By Karl Hawes for The News Examiner
NASHVILLE The White House and Maplewood prep football teams battled for a playoff berth on Friday night in a win-or-go-home game at Black Cat Stadium.
It was the Panthers that came away with a 14-6 victory, leaving White House out of the playoffs for the first time since 1991.
“I thought we played hard tonight,” Blue Devil head coach Jeff Porter said. “We gave ourselves a chance at the end, and the kids played their hearts out all night.”
White House (4-6 overall, 1-4 in Region 5-4A) was able to jump out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to a 38-yard field goal by senior Logan Trimmer. The Blue Devils started the drive on the Panther 24 yard line after a Brian Mullins interception and subsequent penalty on the return.
However, their lead would be short-lived as the Panthers took the lead with 4:36 remaining in the half, driving 39 yards on five plays.
“Giving those guys a short field is huge,” Porter said. “They’re a team that you just don’t want to give momentum to, and that’s what we did.”
Maplewood (3-7, 2-3) took advantage of a short field to take a 14-3 lead as they recovered a fumble by senior quarterback Steven Rankin on the Blue Devil 27 yard line on the first possession of the second half.
“They are a different football team when they have a short field,” Porter said. “You have to give them credit for taking advantage of it both times tonight.”
Despite being down late in the game, the Blue Devils pumped new life into their comeback attempt after a punt block by senior Ricky Townsend gave them the ball on the Panther 19 yard line. However, the Blue Devils would have to settle for another Trimmer field goal, this time from 40 yards out to make it a one-possession game at 14-6.
White House had one last drive with 3:11 remaining in the game and were able to move to the Panther 21 yard line before a fourth-and-9 pass fell incomplete with 13 seconds remaining.
“I hate this for our kids, and it’s a tough pill to swallow,” Porter said. “I hate it for our fans and coaching staff as well, but most importantly, I hate it for the kids. Nineteen of them don’t get to come back next year, and this isn’t the way we hoped it would turn out.”
WH – Logan Trimmer 38 kick. M – Bo Hodges 12 pass from Bobo Hodges. Olajujunn Mannion kick. M – Jeremy McDowell 3 run. Mannion kick. WH – Trimmer 40 kick.
White House – Ronald Honeycutt 7-26, Preston Long 10-16, Austin Grissom 1-5, Denis Schaffer 1-5, Ricky Townsend 1-2, Steven Rankin 8-(-7)
Maplewood – Jeremy McDowell 24-108, Bobo Hodges 7-39, Deshawn Johnson 2-10, Terrill Lenox 3-7
White House – Rankin 11-29-116-3, Luke Hopkins 0-1-0-0
Maplewood – Bobo Hodges 6-15-65-1
White House – Hopkins 6-56, Townsend 1-25, Grissom 1-20, Schaffer 1-13, Noah Burden 1-7, Logan Trimmer 1-(-5)
Maplewood – Bo Hodges 3-57, McDowell 2-9, Corey Adams 1-(-1)