Two teams that have scrimmaged each other regularly during the past few seasons will make their encounter count in 2012. But this year’s matchup between Whitehouse and Carthage isn’t the first in recent history.

The teams shared a Class 4A district from 1998-2001, when Carthage won three of four against the Wildcats. Now the two meet in a non-district clash that should serve as a quality measuring stick for each as it advances into the heart of its regular-season schedule.

A key matchup will be Whitehouse’s passing game against Carthage’s front seven, which could be among the best in Class 3A. Can the Wildcats keep Texas A&M-bound defensive tackle Isaiah Golden off their new quarterback, junior Patrick Mahomes, a starting safety as a sophomore? Whoever gets the job won’t have an easy task replacing Hunter Taylor.

Whitehouse’s defense yielded 43.5 points per game in 2011, so the Cats will have to be ready for a Carthage offense returning quarterback Blake Bogenschutz and tailback Tevin Pipkin, who had 2,696 passing yards and 1,707 rushing yards, respectively, as sophomores. The juniors are the headliners of a 2014 class that has Carthage primed for another deep playoff run. Friday Night Football magazine ranks Carthage No. 1 in 3A.

Top 25 Games of the Year

No. 20: Daingerfield vs. New Boston

No. 21: Carlisle vs. Big Sandy

No. 22: Palestine vs Jacksonville

No. 23: Tenaha vs. San Augustine

No. 24: Gilmer vs. Daingerfield

No. 25: John Tyler vs. Tyler Lee