WHITE HOUSE – An impressive season came to abrupt close for the White House Blue Devils in the Class 4-A quarterfinals at home, falling to Giles County 34-10 Friday night.
Bailey Burns rushed 22 times for 104 yards and a touchdown, and Taylor Wood led the defense with 19 tackles, becoming the all-time career leader in stops at White House with 368. But the efforts by the seniors were not enough against a high-powered Bobcats attack that was missing its key tailback and running back.
Instead, Giles County turned to quarterback Trevor Holder, who completed 6-of-12 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, and ran 16 times for 56 yards and three scores in the victory. White House also uncharacteristically turned the ball over twice, leading to touchdowns both times.
“Our turnover ratio this year was great, maybe one of the best in school history but I don’t know the official numbers,” said White House head coach Jeff Porter. “We did a wonderful job taking care of the football this year, but obviously as an underdog you have to take more chances and we have to give them credit for making plays.”
Starting tailback Brandon Houston was hurt in the second round win at Pearl-Cohn, and then White House lost starting tailback Alex Felts in the first quarter, finishing just 15 yards shy of 1,000 for the year with six carries for 20 yards.
“We didn’t expect Houston to play and that wasn’t a surprise,” Porter said. “But their adjustment to running the quarterback was a really good scheme. When they go empty, you have to match up with them and that creates a numbers game inside.”
White House opened the game with an onside kick recovered by Trey Hyde. But the momentum stalled on a fumble at the 30-yard-line, recovered by Giles County. They marched 11 plays and 70 yards for the opening touchdown, but Josh Mullins blocked the extra point for a 6-0 lead.
White House rallied, cut the margin to 6-3 on a Dillon Anderson field goal, but the Bobcats cashed in on a pair of second quarter touchdowns to take a 20-3 margin into the locker room.
White House punted to start the third, but Logan Trimmer backed Giles County up inside the 20. Burns blitzed Holder, causing a fumble that was ruled an incomplete pass, and the intentional grounding call put the Bobcats backed up against their goalline. A short punt to the 15 was downed, and Burns rushed his way on offense into the endzone to cut the margin to 20-10.
That’s when the momentum shift stalled, as Kenton Baker went 78 yards to the 1-yard-line on a kick return, stopped by Alex Lyon before Holder rushed it in for the score.
“We just got misaligned on the kickoff, and overall we made some mistakes tonight that we have not made all year,” Porter explained. “But this group probably came further from fall camp to where we are now than any group we have ever had.”
The last swing of momentum put the game out of reach, as Trey Beets intercepted Ryan Pool at the Blue Devils’ 44 and returned it inside the five. A horse collar tackle was ruled against Wood, but Beets was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. After moving the ball to the 15, the Bobcats scored on a screen pass to Jordan Tucker to make it 34-10 in the third quarter.
White House got a defensive stop in the red zone in the fourth quarter, and Wood was in on nearly every tackle, helping him set the tackle record in stone. Burns then broke a long run on the final offensive series of 18 yards to put him over the century mark in the game.
“They played hard,” Porter said. “For 13 games, every practice, they played hard. I was as impressed that we stopped them at our 15-yard-line at the end as anything tonight with three minutes to go in the game. That’s reflective of what they have done all year.”
White House finished 10-3 and lost in the quarterfinals for the fourth straight season. Giles County (11-2) moves on to play at home against Memphis Trezevant, for a chance to go to the finals for the first time since 2009, when they won the state championship.