By Kris Freeman, White House Football
PLEASANT VIEW – The White House Blue Devils broke a three-game losing streak and released a month’s worth of frustration Friday night with a 19-6 victory at Sycamore.
Quarterback Steven Rankin returned to the lineup for the first time since week one, and backup quarterback Luke Hopkins came back and returned to his primary position at wide receiver. The balance helped White House strike on the first play of the game for a long touchdown pass called back on a penalty, but junior tailback Preston Long broke free on the second play.
Long scampered 48 yards to the endzone down the visitor sideline and the Blue Devils took a 6-0 lead and never looked back.
Despite Long rushing 10 times for 87 yards and recovering a fumble on defense, he was one of three White House tailbacks injured in the contest. Starter Trey Hyde was lost for the season in the Greenbrier contest, and Long, Ronald Honeycutt and Josh Flynn all suffered game-ending injuries. Sophomore Landon Deming helped ice away the game in the fourth quarter as the fifth back to carry alongside fullback Austin Grissom.
“We have experienced some tough times the last few weeks,” said White House head coach Jeff Porter. “It was exciting to see our kids have something to celebrate and smile about after the game.
“But we have battled injuries a lot this year, and we have some kids who probably never expected that they would have to play in a game like this that really stepped up tonight.”
White House improved to 3-3 for the season but remains 0-2 in Region 5-4A. Traveling to surprising Macon County next Friday night, WHHS needs a region win to solidify a chance at the postseason. Macon County is 3-2 overall and 1-1 in 5-4A competition. Sycamore fell to 4-2.
“We are going to face a really good team next Friday night and perhaps the best quarterback in the region,” Porter said. “That is a tough place to play and we are going to have to be ready.”
White House rolled to 316 yards of total offense and made 6-of-14 third down conversions, building a 16-0 lead.
Long’s run left it 6-0 in the first quarter after the snap sailed over Hopkins’ head on the PAT, never allowing Logan Trimmer to attempt a kick. But Trimmer added a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter for a 9-0 edge, and then Flynn scored from six yards out to make it 16-0 on Trimmer’s kick.
Darius James bolted 29 yards for the touchdown in the third quarter to cut the margin to 16-6 but the Blue Devils snuffed out the two-point conversion pass after a penalty moved the ball to the 18.
Trimmer added a 38-yard field goal for the final margin.
Sycamore had 219 yards of total offense but failed on seven attempts on third down in nine tries. Turnovers played the key role, as the War Eagles Waylon Stotts threw three interceptions and Sycamore lost a fumble.
Rankin completed 7-of-12 for 120 yards for White House and Stotts 7-of-20 for 69 with three picks. Seniors Hopkins, Brian Mullins and Denis Schaffer all had interceptions. Tanner Jordan led the team with seven tackles.
Deming carried 12 times for 49 yards, most of which to set up the Trimmer field goal in the fourth. Honeycutt and Flynn both had 20 yards rushing.
Trimmer caught four passes four 61 yards in the game and made six tackles on defense.