Blue Devils: First Half Review (4-1)

8O1A7319By Kris Freeman for White House Football

WHITE HOUSE — Five games into the 2014 season, the White House Blue Devils are 4-1 (2-0) and currently tied for first place in District 9-AA, facing White House Heritage on Thursday at Vanderbilt Stadium. Let’s take a look back at the first half of the 2014 regular season.

Summary – White House has defeated Greenbrier and Sycamore in district play, with Heritage, Harpeth, Westmoreland and Cheatham County remaining. The Blue Devils need wins over Heritage and Harpeth to guarantee a third straight District 9-AA title, if Westmoreland loses another game. If the Devils beat all three consecutively, White House will clinch the district title after week eight. However, the Blue Devils are not guaranteed anything. A losing streak would still put playoff positioning in jeopardy. White House does control its own destiny.

The Blue Devils are 2-1 in non-district play with wins over Portland and Lipscomb Academy, and a loss to Springfield. The last non-district game is week 10 against Pope John Paul II.

District 9-AA By the Numbers – White House has scored 150 points (second to Greenbrier’s 175) and has allowed 116 (fourth behind the next three opponents, Heritage, Harpeth and Westmoreland). The district is 19-18 overall record and has scored 836 points combined and allowed 911. District 9-AA ranks in the middle of the pack of strength in the state of Tennessee.

White House By the Numbers – White House is leading its opponents in every team category except rushing yards, punting and turnovers. For a full rundown of stats, click here. White House is 326.4 yards per game and 30 points per game while giving up 23.2 points and 294.2 yards. White House holds a 49-13 scoring advantage in the third quarter. The Blue Devils scored 89.5% of the time in the red zone.

White House By the Players – Steven Rankin has completed 44-of-74 passes for 763 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions. Ronald Honeycutt has rushed 102 times for 588 yards and seven touchdowns. Brian Mullins has nine catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, and Josh Mullins and Caleb Huffines have eight catches each. Troy Raymond has two kick returns for 50 yards and Brian Mullins has the only positive punt return for 12 yards. Logan Trimmer has punted 11 times for an average of 30.36 but five of those have been downed inside the 20. Trimmer has kicked off 24 times for 1,216 yards and 16 touchbacks, and made 11-of-11 extra points and 5-of-5 field goals with a long of 36. Honeycutt leads the team in scoring with 42 points and Trimmer has 26. Trey Hyde has 55 tackles, James Whitby 44 and Luke Hopkins 42. Denis Schaffer, Hopkins and Hyde have six tackles for losses. Chris Baldwin has four pass-break-ups, three special teams blocks and two interceptions including a 41-yard touchdown.

Surprising Numbers – White House has only returned two punts. One was a big loss and the other for 12 yards. The Blue Devils only have three defensive sacks in five games. The Blue Devils are averaging 12.89 yards on 19 kick returns and have faced a tremendous amount of short or squib kicks.

Surprising Players – Sophomore Ronald Honeycutt leads the team in rushing despite nine different players touching the football in the backfield. Caleb Huffines is second on the team in receptions and has been a big play target. Tanner Jordan is fourth on the team in tackles with 29 and has caused two fumbles. Logan Trimmer has been excellent in the kicking game in the place of an injured All-State kicker expected to make his return soon. Luke Hopkins is a force on defense, but has two catches on offense in the middle of the field which may help define the season.

Surprising Story Lines – Injuries. The Blue Devils are reaching deep into the talent pool but young players have stepped up each week as the position rotations have developed. Nine players have ran the ball, nine players have caught passes, and 24 players have made a tackle or recorded a defensive stat. Twelve players have scored.

By the Bunches – White House scored 31 straight points against Lipscomb. White House scored 14 straight points to beat Greenbrier. White House allowed 39 straight points against Springfield, 14 straight points to Lipscomb, and then 21 straight points to Lipscomb.

What’s Ahead – The Blue Devils are facing the toughest part of a balanced schedule, coming off a loss to undefeated Springfield. White House travels to Nashville to face White House Heritage at Vanderbilt. The winner will be in the driver’s seat in District 9-AA. Then, White House hosts surprising Harpeth and a Westmoreland team which has been banged up in 2014 but trying to get healthy and upset the apple cart in the district title race. Heritage has already beaten Westmoreland.

Attendance – The Blue Devils have had two home games and fan participation and attendance has been excellent. From October 10-17-24, White House will play three straight at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium, the last of which senior night and a Pink Out sponsored by Farmers Insurance.

#BlueDevilWay – The students at White House High School are in a year of students supporting students across athletics and academics with the hashtag #bluedevilway on social networking. This partnership is evident in the student participation on Friday nights between the student section, band, cheerleaders and fans.

New Tradition – White House has a new tradition developed in the last two years to sing and play the Alma Mater at the end of each game at home and on the road. The White House Band of Pride plays the Alma Mater from the stands as the players, coaches and cheerleaders join them from the fence on the field. The Alma Mater, in honor of the school, is played before most post-game activities and speeches begin and before the team returns to the locker room.

Behind the Scenes – New technology is evident on Comcast Channel 9 and the Blue Devil Sports Network. With a new system in place by John McDuffee, the BDSN can now broadcast a line score of the game, and provide instant replays with Billy Jackson, Dwayne McDaniel, Randy Cline and Lee Smith on commentary.

Milestone for Coach Porter – If the Blue Devils win six more games, Coach Porter will record his 250th career win at WHHS, among the best in Tennessee High School football history. He currently sits at 244.

What’s at Stake – White House has made the playoffs 22 straight years, and 29 of the last 30 years. White House has four consecutive appearances in the Class 4-A quarterfinals and eight appearances in the quarterfinals in the last 10 years (missing 2006 and 2009). During that time, the Blue Devils, however, are 2-6 in the quarterfinals with wins in 2004 and 2008.

Prediction – Did you really think I was going to end this article with a prediction? Nice try.

If White House wins out, the Blue Devils will host a first round playoff game at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium and be the three-time District 9-AA Champions. You know that’s what we’re all pulling for.

Go Blue Devils and be loud, #BDP Faithful!

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