White House Football
2014 Season Recap
By Kris Freeman for www.whitehousefootball.com
Another trip to the Class 4-A quarterfinals has become quite the norm for the White House Blue Devils, and the 2014 team made it five straight years in the third round of the playoffs. While mirroring the postseason success of the past four years, it was not done without a roller coaster of success and falling short until a team with determination turned the corner in the final three weeks of the season to finish with a flurry.
White House placed third in the final season in District 9-AA, with disappointing regular season losses to Westmoreland cross-town rival White House Heritage and starting the season 4-0. But that was balanced with an thrilling overtime loss at Pope John Paul II in week 10 which lit the fuse for a postseason run.
The flurry ended in bizarre fashion. White House put 36 points on a powerful Pearl-Cohn team and by all offensive accounts appeared to play well enough to earn a trip to the semifinals. However, the Firebirds at home in Nashville clicked on all cylinders in a record-breaking night, never letting off the gas pedal in a 79-36 victory. It was the most points surrendered by a White House team in school history for the regular season or postseason. Still, a tough end for the Blue Devils proved the tenure of a White House team well beyond its projections.
White House scored 31.2 points per game and allowed 22.6. The offense was extremely balanced, with 3,967 total yards and over 1,800 through the air. The Devils were plus six on turnover ratio, and scored 90 percent of the time in the red zone. White House was 49 percent on third down conversions while allowing just 38 percent. The defense gave up 4,103 yards but was stingy in the red zone at just 79 percent for the season, keeping the Blue Devils in the winning column eight times.
Junior Steven Rankin completed 103-of-190 passes for 1,765 yards with 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Trey Hyde and Ronald Honeycutt both rushed for over 900 yards each in the backfield, both battling injury at times, and scored a combined 24 touchdowns. Luke Hopkins was the leading receiver with 21 catches for 369 yards but tight end Logan Trimmer hauled in 20 receptions with four touchdowns.
The return game was a plus with both Hyde and senior Chris Baldwin setting records on returns of 98 and 96 yards for touchdowns. The kicking game had 41 touchbacks in 75 kickoffs between Trimmer and senior Dillon Anderson, and Trimmer punted 36 times for a 36.1 average with 16 kicks inside the red zone. Hyde led the team in scoring with 106.
Hyde was also the leading tackler with 134 stops followed by James Whitby and Hopkins with 103 and 102. The top six tacklers, including Denis Schaffer, Tanner Jordan and Blaiz Phillips are all underclassmen and returning. Trimmer led the team with five sacks, Phillips had 15 tackles for losses, and Baldwin had five interceptions with three blocked kicks and six passes broken up. Schaffer and Whitby both caused three fumbles.
White House held four opponents under 10 points with two shutouts.
White House opened the season with a 35-6 victory at Portland, jumping out to a five-touchdown lead and holding the Panthers under 100 yards of total offense until a late 82-yard run in the fourth quarter to break the shutout. Portland struggled to move the football and became its own worst enemy in the home opener, committing 14 penalties for 138 yards. All but one of the yellow flags (holding) was for unsportsmanlike conduct or illegal procedure. The Panthers were penalized four times on special teams, three of which for late contact and another on the coaching staff. White House had 270 yards of total offense, moving the chains seven times on 12 third downs and committing just five penalties for 25 yards. Sophomore Ronald Honeycutt gained 104 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown in his first start at tailback, and Josh Flynn rushed 13 times for 71 yards and two scores.
White House 32, Greenbrier 18
A missed extra point kept the game tied with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but it was White House which seized all the momentum in a 32-18 win at Greenbrier. The Blue Devils’ Troy Raymond and Ronald Honeycutt broke touchdown runs of 34 and 29 yards, respectively, in the final three minutes to seal the game after Greenbrier marched the length of the field to tie it, and missed its second point-after of the game. Leading 12-10 in the third quarter, Greenbrier’s Christian Warren had an attempt blocked by James Whitby. But with the chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter, Warren booted the point after wide left to keep it 18-18. Greenbrier had captured the flow of the game with an impressive 15-play, 80-yard drive to knot the score when Paul Gonser rumbled in from seven yards out.
Logan Trimmer’s 22-yard field goal with 10 seconds left lifted the White House Blue Devils to a 37-35 victory. Trimmer played nearly the entire game at tight end, defensive end, punter and kicker, and got his chance to put the win away after the Blue Devils moved it to the Mustangs’ 4-yard-line on fourth down and one. After a pair of timeouts, he booted his third field goal of the night perfectly through the uprights. Trimmer also connected on the opening drive, and at the buzzer for halftime.
A bizarre twist in the game happened on two occasions. First, it was Lipscomb Academy building a 14-3 lead on a 79-yard touchdown run by William Phillips, and a 41-yard touchdown pass from Sy Taylor. Two fumbles later, White House had scored 31 straight points and took a 34-14 lead into the fourth quarter. Then, Ronald Honeycutt rushed 35 times for 173 yards and two touchdowns to lead White House to 276 yards on the ground and 436 total in the game. But when the Mustangs cut the margin to 34-21 in the fourth, two crucial fumbles eventually surrendered the lead for the Devils. The first resulted in a touchdown drive to make it 34-28, and then Honeycutt’s second fumble came with White House at the Lipscomb 28 with three minutes left. Rutger Reitmeyer, a defensive lineman, picked it up and rumbled 68 yards to the endzone and Chad Newby’s extra point made it 35-34. White House methodically marched from the 20, with junior Steven Rankin leading the offense. A 28-yard strike to Luke Hopkins put it at the 27, then Caleb Huffines caught a 10-yarder to make it first down at the 14. Three runs by Trey Hyde put the ball at the 4, and Trimmer kicked the field goal for the final margin.
White House 38, Sycamore 18
A fast first quarter turned into a slow, grind-it-out game and White House remained undefeated with a 38-18 victory at Sycamore. Ronald Honeycutt rushed 24 times for 176 yards and three touchdowns and kept churning until the final horn with the Blue Devils running out the clock in the fourth quarter. Trey Hyde rushed six times for 40 yards and a touchdown, and White House built a 17-0 lead and never looked back. White House now holds a 12-3 series lead over Sycamore but avenged a loss there two years ago when the Devils blew an 18-0 lead and lost 25-18. This time, the game started the same but White House refused to back down after Sycamore cut it to 17-6 in the second quarter.
For a moment, it looked like White House had a chance to get back into the game against Springfield Friday night for Homecoming at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium.
In a 39-8 victory by the Yellow Jackets, that moment for the Blue Devils was slammed shut with authority. Springfield (6-0) stuffed the Blue Devils on 4th-and-goal inside the 2-yard-line leading 15-0 in the second quarter, and rolled to a 39-8 victory and emerged as the only unbeaten team in the non-district matchup. White House was held to 213 total yards with three turnovers. Timmie Barbee rushed 13 times for 55 yards and three touchdowns and added a fourth score on defense, plus a two-point conversion run. Ronald Honeycutt was among the season leaders locally in rushing, but the sophomore was held to 48 yards on 14 carries for the game and shut down at the 3 on the best drive by the Devils. Springfield responded with a nine-play, 97-yard march to make it 22-0, and later added another touchdown before halftime and a 29-0 edge. Midway through the third quarter, Barbee took away a pass reception from Brian Mullins and returned it 40 yards for his fourth touchdown in the game. By then, the mercy rule was placed into effect.
White House Heritage 15, White House 6
The counter punch was a whopper. White House Heritage evened the series with White House with a 15-6 rally victory at Vanderbilt Stadium. White House won the first meeting in 2013 on the same field. After Trent Burian tied the game at 6-6 with a 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for the Patriots, Chris Rippy recovered a Blue Devils’ fumble at the 41-yard-line to set up the winning touchdown. Quarterback Hunter Reyes marched the team 11 plays and 41 yards over a span of 5:28 with Kyle Fuhrer plunging in on second down. Burian’s extra point made it 13-6 with 2:11 left, but the kicker’s magic was not finished. Burian’s squib kick made it inches from the goal line and took a hard left turn, and Brian Mullins was swarmed at the 2-yard-line. On the first play, White House quarterback Steven Rankin threw the ball away incomplete for a safety on intentional grounding. Owen Barry covered the onside kick and the Patriots ran out the clock.
White House 35, Harpeth 0
White House took a step in the right direction with a 35-0 victory over Harpeth. With 22 points in the opening half, White House improved to 5-2, 2-1 and outscored Harpeth 66-0 in two seasons. The win broke a two-game losing streak. In the first of three consecutive home games, the Blue Devils pounded the Indians with 393 total yards and an even distribution of the offense. Junior quarterback Steven Rankin completed 9-of-15 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while Ronald Honeycutt rushed 21 times for 142 yards and a score. Trey Hyde was the star of the game on both sides of the ball, scoring three touchdowns on offense with nine carries for 33 yards and two runs into the endzone, plus a 30-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass. Hyde also led the defense with nine tackles, two for losses, and is the leading tackler for the season for the Blue Devils.
Westmoreland 14, White House 7
A punt snap sailed over the head of Logan Trimmer with 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and the safety led to a 14-7 victory for the Westmoreland Eagles on the road at White House. Trimmer recovered the ball in the endzone amid a swarm of Eagles defenders for the two-point swing, giving Westmoreland an 8-7 lead at the time. Later in the fourth, White House eased up on a 39-yard run by Dylan Todd and essentially allowed him to run untouched to the endzone in hopes of having a chance to tie the game. When Denis Schaffer intercepted Justice Graves on the two-point conversion, the Blue Devils got the ball back with 1:24 to go and no timeouts. A pass from Steven Rankin put White House in Westmoreland territory at the 49 on a sliding catch by Luke Hopkins, but the Eagles defense held on four incomplete passes. The final gasp came with 22 seconds left when Rankin was nearly sacked and threw incomplete to an offensive lineman for a declined penalty on fourth down Westmoreland’s win was the first over White House since 1991, giving the Eagles a leg up on second place in District 9-AA.
White House 56, Cheatham County 7
It was senior night for the White House Blue Devils, but a junior stole the spotlight before the majority of his teammates hit the field. Trey Hyde broke four tackles and sprinted 98 yards to the endzone on the opening kickoff to set a school record, and White House rolled to a 56-7 victory over Cheatham County. Hyde also rushed 15 times for 104 yards and made five tackles on defense. Junior quarterback Steven Rankin was 6-of-10 passing for 150 yards and four touchdowns, but a senior coming back was a big boost. Injured against Sycamore, Josh Mullins returned to catch two passes for 109 yards, both touchdowns of 69 and 40 yards. He missed four and a half games after leaving in an ambulance before halftime in week four. Rankin’s career best touchdown night was one short of the school record, as Jonathan Finch (1997) and Trox Greenwade (2008) both had five touchdown passing nights against DeKalb County. The Blue Devils had 363 yards of total offense and never punted, scoring a touchdown on every single possession. The Devils led 21-0, then 42-7 at the half, and held Cheatham County to 159 total yards. The Cubs were 3-of-8 on third down and 0-for-1 on fourth down when a botched fake punt went the wrong direction on a fumble. White House, meanwhile, completed 6-of-7 third down conversions and the only time needing a fourth down conversion, Raymond made it on a fake punt. Hyde opened the scoring with the 98-yard kick return. Rankin then hit junior Logan Trimmer for 20 yards and a 14-0 lead. Mullins scored on a 40-yarder and it was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Pope John Paul II 42, White House 41 (OT)
A two-point pass attempt fell incomplete in overtime Friday night as the White House Blue Devils surrendered a 21-point lead and fell 42-41 at Pope John Paul.
The Knights scored with 20 seconds left in the game on Quer’darius Hunter’s fourth touchdown run of the night and Jackson Morris kicked the extra point for a 35-35 tie at the end of regulation. In overtime, Hunter broke left on the first play and the 10-yard touchdown was his fifth of the night. Morris hit the kick for a 42-35 lead. White House struggled to run the ball on the first two plays, but quarterback Steven Rankin connected on 3rd-and-14 after a five-yard penalty. His throw to Brian Mullins pulled White House to within one. White House chose to go for two and win the game and the pass attempt was broken up at the goalline, intended for Luke Hopkins. It was Pope John Paul’s first and only lead of the game.
The loss overshadowed a record-breaking night for White House as senior Chris Baldwin had 196 yards in touchdown returns. With the Blue Devils leading 7-0 in the second quarter, Baldwin intercepted a Ben Brooks pass with one foot on the goalline and raced 100 yards for the touchdown, sprung by a key block from junior Luke Hopkins, who leveled Brooks in the middle of the field at the 30-yard-line.
Baldwin’s play was the longest play in White House history, dating back to 1943. The longest offensive play remains a 99-yard run by Phillip Harris against Portland. But Baldwin was not done, and broke another record by becoming the first player to return a kick and an interception for a touchdown in the same game.
White House 35, Creek Wood 0
November in White House carries a common theme: the grass turns brown, the leaves fall, the temps drop and the Blue Devils win a playoff game. For the 19th time in 23 consecutive trips to the postseason, White House advanced to the second round with a 35-0 dominating shut out of Creek Wood. Trey Hyde rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns and had 10 tackles on defense, and Chris Baldwin created three turnovers which all led to touchdowns with a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery. James Whitby led the White House defense with 17 tackles and a fumble caused, and despite allowing 277 total yards, it was the first playoff shutout since 2008 (Chattanooga East Ridge) and 2004 (Overton), and only the third playoff shutout since 1989.
Junior tailback Trey Hyde carried on a proud White House Blue Devils tradition of running the football in the playoffs, and his teammates avenged a recent playoff loss with a 39-21 domination of Giles County in the second round. After losing 34-10 in the 2013 Class 4-A quarterfinals, the Blue Devils ended this game early with a 19-0 halftime lead and never allowed Giles County to come close than three scores in the second half. Hyde rushed 29 times for 232 yards and two touchdowns, a season and career best, and ripped off a 56-yard run for his season high. Since taking over the tailback duties, Hyde has four straight 100-yard plus games. The victory advanced White House to the Class 4-A quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive season, and 18th time in the quarterfinals since 1986.
Pearl-Cohn 79, White House 36
Second-seeded Pearl-Cohn erupted for 681 yards of total offense, rolling to a 79-36 victory over visiting White House in a Class 4A quarterfinal. The Firebirds scored on their first 10 possessions before failing on their 11th and final offensive series. Groves caught seven passes for 251 yards, including touchdowns of 36, 41, 58 and 72 yards. Ferrell completed all 15 of his pass attempts for 391 yards and five touchdowns, and Vaughn rushed for 170 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries. Pearl-Cohn scored the first 28 points and led 55-21 at halftime as Gordon caught a 21-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the half. The Blue Devils (8-5) didn’t get any closer than 21 points after falling into the 28-point deficit. White House junior tailback Trey Hyde rushed for 101 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries.