Preview: Tigers a tough test in second round for White House

Photo: Jackson Sun

By Kris Freeman for White House Football

WHITE HOUSE – There is a comfort spot for the White House Blue Devils in the postseason, and it comes Friday night to Dewey H. Whitson Stadium in the second round of the Class 4-A playoffs.

But this sweet tooth has a big bite. The Lexington Tigers (9-2), a power-built football team from West Tennessee, is the second round opponent at 7 p.m. White House is 9-1 in second round games since 2000, and 15-5 all-time under Coach Porter.

White House has made 16 quarterfinal appearances since 1986 and 15 under head coach Jeff Porter in 26 seasons, and facing Lexington will have the chance to appear in the Class 4-A’s third round for the fourth year in a row.

“Our goal Friday night was simple,” Coach Porter said. “We had 48 minutes to get back to the practice field on Monday. Our kids now have that opportunity, and the goal is the same this Friday night.

“All we can control is ourselves, and we have to prepare well to get another opportunity to practice next week. Lexington is a good football team and we are going to have to be ready to play.”

Lexington defeated Greenbrier, 21-0. White House beat Page, 35-25. The two teams have only met one time, in a 2010 quarterfinal loss on the road in West Tennessee.

The last second-round loss was a 29-9 defeat in 2006 to Pearl-Cohn. The third round has not been as kind, where White House is just 6-9 under Porter in the round of eight. The Blue Devils are 1-5 in the semifinals in the modern era, winning only in 1997 when the team clinched the Class 3-A state championship.

The Tigers come into White House scoring 27.1 points per game after a perfect district finish, losing to Jackson North Side in week six and dropping a week nine game to Crockett County.  Lexington allows 17.3 points per game with two shutouts.

Lexington shut out Greenbrier Friday night, scoring 14 points in the second half to put the game away. Quarterback Tylan Johnson scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Tailback Tanner Kizer added two second half touchdowns, with 11:12 left in the fourth and 4:58 remaining in the game.

Lexington lines up in power formation and runs behind a solid offensive line. The Tigers ran the fullback to the center of the line of scrimmage in over 12 plays Friday night, but Johnson is a mobile and big, physical quarterback, and not afraid to scramble out of the pocket.

The Tigers defense held Greenbrier out of the end zone including two stops inside the 20, and a missed field goal.

The Blue Devils were ranked in the top 15 of the state in scoring defense for the regular season, but fell out of those standings Friday night by surrendering 25 points to Page. White House scores 23.3 points per game and allows 12.4.

White House picked up five touchdowns from five different players in the win over Page. Alex Lyon and Alex Felts both rushed for over 100 yards and scored once each, then Trey Hyde and quarterback Ryan Pool scored on the ground. Pool made a corner throw to tight end Wesley James for a 22-yard touchdown to complete the scoring.

The story continued to be red zone defense and turnovers for the Devils, who allowed Page to put points on the board in just 4-of-6 tries. White House converted at 100 percent, and forced three turnovers and a missed field goal, plus a fourth down stop in Patriots territory.

White House scores in the red zone 89.7 percent of the time, but gives up just 69 percent. The Devils are plus 12 on turnovers.

The winning team has no easy feat in the third round, facing the winner of Pearl-Cohn (10-1) and Giles County (9-2). If Pearl-Cohn wins, the game will be in Nashville no matter the opponent. If White House wins, the game will be at home if the opponent is Giles County.

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