Cuero’s Jordan Whittington Puts on Performance for the Ages
ARLINGTON – Ordinarily, Bruce Garrett’s performance in Friday afternoon’s state championship game would have gone down in history.
Instead, it was merely a footnote.
Cuero senior Jordan Whittington put on a show for the ages, and it was simply too much for Pleasant Grove to overcome in its 40-28 loss in the Class 4A Division II title game at AT&T Stadium.
Whittington set a new state record with 334 rushing yards, and accounted for six touchdowns, helping the Gobblers deny Pleasant Grove a second consecutive championship.
The previous record was 325, set by former Aledo and Texas Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray in 2010.
Garrett ran for 208 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Hawks, but was no match for Whittington’s heroics.
“I’ve been coaching 18 years and never seen a kid take over a game like Jordan did,” said Pleasant Grove coach Josh Gibson. “He’s very humble, he’s an unbelievable athlete when he has the ball in his hands. He is super special, I’m gonna be a big Jordan Whittington fan the rest of my life.”
It was quite the week for Whittington (6-1, 198), who signed with the University of Texas on Wednesday.
“Signing was another dream that came to reality,” Whittington said. “It was special of course but this was the main thing I was worried about.”
Whittington lined up all over the place in the first half – quarterback, slot receiver, outside receiver, running back.
But in the second half, Cuero’s offense was simplified to Whittington taking direct snaps from the wildcat formation.
“I had our conference call with the Fox Sports folks earlier in the week,” said Cuero coach Travis Reeve. “They asked me, ‘do I have a touch count for him.’ I said, ‘well, it depends on the situation.’ In this game here he had the hot hand. Tonight, obviously, he was a man on a mission.”
Whittington actually had five touchdowns negated by either penalty or review. But he was able to score anyway on three of those occasions.
At the end of the first half, Whittington made a leaping grab for what was initially ruled a 26-yard touchdown.
The call was overturned after replay, but Whittington made another spectacular play on the next snap, making a catch and then extending the ball across the goal line as time expired.
That cut Cuero’s deficit to 21-20 at halftime after the Gobblers had trailed 21-7.
“That was a huge play that Jordan made,” Gibson said. “They review it, overturn it, and he goes back and makes It again. All you can do is tip your hat, and say, ‘holy smokes.’ I think it gave them a little bit of momentum going into halftime.”
Whittington put the final nail in Pleasant Grove’s coffin with a 20-yard touchdown run that pushed Cuero’s lead to 40-28 with 2:54 remaining.
“I told the linemen, ‘if each one of you blocks somebody, you can leave me one-on-one and we’re gonna make it happen,’” Whittington said of the drive.
Reeve may have described Whittington’s performance best.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “To have that kind of performance on a stage like this is awful special. But he would be the first to tell you that he couldn’t have done it without the rest of his teammates. I thought our offensive line played really well for him up front. Just like the rest of our guys, he just wasn’t gonna be denied today.”