WHITE HOUSE – The school, parents and community celebrated a successful season for the White House Blue Devils football team Sunday with the team’s annual football banquet held in the school cafeteria.
White House finished 10-3 and this senior class became the first to make four straight trips to the Class 4-A quarterfinals. The season ended with a loss to eventual state-runner-up Giles County.
Senior linebacker Taylor Wood, the all-time leading tackler in school history for the Blue Devils with 368 stops, took home top honors with four awards during the event. Awards are voted upon by the players, except for the academic award based on grade point average.
Principal Jeff Cordell presented the Academic Award to Wood for a 3.8 GPA, and the standout defensive player was also named a permanent team captain, and presented the Gourley Award and the Sully Award.
Senior tight end and defensive back Wesley James was the second permanent team captain as WHHS selects two each year at the banquet. James ended his career with 173 tackles, 42 tackles for losses and 11 sacks, with 20 quarterback hurries and 10 passes broken up. He also was the leading receiver among his classmates with 16 catches for 229 yards and a touchdown.
Alex Lyon played just one year for the Blue Devils, but made the best of it. The three-sport star, who is also an All-District performer in baseball and basketball, was named the team’s Most Valuable Player as selected by his peers. Lyon was the wildcat quarterback on offense, rushing for 481 yards and throwing for 57. He also caught 12 passes for 160 yards, and made 50 tackles with three interceptions on defense.
“What is most impressive about Alex joining our football team is the character in which he handled himself among his teammates,” said White House head coach Jeff Porter, “and how they accepted him as a part of this team.”
“I am just so thankful to my teammates because had they not accepted me onto the team, I would have never had this opportunity,” Lyon added.
Junior Josh Mullins was presented the Defensive Back Award with five interceptions, 14 passes broken up and 49 tackles. Senior Lane Spivey played defensive end, offensive line and even switched numbers during his career after playing some fullback. He was honored with the Defensive Line Award and finished his career with 66 tackles, four sacks and 12 tackles for losses total.
Senior tailback Alex Felts waited for his opportunity as a running back his senior year and ended the season with 985 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns. He had 1,033 yards for his career and was given the Offensive Back Award.
Senior Corey Cantrell played center and defensive end, and took home the trophy for the Offensive Line Award. The Blue Devils rushed for 2,437 yards and averaged 247.6 yards total per game his senior season, and the career lineman even caught one pass in 2013 for eight yards off a deflection. Cantrell also received an honor during the season as the 102.5 the Game Midstate Lineman of the Week.
Senior linebacker Jamie Futch was presented one of the highest honors of the night by assistant coach Mark Lamberth, the Eric Blaylock Sportsmanship Award. Futch ended his career with 79 total tackles and three sacks.
“I didn’t always get to play as much as I wanted,” Futch said, “but this was a brotherhood. The reason this means so much to me is that group of seniors that were my brothers. That’s why it matters, and I’m already dreading not being able to experience this with them again. As an eighth grader, this is not something that I cared about or really wanted to be a part of and now I can’t imagine life without it.”
The 16-member senior class included 15 players and manager Alicia Callis, also a soccer standout for the Lady Devils.
“I loved being a part of this program, and I haven’t decided if I plan to manage in college, but if I do, it will be because of what I was a part of here,” she said.
Sophomore Josh Flynn won the Scout Team Award for his work during practice and preparation each week.
Three freshmen were honored for their 5-2 season with individual awards by Coach Chad Broadrick and assistants. Nathan Elmer was the Offensive Player Award winner, while Brian Smith was the Defensive Player Award. Ronald Honeycutt was named the Most Valuable Player.
Coach Porter presented community awards to Sonya Tate of the White House Quarterback Club with the Citizen’s Award, and John McDuffee of the Blue Devil Sports Network with the WH Quarterback Club Award.
Long-time announcer Eddie Ray Anderson, the voice of the Blue Devils, voiced his reflections on the 2013 season, and announced his retirement as the public address announcer after nearly four decades at the mic.