By Karl Hawes for The News Examiner
WHITE HOUSE – While there were plenty of emotions stirring at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium on Friday Night, the host Blue Devils ensured that suspense would not be one of them.
On a night when the team wore pink jerseys to raise awareness and money for the American Cancer Society, White House sent their seniors out with a 56-7 victory over visiting Cheatham County.
The senior recognition happened only minutes before the Blue Devils scored their first touchdown as they only needed 16 seconds to break through on the scoreboard as junior Trey Hyde took the opening kickoff 99 yards to the end zone, setting a school record in the process.
“That was a huge momentum play for us to start the game,” White House head coach Jeff Porter said.
The Cubs started well on their opening drive when senior quarterback Ryan Christmas hooked up with fellow senior Maxwell Lynch for an 8-yard completion on their first play from scrimmage. However, the White House defense didn’t allow a first down and forced the Cubs to punt.
“We didn’t make things easy on ourselves tonight,” Cheatham County head coach Brian Mintz said. “We come out and give up a big play to open the game and then we aren’t able to get two yards on two plays.”
Things would quickly go downhill from that point for the Cubs as the Blue Devils were able to march 55 yards to extend their lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Logan Trimmer from classmate Steven Rankin.
After a quick three-and-out series for the Cubs, White House once again changed the scoreboard. It was Rankin finding a wide open Josh Mullins for a 40-yard touchdown.
It was Mullins’ first game back after suffering an elbow injury in White House’s fourth game of the season.
“We were very excited to have Josh back,” Porter said. “It was great to see him back on the field this soon.”
Cheatham County (0-9 overall, 0-5 in District 9-AA) was able to draw closer to the Blue Devils on their ensuing possession as they put together an impressive drive that culminated in a 5-yard touchdown run by senior Nathaniel Jock to close the margin to 21-7.
On a night where the Blue Devils were never forced to punt, they were able to answer the Cubs score with a 10-play drive that saw Rankin find senior wide receiver Caleb Huffines for a 3-yard touchdown to push the lead back to 21 points.
The first of two interceptions on the night for Christmas led to a quick scoring drive by White House as junior Luke Hopkins ran 6 yards for the score.
After a Cheatham County punt with only 48 seconds remaining in the first half, White House would only need one play after an offsides penalty on the Cubs. Rankin hooked up with Mullins for the second time as he hit the streaking receiver in stride for a 69-yard touchdown to give the Blue Devils a 42-7 lead at halftime.
Rankin finished the first half with four touchdown passes.
“We were able to make some plays in the first half and have some positive plays in our passing game,” Porter said.
The White House defense quickly ended any hope that the Cubs may have had for any second-half comeback as Hopkins picked off his second pass of the night and the Blue Devils were once again able to capitalize on the turnover when senior Ian Willis muscled his way into the end zone.
“They have a great team over there,” Mintz said. “You can’t afford to make mistakes against a quality team like that.”
White House (6-3, 4-2) capped the scoring off as another senior was able to make a contribution. This time it was Houston Stone who plowed through Cub defenders to seal the victory for the Blue Devils.
The touchdown runs for Willis and Stone both covered 1 yard.
“I was really excited to see some seniors make some plays for us in the second half,” Porter said.
White House closes out the regular season with a trip to Hendersonville on Friday, facing Pope John Paul II.
Cheatham County plays at Westmoreland on Thursday evening.
WH – Trey Hyde 99 kickoff return. Dillon Anderson kick. WH – Logan Trimmer 20 pass from Steven Rankin. Anderson kick. WH – Josh Mullins 40 pass from Rankin. Anderson kick CC – Nathaniel Jock 5 run. Maxwell Lynch kick. WH – Caleb Huffines 3 pass from Rankin. Anderson kick. WH – Luke Hopkins 6 run. Anderson kick. WH – Mullins 69 pass from Rankin. Anderson kick. WH – Ian Willis 1 run. Anderson kick. WH – Houston Stone 1 run. Austin Rutherford kick.
Cheatham County – Nathaniel Jock 9-46, Matthew Horton 14-14, Landon Barnes 3-13, Ryan Christmas 2-8, Maxwell Lynch 1-(-11).
White House – Trey Hyde 13-95, Preston Long 3-30, Jordan Tanner 2-24, Troy Raymond 3-20, Steven Rankin 3-17, Luke Hopkins 1-6, Ian Willis 3-5, Houston Stone 3-3.
Cheatham County – Ryan Christmas 8-12-2 91.
White House – Steven Rankin 6-11-0 150, Luke Hopkins 1-2-0 14.
Cheatham County – Maxwell Lynch 3-36, Nathaniel Jock 3-35, Kevin Bennett 2-20.
White House – Josh Mullins 2-109, Logan Trimmer 3-38, Caleb Huffines 2-17.