Defensive Touchdown Ignites Whitehouse’s 37-6 Rout of Chapel Hill
TYLER – The scoreboards beyond each zone at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium described a one-sided affair at the end of Thursday night’s game between rivals Whitehouse and Chapel Hill.
What happened in between told a different story, one that turned on just one play just before halftime of Whitehouse’s 37-6 win.
Whitehouse senior linebacker Michael Raabe’s 92-yard interception return for a touchdown with 22 seconds remaining in the half represented a 14-point swing, snatching all the momentum from the Chapel Hill sideline.
“They had a lot of momentum on that drive, and they could’ve carried that momentum into the second half If that play didn’t happen,” said Raabe, who returned another interception 52 yards in the fourth quarter. “It was just right place, right time.”
Chapel Hill’s offense, which had negative yards in the opening quarter before finding a rhythm in the second, never got on track after halftime.
“Michael Raabe is a playmaker,” said Whitehouse first-year head coach Marcus Gold. “He finds a way to get to the football, and that’s all about his effort. That’s two weeks in a row to where the game could’ve gone either way where it could’ve got real close there at halftime, and our linebackers have come up with a big interception and touchdown.”
Whitehouse (2-0) put forth a masterful performance on the defensive end, limiting Chapel Hill (0-2) to just 257 yards on the night.
“I think we did a great job, just all-out effort,” Raabe said. “I think 11 guys were just swarming to the ball, and that’s thanks to (defensive coordinator Evan Beaton) and Coach Gold. They preach that every day. As long as you line up right and swarm to the football you can mess up in a lot of places and we’ll take care of it.”
Whitehouse quarterback Flint Herrington passed for 223 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another.
Most of the big plays came from receivers Kendahl Fry and Kendrion Johnson. Fry caught 10 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns, while Johnson finished with six catches for 98 yards and a score.
“I think (offensive coordinator Akeem Leviston) is doing a great job getting them the ball because they are playmakers, and they’re gonna make things happen in the open field,” Gold said of Fry and Johnson. “They’re special players, special talents, and it’s gonna be important for them to stay healthy throughout the season.”
Whitehouse didn’t dominate on offense Thursday like it did in last week’s 50-28 win over Henderson, finishing with only 297 yards, just 63 of which came on the ground.
“We changed the game plan a little bit,” Gold said. “We wanted to tempo a lot more and do a lot less shifts and motions, but we didn’t change much at halftime, defensively or offensively. We continued to go with the game plan and just executed better.”
It took Whitehouse just seven plays and 76 seconds to grab the game’s first lead, as Johnson beat one-on-one coverage down the sideline for a 36-yard touchdown reception on fourth-and-7.
Whitehouse’s offense sputtered on its next two series, but built on its lead late in the quarter when Herrington finished off a nine-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Fry, who added a two-point conversion for a 15-0 lead.
Chapel Hill finally got its footing on offense in the second quarter. A 19-yard completion from Jaxon Heckel to Robbie Williams got the Bulldogs into Whitehouse territory for the first time.
Heckel’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Warren cut Chapel Hill’s deficit to 15-6 with 7:50 until halftime.
Heckel and Williams hooked up for completions of 12, 10, and 13 yards on Chapel Hill’s next series, but on first-and-goal from the 6, Raabe stepped in front of Heckel’s pass, and raced 92 yards the other way for a score and a 22-6 Whitehouse lead with just 22 seconds to play in the half.
“The quarterback sprint out to the right, and I know they like to run a couple of flood concepts that way,” Raabe said. “My job on that play was just to spy the quarterback, so I was just mirroring him and he just happened to throw me the ball."
“I’m not known for my speed so I was just giving it my all and make sure it got to the end zone.”
Herrington ran nine yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and tossed a 19-yard scoring strike to Fry in the fourth.
Chapel Hill will return home next Friday against Argyle, which is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press’ Class 4A poll, while Whitehouse will finish non-district play next Thursday against 4A power Melissa at Emory Rains High School.
“I just told the kids I’m doing a bad job of when the game’s over I’m already looking ahead," Gold said. "So I’ve gotta enjoy this for a couple hours, break down how this game went and move on to Melissa mid-afternoon tomorrow.”
Whitehouse 37, Chapel Hill 6
At CHRISTUS TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
Chapel Hill 0 6 0 0 – 6
Whitehouse 15 7 8 7 – 37
WHI—Kendrion Johnson 36 pass from Flint Herrington (Cooper Clemons kick), 10:44.
WHI—Kendahl Fry 3 pass from Herrington (Fry run), 1:29.
CH—Darrius Warren 33 pass from Jaxon Heckel (kick failed), 7:50.
WHI—Michael Raabe 92 interception return (Clemons kick), :22.
WHI—Herrington 9 run (Fry run), 3:46.
WHI—Fry 19 pass from Herrington (Clemons kick), 5:30.
First Downs 17 15
Total Yards 257 297
Rushes-Yards 38-93 20-63
Passing Yards 164 234
Comp.-Att.-Int. 12-28-2 22-41-1
Punts-Avg. 7-36.0 1-54.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-70 8-76
RUSHING—Chapel Hill, Arsheal Ates 16-42, Elijah Demus 14-40, Tanner Rudd 1-5, Khristion Little 1-4, Darrius Warren 1-3, Jaxon Heckel 5-(-1). Whitehouse, Jaden Haskins 7-40, Carter Adams 3-12, Jack Clark 1-6, Flint Herrington 5-5, Peyton Kennedy 4-0.
PASSING—Chapel Hill, Heckel 6-17-1—96, Rudd 6-11-1—69. Whitehouse, Herrington 21-40-1—223, Clark 1-1-0—11.
RECEIVING—Chapel Hill, Robbie Williams 5-65, Keyjun Thomas 3-47, Warren 2-54, Mar’quise Dilworth 2-(-1). Whitehouse, Kendahl Fry 10-107, Kendrion Johnson 6-98, Cameron Johnson 3-17, Austin Barron 2-10, Adams 1-5.