PLEASANT VIEW – White House High running back Ronald Honeycutt found a way to be a bit better this week than last.
His best was more than enough against Sycamore as the sophomore carried 24 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns, both career-highs, as the Blue Devils bested the War Eagles, 38-18, at Ralph Spangler Stadium on Friday night.
Honeycutt, who had his previous career-high of 176 yards in a 37-35 win over Lipscomb Academy last week, scored two of his touchdowns in the first half. That helped White House (4-0 overall, 2-0 in District 9-AA) open up a 17-0 first-quarter advantage.
Despite the win, White House lost senior wide receiver Josh Mullins just before halftime. Mullins suffered an apparent elbow injury late in the first half while returning a kickoff.
Mullins was on the ground receiving medical attention for more than 10 minutes before being taken by ambulance.
Blue Devil head coach Jeff Porter did not have a report on Mullins after the game.
“Our offense is playing well right now, and after seeing (Mullins) go down, it made us more focused,” said Honeycutt. “Steven Rankin is playing well at quarterback, and we are doing some good things with our offense right now.”
Sycamore (1-3, 0-2) managed to possess the ball often against a White House defense that gave up 271 yards against Lipscomb Academy during the first half of the contest.
The War Eagles amassed 104 yards on 24 carries in the first half, but White House stiffened in the third frame, holding Sycamore to minus-2 yards on the ground during that time.
White House put up points early and often as Rankin hit Mullins for a 63-yard touchdown pass.
Junior Logan Trimmer successfully connected on the ensuing point-after touchdown (PAT) kick.
After forcing another Sycamore punt, White House went back to work with Honeycutt on the ground.
The Blue Devils received the ball on the Sycamore 48 yard line, and Honeycutt carried the ball on four of the five plays, scoring from 11 yards out.
Things appeared to be in control for White House as Trimmer added a 23-yard field goal that furthered the lead to 17, but that is when Sycamore began to find some traction.
Jacob Gibbs connected with Tristan Binkley for a 10-yard scoring pass that capped off a 15-play, 80-yard drive that pushed the War Eagles to within 17-6 after the missed PAT.
Sycamore managed to keep the drive alive a few times as Peyton Harris pushed his way for four yards on a fourth-and-1 play from the White House 29 yard line that gave his team a fresh set of downs.
Three plays later, Gibbs rolled out and managed to elude the White House defense in a third-and-8 situation, picking up nine yards and the first down.
“We’ve got to get in and look at some film and see where we need to get better,” Porter said. “We’ll have to keep working at it to improve where we’re at defensively, and improve in all areas as well.”
Back to business
After seeing Sycamore convert a couple of first downs, White House took its turn making the same conversions on the ensuing drive.
Rankin hit Mullins for a 28-yard pick up on third down that put the ball into War Eagle territory at the 35 yard line, and three plays later, Honeycutt pushed through the line on third-and-1 from the Sycamore 26 to pick up another first down.
A Rankin pass to Caleb Huffines put the ball on the 11 yard line where Honeycutt once again scored.
Things appeared to be in good shape as Sycamore was forced into a punting situation with 28 seconds before halftime, but the War Eagles faked the punt as the snap went to Gibbs, who was at the upback position. Gibbs hit freshman wideout Darius James for a 64-yard score that closed the gap to within 12, at 24-12.
James, a La Vergne High School transfer, had 130 all-purpose yards for Sycamore. Gibbs passed for 168 yards.
Despite some newfound momentum going into halftime, White House quickly took it right back when the Blue Devils marched 68 yards on six plays.
Junior tailback Trey Hyde carried the ball on four of the six plays with a three-yard touchdown run putting the Blue Devils up 31-12 early in the third.
Hyde set up his score with an 18-yard run from the Sycamore 23.
“It’s still a young season, and we’ve got things to improve on right now,” Porter said. “We are in good shape right now, but we got to get some guys healthy and back in the lineup, which hopefully we’ll have in a few weeks.”
Honeycutt added a 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to push the White House lead to 38-12 before Harris plunged into the end zone from two yards away to round out the scoring.
“Being 4-0 sets up very good for us for the rest of the season, and through our district,” Honeycutt said. “Being undefeated in district is good, but we are looking to win the district so we can get a good seed in the playoffs and really make a postseason run.”
White House will host Springfield on Friday.
WH – Josh Mullins 63 pass from Steven Rankin. Logan Trimmer kick. WH – Ronald Honeycutt 11 run. Trimmer kick. WH – Trimmer 23 field goal. S – Tristan Binkley 10 pass from Jacob Gibbs. Kick failed. WH – Honeycutt 11 run. Trimmer kick. S – Darius James 64 pass from Gibbs. Run failed. WH – Trey Hyde 3 run. Trimmer kick. WH – Honeycutt 12 run. Trimmer kick. S – Peyton Harris 2 run. Kick blocked.
White House – Ronald Honeycutt 24-177, Trey Hyde 6-37, Troy Raymond 2-17, Steven Rankin 1-(-2).
Sycamore – Peyton Harris 19-61, Darius James 10-43, Jacob Gibbs 7-37, Tristan Binkley 2-7, Caleb LaMontagne 1-2, Mack Waddell 1-(-7).
White House – Steven Rankin 8-17-0 178.
Sycamore – Jacob Gibbs 9-16-1 168.
White House – Josh Mullins 2-91, Luke Hopkins 1-34, Chris Baldwin 1-18, Caleb Huffines 1-12, Logan Trimmer 1-11, Brian Mullins 1-7, Trey Hyde 1-5.
Sycamore – Darius James 2-87, Waylon Stotts 3-37, Peyton Harris 1-19, Tristan Binkley 1-10, Caleb LaMontagne 2-15.