By Kris Freeman for White House Football
WHITE HOUSE — Standing on the sideline of Friday’s game, a reserve player for the White House Blue Devils said “this feels a lot like the Livingston game last year.”
And it was, as White House won on the final play of the game with a 9-6 victory over Greenbrier in overtime. The Blue Devils plunged into victory when senior tailback Bailey Burns found redemption on a four-yard touchdown run on 3rd-and-Goal in the first overtime. The Bobcats had scored on a 20-yard field goal to take a 6-3 lead just moments before.
And such it was the reminder of the Livingston Academy finish from week seven in 2012, when then senior kicker Chase Dunlap missed two field goals into a stiff wind early before coming back to kick the game-clincher as time expired on a 32-31 triumph. Burns, like his former teammate, got a second chance Friday.
With the game tied 3-3 and just 1:02 left in regulation, White House was moving the football with authority on a 12-play, 56-yard drive when Burns coughed up a first down fumble at the Greenbrier 16, recovered by the Bobcats. But he got the call in overtime and cashed in, just two plays after a six-yard sneak by senior quarterback Ryan Pool.
Burns ended the game with 12 carries for 42 yards. Sophomore Trey Hyde had 17 for 56, and the Blue Devils rushed for only 125 yards in the game. Pool completed 7-of-11 for 53 yards plus an ill-timed interception on an overthrown screen pass inside his own territory.
But the White House defense bent all night and never broke. When Greenbrier scored on its official opening possession to tie the game at 3-3, the Blue Devils held them out of the end zone. In fact, Greenbrier had four drives in the second half in White House territory and came away with no points, missing one field goal. Both teams had three turnovers.
On the opening kickoff, White House recovered a muffed return at the Greenbrier 36 and Dillon Anderson cashed it in with a 27-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Bobcats responded with a 10-play march covering 56 yards before Christian Warren hit from 27 to tie it up.
Four drives and four punts ended the half, then White House lost a fumble when Taylor Wood was stripped of the ball on the opening drive of the third quarter at the White House 29. But like Burns, Wood got his shot at a second chance when senior Wesley James chased down quarterback Nick Young of Greenbrier on his first down scramble and the ball came right back.
James stripped the QB and Wood recovered, giving White House new life. Wood had 12 tackles to lead his team in the game. But the interception bit the Devils and the Bobcats were back in business in the third quarter at the White House 30.
With Warren’s leg not able to handle a long kick from the 28-yard-line, Greenbrier went for the fourth down and turned it over to the hosts, who went three plays and out. Greenbrier immediately drove down field with 10 plays moving the football 49 yards into field goal range.
Denis Schaffer ran J.R. Brown down for a one-yard loss on 3rd-and-Goal at the 4-yard-line, and Greenbrier lined up for a field goal from the 5. On the snap — which appeared to be a fake out of the holder’s position — Greenbrier was whistled for an illegal procedure penalty.
Moving the football back to the 10 and facing the southern end zone, Warren’s kick was not close, crossing diagonally from the home hash marks and missing wide right. White House again went three-and-out and punted.
It was the only short punt of the night and Greenbrier took over the football at its own 46, with James Pentecost busting for a 19-yard run on first down. Young handed to Brown for five yards, then Pentecost got two on back-to-back carries. Facing 4th-and-1 at the 26, the Bobcats again elected to go for the first down and came up short.
Paul Gonser took the carry and dove to the middle of the line, stopped by Jamie Futch, Blaiz Phillips and Wood. The measurement was one inch short, and White House took over for its final push of the night.
The Devils were authoritative, but also converted a key fourth down when Burns picked up eight yards needing three inside White House territory. He carried eight of 10 plays, breaking for 12 yards outside left to set up 1st-and-10 at the 20. But he fumbled on the next play in the middle of the line and Gonser recovered for a Greenbrier first down with 50 seconds left. The Bobcats ran four plays before going to overtime and Tyler Ellis intercepted Young on the final play.
White House won the toss, choosing defense. Young scrambled for six on first down with Wyatt Bailey making a possible score-saving tackle. Brown carried for four, then on third down he was stopped by Bailey and the center of the line to set up fourth down. Greenbrier took a timeout and Warren kicked from 20 yards to give Greenbrier its first lead of the night.
White House also ran the quarterback on first down and Pool bullied his way straight ahead for six. Burns gained none on second down, but followed his block for four yards and the touchdown on third down, setting off a celebration in the southern end zone by the White House sideline. The Devils won 9-6.
Greenbrier finished the game with 251 total yards, as Young completed 2-of-5 passes for 45, and Pentecost led all rushers with 20 carries for 101. Brown added 91 on 14 totes.
The last Greenbrier overtime game ended in the same endzone, but the teams that night in 1994 combined to score 90 points when White House won 48-42 in five overtimes.
Greenbrier (1-2) hosts Portland next week, while White House (2-0) travels to Lipscomb Academy (3-0).