News Examiner: White House at Pope John Paul II (Preview)

By Staff Reports for The News Examiner

White House (6-3) at Pope John Paul II (2-7)

pope john paul iiKickoff at 7 p.m. at the Jim Carell Athletic Complex

Last week: White House captured a 56-7 victory over visiting Cheatham County. Pope John Paul II suffered a 42-7 loss at Montgomery Bell Academy.

Last meeting between the two programs: The visiting Knights captured an 18-10 victory over the Blue Devils last season.

The two teams have little to play for as the contest will have minimal impact on their postseason fate.

The Blue Devils may have more at stake as a win or loss could impact their seeding. White House will be an at-large team in Class 4A playoffs, and thus, the outcome could determine whether or not the Blue Devils will host a first-round game. The top four seeds in each quadrant host first-round contests.

The Knights finished at the bottom of the seven-team Division II-Class AA East/Middle Region standings. PJP II will face the No. 4 seed from the East/Middle Region – either Baylor or Montgomery Bell Academy – in its playoff opener next Friday.

The two teams were in a similar situation last year, with the Knights having just three wins and White House bringing just one loss. However, it was PJP II that emerged with an 18-10 victory, limiting the Blue Devils to 118 total yards.

Both offenses have experienced success this season, much of which has come in the passing game.

Knight sophomore quarterback Ben Brooks has 1,487 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, completing 56 percent of his pass attempts. He has also thrown 10 interceptions.

PJP II sophomore Jermaine Mason (39 receptions, 503 yards, two touchdowns) and senior Jacob Catignani (35-475-6) have been Brooks’ favorite targets, and junior tailback Quer’Derius Hunter has rushed for 883 yards and nine touchdowns.

However, the Knights are allowing an average of 39 points and 402 yards per game.

PJP II is looking to snap a seven-game losing skid.

White House piled up a season-high 56 points last week, and the Blue Devils have scored 30 points or more six times this season.

Blue Devil junior quarterback Steven Rankin has completed 54 percent of this passes, resulting in 1,252 yards, 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

His big-play target – senior wide receiver Josh Mullins – returned from an elbow injury last week and caught two of Rankin’s four touchdown passes, receptions of 40 and 69 yards. Mullins has 10 catches for 400 yards, and five of those receptions have resulted in touchdowns.

White House sophomore tailback Ronald Honeycutt (152-835-8) did not play last Friday after leaving the team’s game against Westmoreland two weeks ago with an injury. However, Honeycutt was in uniform.

Last year’s meeting was the only time the two programs have played.

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