By Craig Harris for The News Examiner
WHITE HOUSE – White House High junior Trey Hyde has been asked to do more during the latter portion of the season.
That has worked out well for the Blue Devils.
Hyde rushed for a career-high 232 yards and two touchdowns on Friday evening, propelling fourth-seeded White House to a 39-21 victory over visiting Giles County at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Hyde said. “The coaches had a great game plan.
“We look forward to next week. It’s a great team next week too.”
The Blue Devils (8-4) will travel to Nashville to face top-seeded Pearl-Cohn (10-2) next Friday. White House advanced to the quarterfinal round for the fifth consecutive season.
“I’m very proud of our team right now,” Blue Devil head coach Jeff Porter said. “We still have work to do.
“Our kids have rallied. The program has been blessed to make a push this time of year the last few years.”
However, the White House players can’t determine why they’ve managed to regularly advance in the postseason.
“I truly don’t know,” Hyde said. “People were just down (during the regular season), and a spark came. Everybody started working together and doing what we needed to do. It’s White House football.”
Blue Devil junior wide receiver/defensive back Luke Hopkins added, “It’s White House football. We’ve practiced great. The coaches gave us a great game plan. We executed and try to get to the practice field next week.”
The team’s preparation has been key according to the players.
“We’ve all really come together as brothers,” White House junior defensive lineman Blaiz Phillips said. “We came together, and we had a meeting. We said, ‘it’s time for the playoffs. It’s time to make our run. It’s time to show what BDP (Blue Devil Pride) is about.'”
Hyde is the team’s leading tackler as a starting linebacker, but due in part to injuries to junior Josh Flynn and sophomore Ronald Honeycutt, Hyde has been the primary tailback for the team’s last four contests. Over that span, he has rushed for 627 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 6.7 yards per carry.
“Playing both ways is huge,” Porter said. “Some others got hurt, and he had to step in at tailback. He’s just been consistent. He’s probably not going to score on a 70 or 80-yard run, but he’s very consistent and downhill.”
Hopkins added, “It’s been so big. He plays offense and defense. He gets so tired, but he just keeps pounding. He’s a great player.”
Prior to the jump in offensive playing time, Hyde had only 43 carries through the first eight games, resulting in 194 yards and five touchdowns.
“It’s a little taxing, but you can’t complain about getting playing time,” Hyde said. “I want to play every snap.”
He’s running behind an offensive line consisting of junior tackle Brennan Harshaw, senior tackle Drezmond English, senior center Kyle Cantrell, sophomore guard Austin Hoffman, senior guard Tyler Gardner, junior tight end Logan Trimmer and sophomore tight end Danny Stoutt (who is in action in two-tight-end sets).
“I wouldn’t be able to do anything without them,” Hyde said. “They’ve been great. It’s more than they need to do. It shows on the scoreboard.”
Not this time
The Bobcats rolled to a 34-10 victory at White House in the quarterfinal round last November.
“We didn’t dwell on it, but it’s definitely been mentioned,” Hyde said. “Everybody knew what we had to do. There was no way we couldn’t get a little payback.”
Giles County – a No. 8 seed that upset top-seeded Marshall County (by a 38-35 score) in the opening round seven days earlier – started strong, marching 71 yards on the game’s opening possession. However, on the 13th play, Bobcat junior tailback Jordan Tucker fumbled, and Blue Devil junior linebacker James Whitby recovered.
“The first drive of the game was the biggest,” Porter said. “They ate seven or eight minutes off the clock. For us to get that turnover was big.”
A 36-yard reception by Trimmer on the ensuing 10-play, 87-yard scoring drive moved the ball deep into Bobcat territory, and Hyde capped it with a 4-yard touchdown surge on the first play of the second quarter.
Trimmer had a 47-yard punt later in the period that appeared to be bouncing toward the end zone, but a leaping Hopkins saved the ball back to the 1 yard line before it could land in the end zone. Senior Caleb Huffines was there to down the punt.
On the next play, Giles County junior quarterback Trevor Holder lost his grip on the football as he attempted to pass out of the end zone, and Phillips recovered for a touchdown.
“I came through the (offensive) line, and I saw it was a pass,” Phillips said. “I put a quick move on him. I saw the ball go in the air. I just got on it and pulled it in.
“It was great teamwork by all of us.”
Hopkins had a 25-yard reception late in the half, before junior wide receiver Gavin Herrell caught a 14-yard pass, moving the ball to the Bobcat 8 yard line.
On third-and-goal, White House junior quarterback Steven Rankin rolled to his left and threw a pass into the left corner of the end zone, where Trimmer’s leaping catch for a 2-yard touchdown created a 19-0 margin at halftime.
“They outplayed us and outcoached us,” Giles County head coach Walt Smith said. “They were the better team on the field tonight.”
Hyde broke off a 56-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, and Rankin capped that five-play drive with a 1-yard sneak into the end zone.
Senior Dillon Anderson added the PAT to create a 26-0 margin.
The Bobcats (5-7) didn’t get any closer than 18 the rest of the way.
Giles County senior Cameron Ordway – a University of Mississippi commit – caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Holder in the final seconds of the third period, but Hyde broke free for a 35-yard touchdown run with 9:30 remaining.
Bobcat senior Dontarius Gilbert responded with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Hyde responded with a 10-yard gain on a screen pass and a 33-yard run before Rankin maneuvered 18 yards to the end zone on a quarterback draw, creating a 39-14 margin.
Ordway had another TD reception – a 12-yarder – with 2:56 remaining.
Holder completed 10 of 19 passes for 154 yards, and both Gilbert and Ordway caught four passes for 80 and 50 yards, respectively.
However, Holder had just 29 yards passing in the first half. Giles County was limited to 85 total yards in the first half.
“Our boys work so hard in practice,” Phillips said. “Our secondary turns it up when we get on the field. We call come together, and it’s just perfect.”
Hopkins added, “We practiced great all week. We knew we had to keep everybody in front of us and just play hard.”
Herrell recovered a pair of onside kicks in the second half to prevent any more progress by Giles County.
“Gavin played big,” Porter said. “It takes everybody doing their job.”
Rankin completed his first nine pass attempts and finished 11 of 13 for 121 yards, and Hopkins caught four passes for 54 yards.
The Blue Devils finished with 408 total yards.
“It feels great,” Hopkins said. “It’s special to be with group of guys and play like we are, trying to get to the next round. We’re just brothers out there.”
WH – Trey Hyde 4 run. Dillon Anderson kick. WH – Blaiz Phillips recovers fumble in end zone. Kick failed. WH – Logan Trimmer 2 pass from Steven Rankin. Pass failed. WH – Rankin 1 run. Anderson kick. GC – Cameron Ordway 17 pass from Trevor Holder. Griffin Birdsong kick. WH – Hyde 35 run. Kick failed. GC – Dontarius Gilbert 93 kickoff return. Birdsong kick. WH – Rankin 18 run. Anderson kick. GC – Ordway 12 pass from Holder. Birdsong kick.
Giles County – Jordan Tucker 13-67, Cameron Ordway 2-9, Dontarius Gilbert 1-6, Trevor Holder 7-(-4).
White House – Trey Hyde 28-232, Tanner Jordan 4-29, Steven Rankin 8-15, Troy Raymond 2-11.
Giles County – Trevor Holder 10-19-0-154.
White House – Steven Rankin 11-13-0-121.
Giles County – Dontarius Gilbert 4-80, Cameron Ordway 4-50, Boone Gibson 1-18, Lucas Harrison 1-6.
White House – Luke Hopkins 4-54, Logan Trimmer 2-38, Chris Baldwin 2-2, Gavin Herrell 1-14, Trey Hyde 1-10, Caleb Huffines 1-3.