Devils explode in first 16 seconds for big win
By Kris Freeman for The White House Connection
WHITE HOUSE – It was senior night for the White House Blue Devils, but a junior stole the spotlight before the majority of his teammates hit the field.
Trey Hyde broke four tackles and sprinted 98 yards to the endzone on the opening kickoff to set a school record, and White House rolled to a 56-7 victory over Cheatham County. Hyde also rushed 15 times for 104 yards and made five tackles on defense.
“We did some good things tonight and obviously, we understand that our opponent is in a tough situation and they have had a tough year,” said White House head coach Jeff Porter. “Our kids played hard with a lot of energy. Our kids are going to have to make up their mind to put that kind of intensity every week.”
Junior quarterback Steven Rankin was 6-of-10 passing for 150 yards and four touchdowns, but a senior coming back was a big boost. Injured against Sycamore, Josh Mullins returned to catch two passes for 109 yards, both touchdowns of 69 and 40 yards. He missed four and a half games after leaving in an ambulance before halftime in week four.
Rankin’s career best touchdown night was one short of the school record, as Jonathan Finch (1997) and Trox Greenwade (2008) both had five touchdown passing nights against DeKalb County.
“It was a great spark to see Mullins back on the field tonight,” Porter said. “We played well, but now it’s time for our kids to figure out what we are going to do this year and if not, we will look at 2015. But we are not interested in just making it, we want to see how far we can go.”
The Blue Devils had 363 yards of total offense and never punted, scoring a touchdown on every single possession. The Devils led 21-0, then 42-7 at the half, and held Cheatham County to 159 total yards. The Cubs were 3-of-8 on third down and 0-for-1 on fourth down when a botched fake punt went the wrong direction on a fumble.
White House, meanwhile, completed 6-of-7 third down conversions and the only time needing a fourth down conversion, Rankin made it on the quarterback sneak.
Hyde opened the scoring with the 98-yard kick return. Rankin then hit junior Logan Trimmer for 20 yards and a 14-0 lead. Mullins scored on a 40-yarder and it was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Cheatham County mounted its only scoring drive of the night with an 11-play march for 80 yards when Nathaniel Jock ran it in from five yards away. Rankin then hit senior Caleb Huffines for three yards in the left corner of the endzone. And junior Luke Hopkins scored on a six-yard run, then Rankin and Mullins connected for 69 yards and a 42-7 halftime lead.
In the second half, a pair of seniors scored their first career touchdowns. Ian Willis and Houston Stone both found the endzone to make it 56-7. Stone had previously scored on a two-point conversion earlier in the year but that was Willis’ first career scoring opportunity.
Senior Dillon Anderson made all seven extra point attempts, one shy of the school record of eight, but Austin Rutherford kicked the final one for his first career point.
“It was great to see Houston and Ian get to score, and Preston (Long) run the ball hard, and Austin come in and kick the extra point, and a lot of our young kids got a chance to get into the game and play,” Porter noted.
Hopkins had a super all-around night. He intercepted Cheatham County quarterback Ryan Christmas twice, made four tackles, and rushed once for six yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Preston Long carried three times for 30 yards, Trimmer caught three passes for 38 yards and a touchdown and Huffines had two receptions for 17 and a touchdown.
White House (6-3, 4-2) finishes the season Friday at Pope John Paul in Hendersonville. The Blue Devils are guaranteed to finish third in District 9-AA and cannot move up, however playoff scenarios are incredibly flexible. White House could finish anywhere from a two seed to a five seed, likely in quad three of Class 4-A.
“Hopefully tonight ensures that we are in the playoffs, but we have to be ready to play next Friday night because Pope John Paul is going to be a tremendous challenge,” Porter said. “They are a very physical football team and their record is not indicative of how good they are, and we have to be ready to play.”