Late punt miscue leads Westmoreland over White House
By Kris Freeman for White House Football
WHITE HOUSE – A punt snap sailed over the head of Logan Trimmer with 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and the safety led to a 14-7 victory for the Westmoreland Eagles on the road at White House.
Trimmer recovered the ball in the endzone amid a swarm of Eagles defenders for the two-point swing, giving Westmoreland an 8-7 lead at the time. Later in the fourth, White House eased up on a 39-yard run by Dylan Todd and essentially allowed him to run untouched to the endzone in hopes of having a chance to tie the game.
“We got in a situation in the end with no timeouts and had to do what we had to do,” said White House head coach Jeff Porter. “But in the end, they took it to us and we have to move on. It was a tough night.”
When Denis Schaffer intercepted Justice Graves on the two-point conversion, the Blue Devils got the ball back with 1:24 to go and no timeouts. A pass from Steven Rankin put White House in Westmoreland territory at the 49 on a sliding catch by Luke Hopkins, but the Eagles defense held on four incomplete passes.
The final gasp came with 22 seconds left when Rankin was nearly sacked and threw incomplete to an offensive lineman for a declined penalty on fourth down.
Westmoreland’s win was the first over White House since 1991, giving the Eagles a leg up on second place in District 9-AA. White House will now have to fight for its playoff lives in week nine against winless Cheatham County, as the Blue Devils are gridlocked in a tie for third place but hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Harpeth and Greenbrier.
“Next Friday night is senior night, and we have to keep plugging and keep playing and keep fighting,” Porter explained. “There is a pink out next Friday and we have to come out ready to play against Cheatham County, and we are certainly excited about the partnership with Farm Bureau Insurance for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and what this game means for so many people.”
But Friday, the Blue Devils just could not manage to get offensive momentum. Outside of a 61-yard scoring drive before halftime, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Huffines with 34 seconds left, White House failed to cross midfield on seven of 10 drives.
Trimmer punted seven times, three out of his own endzone, for an average of 42.7 yards per kick. He also caught two passes for 24 yards including a 14-yard screen play to set up the Blue Devils touchdown.
Rankin completed 4-of-16 passing for 86 yards, Hopkins completed one pass for four yards and White House had negative-four yards rushing with four sacks.
“The first half, we were totally dominated and we end up going into the half ahead 7-6 and really should have been down about 21-0,” Porter said. “We just kept swapping punts and we were backed up in our own territory and eventually it bit us in the fourth quarter on the safety.”
Westmoreland was dominant on the ground. Todd rushed 28 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns, putting them on the board in the second quarter for a 6-0 lead. The Eagles ran 64 plays with six punts, but rushed 53 times for 358 total yards without completing a single pass.
Quarterback Graves rushed six times for 55 yards, Darren Akins added eight for 23 yards and Brad Evans 14 for 83. The result was 18 first downs and a busy night for the White House defense, led by linebackers Hyde and James Whitby with 16 and 14 tackles, respectively. Tanner Jordan added 12.
For White House on offense, third down was a tough spot. The Blue Devils made just 3-of-12 and missed twice on fourth down. There were no turnovers and only seven penalties; overall it was a clean, defensive game leaning toward the Eagles in many statistical categories.
Hyde rushed 10 times for 35 yards and Ronald Honeycutt 11 times for 23, but Trimmer lost 29 on the punt and Rankin lost 36 on six carries including the four sacks, two by Brandon Green.
Huffines and Trimmer each had two receptions and Hopkins caught one.