‘Nothing Changes’ As Whitehouse Enters the Playoffs for the First Time Since 2013
Whitehouse entered its final game of the regular season needing a win against rival Lindale, and the Wildcats were coming off four consecutive games that were decided by 10 or less points.
Before the game, Whitehouse coach Adam Cook said he told his team to one thing: do business as usual. And the Wildcats did, winning 28-17.
"We knew our backs were against the wall and it was a game we had to win. You can't deny the magnitude of it," Cook said. "I told them excuses will always be there but opportunity won't, and we went out and took care of business."
Now Whitehouse (6-4) finds itself in the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and faces College Station in a Class 5A Division II bi-district matchup at 2 p.m. Saturday in Midlothian.
"These kids are very excited. This senior group were freshmen the last time we were in the playoffs, and they've been through quite a bit here for us," Cook said. "We had a lot of people quit over the past few years but we had a core group of young men who made it their mission to get back into the playoffs."
Whitehouse took the final playoff spot in District 17-5A after its win over Lindale and despite losing three of the previous four district games by a combined 15 points. Cook said his team's mindset going into the postseason has to be to finish what it starts.
"I think from our standpoint nothing changes. We just continue to go out and play the way that we do," Cook said. "We've had some opportunities late to go down, score and win those close ones and sometimes we've done it and sometimes we haven't. We just have to finish."
A tall order stands in Whitehouse's way in the first round in College Station. Despite losing starting quarterback Ty Brock in the second game of the season, the Cougars haven't been beaten this season, and seven of their 10 wins have been by at least 35 points.
"They're very, very well-coached. They execute things like they're supposed to do," Cook said. "Play up front in this game is going to be huge. There's a lot of different run games they do with so many blocking schemes that they do to keep the defense guessing. We just have to play sound on the D-line."
College Station took a one-point win over Temple to end the regular season despite turning the ball over four times, Cook said. He said this game comes down to two simple things: ball control and turnovers.
"We need to get some takeaways to get us the ball and then offensively we have to take advantage of those opportunities," Cook said. "And field position is going to be huge for us. We don't necessarily need to go out and grind the clock out but just run our offense and take advantage of every opportunity."