PREVIEW: Whitehouse Meets Kennedale in Non-District Finale
Whitehouse Wildcats (3-1)
No. 6 Kennedale Wildcats (3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Kennedale
- Whitehouse: Adam Cook
- Kennedale: Richard Barrett
- Whitehouse: def. Sulphur Springs, 28-6
- Kennedale: def. Wichita Falls Rider, 62-26
- Whitehouse: idle
- Kennedale: vs. West Orange-Stark (at Nacogdoches), Oct. 6
- WR Cameron Cantrell, Jr., 6-1, 175 (28 catches, 350 yards, 6 TDs; committed to Texas Tech)
- DL Trevor Lawrence, Sr., 6-5, 245 (26 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 fumble recovery; committed to Texas State)
- DL Mitchell Melrose, Sr., 6-5, 250 (23 tackles, 8 for loss, 2 sacks, 4 QB pressures)
- RB Clayton Cook, Sr., 5-9, 175 (73 carries, 363 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR/DB Javier Neal, Sr., 5-10, 155 (7 catches, 138 yards, 1 TD; 13 tackles, 2 INTs, 5 PBUs)
- DL Christian Owens, Sr., 6-3, 260 (27 tackles, 15 for loss, 1 sack, 5 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble)
- QB Jake Clemons, Sr., 6-1, 170 (72 of 116, 771 yards, 8 TDs, 4 INTs)
- DL Darius Trimble, Jr., 5-11, 250 (38 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 1 PBU)
- DB Larry Brooks, Sr., 6-0, 185 (16 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 1 INT, 2 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked kick; committed to ULM)
- RB De'shaun Kirven, Jr., 5-7, 166 (44 carries, 442 yards, 9 TDs; 1 catch, 4 yards, 0 TDs)
- RB Jaden Knowles, Sr., 5-8, 175 (36 carries, 319 yards, 9 TDs; 1 catch, 9 yards, 0 TDs)
- DB JD Coffey, Fr., 6-0, 160 (5 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 PBU)
- DB Ector Rivera, Sr., 5-8, 175 (27 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack)
- DB Devan Mason, Sr. (24 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
- LB Braelin Brown, Sr., 5-11, 190 (25 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU)
- QB Evan Jowers, Jr., 6-0, 180 (10 of 15, 179 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 18 carries, 100 yards, 1 TD)
Just the facts
- Whitehouse can start 4-1 for the second consecutive season with a win.
- Kennedale went 11-4 and reached the Class 4A Division I state semifinals last season.
- Whitehouse is averaging 25.8 points and 329 yards per game -- 122.5 rushing and 206.5 passing.
- Wildcats receiver Cameron Cantrell has six of his team's eight touchdown receptions on the season.
- Whitehouse's defense is allowing 18 points per game, has forced eight turnovers, and made 50 tackles for loss.
- Kennedale is averaging 56 points and 406.3 yards per game -- 349.7 rushing and 59.6 passing.
- The Wildcats rushed for 526 yards and nine touchdowns in last week's win.
- Kennedale's defense is allowing 13 points and has forced 10 turnovers in three games -- four interceptions and six fumble recoveries.
Key matchup: Kennedale rushing attack vs. Whitehouse defensive front. Kennedale is one of the top teams in the state at the Class 4A level, having reached the Division I state semifinals in 2016. This season, Kennedale is off to a dominant 3-0 start with wins over Terrell (55-6), Alvarado (51-7), and Wichita Falls Rider (62-26). And it's been the running game that's keyed the torrid beginning to the year. In three games, Kenendale has already rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. In last week's win alone, Kennedale rolled up 526 yards and nine TD's on the ground.
Kennedale gets it done primarily with a couple of backs -- junior De'shaun Kirven and senior Jaden Knowles. The two have combined for 761 yards and 18 of the team's 21 rushing touchdowns. When Kennedale does decide to pass, it has been extremely efficient, with quarterback Evan Jowers completing 10 of 15 attempts and averaging almost 18 yards per completion.
Whitehouse will counter with a big and physical defensive line, anchored by a trio of seniors -- Christian Owens, Trevor Lawrence, and Mitchell Melrose. Add in junior Darius Trimble, and there might not be a deeper collection of defensive linemen in all of East Texas. The foursome have combined to make 36 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, meaning the group averages nine stops for loss per game. The Whitehouse D-line will be put to the test this week vs. Kenendale's run-heavy attack.
Don't be surprised if: Whitehouse dares Kennedale to pass by loading the box with eight and nine defenders. Whitehouse knows that Kennedale calls running plays 90 percent of the time, and the Whitehouse defense will likely need all the help it can get in defending Kennedale's powerful ground game.
That will leave Whitehouse's cornerbacks, in particular senior Javier Neal, isolated in one-on-one coverage for most of the night. The good news for Whitehouse is that Neal might be the team's best overall athlete, and he has a knack for making big plays in the secondary. He has two interceptions through four games this year after coming down with seven picks as a junior last season.