fourth Quarter
WHI--FG Crim 25, 3:23.

                                        WHI            SS
First Downs                           25            19
Total Yards                           585         363
Rushes-Yards                  47-377     45-263
Passing Yards                       208         100
Comp.-Att.-Int.               11-26-0      6-28-0
Punts-Avg.                       2-28.5      4-38.0
Fumbles-Lost                         2-1         0-0
Penalties-Yards                    8-60        6-65

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Whitehouse, Shemar Smith 8-145, Patrick Mahomes 13-100, Ryan Cheatham 12-69, Dominique Hollie 10-59, Tre' Staples 4-4. Sulphur Springs, Willy Ivery, 22-160, Larry Pryor 17-93, Tyler Rosamond 6-10.
PASSING--Whitehouse, Mahomes 11-26-0--208. Sulphur Springs, Pryor 6-28-0--100.
RECEIVING--Whitehouse, Cheatham 6-61, Jake Parker 4-146, Eric Munoz 1-1. Sulphur Springs, Dillon Carpenter 3-54, C.J. Stephens 1-24, Alex Burney 1-17, Rosamond 1-5.