By Karl Hawes for The News Examiner
WHITE HOUSE – The White House High School football program continued its opening-round playoff dominance with a 35-0 win over visiting Creek Wood last Friday evening at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium.
The win improved White House to 26-7 overall in opening-round playoff games.
The fourth-seeded Blue Devils relied on an opportunistic defense that caused four Red Hawks turnovers and watched their offense take advantage of favorable field position.
“I thought we played a complete game tonight,” White House head coach Jeff Porter said. “Our kids played well in all three phases of the game.”
After a quick three-and-out series to open the game, the Blue Devils were able to pin fifth-seeded Creek Wood on its own 3 yard line for their opening drive of the game thanks to a 53-yard punt by junior Logan Trimmer.
That punt would loom large just four plays later as junior Brennan Harshaw and senior Emmett Cannon were able to penetrate the Red Hawk blocking and block an Ian Spence punt.
The Blue Devils only needed two plays to go 15 yards as junior tailback Trey Hyde scampered 6 yards for the first score of the night.
“White House came out and played well from the start,” Creek Wood head coach Chuck Daniel said. “They won the field position battle all night. That made it tough for us.”
White House had a 75-yard drive on its next possession, which was highlighted by a 27-yard run by Hyde to once again get the Blue Devils in the red zone. Hyde capped with his second score of the night as he found the end zone from 10 yards out to create a 14-point margin.
“I thought Trey played very well tonight,” Porter said. “He does a great job for us playing on both sides of the ball.”
The Red Hawks answered back with their best drive of the night as they marched down to the Blue Devil 17 yard line behind a host of Red Hawk runners, led by a 29 yard run by freshmen Ethan Griffin.
However, they were unable to convert on a fourth-down play deep in Blue Devil territory.
It appeared as though White House was going to seize control of the game as they drove 75 yards and had a first-and-goal situation on the Creek Wood 8 yard line before a fumble by junior tailback Tanner Jordan gave the Red Hawks new life.
Creek Wood (6-5) couldn’t make anything happen with its final two possessions of the half as the visitors were able to cross midfield as time expired.
“We got behind the sticks too many times in the first half,” Daniel said. “That forced us to go away from what we are good at.”
The two teams opened the second half by trading punts, but an interception of a Spence pass by senior Chris Baldwin jump-started the Blue Devil offense.
The first play from scrimmage after the turnover saw senior wide receiver Caleb Huffines make a one-handed catch down the sideline on a pass from junior quarterback Steve Rankin for a 40-yard touchdown to extend the White House lead.
On the next play, Blue Devil junior linebacker James Whitby caused a Kyle Klotz fumble that Baldwin recovered.
Hyde once again carried the load for White House as he got the Blue Devils down to the 1 yard line, where Rankin was able to bull his way into the end zone.
“We are a running team and use play action in our passing game,” Daniel said. “White House did a great job taking advantage when they could and forced us away from strengths.”
The scoring ended with a 23-yard run by White House sophomore tailback Ronald Honeycutt, who returned to action after being sidelined with an injury that he had sustained on Oct. 17 (in a 14-7 loss to visiting Westmoreland).
“I was glad to Honeycutt get back in there and run well,” Porter said. “I’m thankful that we get to practice on Monday and play again next week.”
The Blue Devils won their third consecutive game and will get to host eighth-seeded Giles County in Friday’s second round. Giles County (5-6) upset top-seeded Marshall County on Friday, winning by a 38-35 score.
White House’s 2013 season ended with a 34-10 loss to visiting Giles County, which finished as the state runner-up.
>> The fans for both teams observed a moment of silence for the affected families of the two Portland High teenagers who lost their lives in a car accident days earlier. More than $1,000 was raised for the affected families.
Creek Wood 0 0 0 0 – 0
White House 14 0 14 7 – 35
WH – Trey Hyde 6 run. Dillon Anderson kick. WH – Hyde 10 run. Anderson kick. WH – Caleb Huffines 40 pass from Steven Rankin. Anderson kick. WH – Rankin 1 run. Anderson kick. WH – Ronald Honeycutt 23 run. Anderson kick.
First Downs 15 13
Rushes-yards 33-171 35-215
Comp-Att-Int 8-22-3 6-10-1
Passing yards 105 95
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Punts-Avg. 4-33 3-42
Penalties-yards 5-60 1-15
Creek Wood –Ethan Griffin 4-56, Kyle Klotz 10-36, Toby Weaver 5-31, Ian Spence 9-21, Mathis Duncan 3-15, Derek Sutton 2-12.
White House – Trey Hyde 18-127, Ronald Honeycutt 10-65, Troy Raymond 3-15, Tanner Jordan 2-5, Steven Rankin 2-3.
Creek Wood – Ian Spence 8-22-3 105.
White House – Steven Rankin 6-10-1 95.
Creek Wood – Mathis Duncan 3-47, Zach Harris 1-37, Jonathan McCloud 1-12, Derek Sutton 1-5, Kyle Klotz 2-4.
White House – Caleb Huffines 3-72, Logan Trimmer 2-21, Josh Mullins 1-2.