Connection: Wood, Dotson excel at All-Star Game

wood1By Kris Freeman for The White House Connection


COOKEVILLE – White House head football coach Jeff Porter led the West team to a 55-39 victory Friday night in the TACA Toyota East-West All-Star Classic at Tennessee Tech University.

The seventh-annual contest featured some of the best high school football seniors in the state of Tennessee, including three coaches from White House High School. Coach Jim Grantham served as the offensive coordinator and Ryan Hamilton was an assistant.

Senior linebacker Taylor Wood, the leading career tackler in WHHS history, made three tackles in the game and recovered an onside kick in the second quarter. Wood corralled a kick returner in the open field to start the second, then on the next series fielded a kick near midfield for his team.

Ramadi Warren of Whitehaven set a TACA All-Star Classic record with 38 carries for 290 yards and three touchdowns to earn offensive Most Valuable Player honors for the West. All three marks are records, and he was one yard short of the longest run, breaking off a 53-yarder.

Porter’s squad threw just 12 passes, completing five for 23 yards. One of those completions was to Ensworth senior fullback J.D. Dotson, who also made three tackles on defense and had one carry in the backfield.

Dotson’s father Dewayne was a former standout at Hendersonville High School and Ole Miss before playing three seasons in the National Football League for the Dolphins and Cowboys. The elder Dotson has served as a volunteer assistant coaching linebackers at White House with Porter for several seasons.

Things were different on the East side, as three quarterbacks combined to connect on 23-of-41 passes for 364 yards, but threw four interceptions.  Xavier Hawkins of Knoxville Fulton caught five passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

But Brandon Taylor of Brentwood Academy stole the show on special teams. The speedster had three kick returns for the West for 221 yards, including a long of 100 yards and two touchdowns.

The West team set a game record for points scored (55) and rushing yards with 59 carries for 348, while the East team set a record for total offense with 491. It was the longest game in the history of the series and the highest-scoring, with 94 points and three and a half hours of game action played under college rules.

The West leads the series, 4-3. Porter was an assistant coach for Beech’s Anthony Crabtree in last year’s game.


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