By Kris Freeman, Sports Information Director, White House High School
(WHITE HOUSE) – A defensive gem with flares of offensive firepower sent the White House faithful home happy Friday night as the Blue Devils pitched a 35-0 shutout over East Robertson.
Junior Joey Cartwright had seven tackles and three sacks with senior linebacker Tyler McMurtry recording 12 stops and a sack for the hosts, who held the Indians to 79 yards on 49 plays with five sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
It was the first shutout for White House since week two of the 2015 season, a 25-0 win over Goodpasture. White House had two shutouts in 2014, beating Harpeth and Creek Wood both 35-0, and two shutouts in 2013, beating Portland and Harpeth each 31-0.
The victory ended a 13-game losing streak for WHHS in the regular season and was the first meeting in 31 years between the schools just minutes apart. White House last victory was against Macon County in 2015, but there was no doubt about this one from the outset.
Andrew Nixon completed 3-of-6 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and opened the first series with a 20-yard strike to Seth Bumbalough for a 7-0 lead with Jacob Harper’s extra point ending the seven-play, 60-yard drive with 10:37 left in the first quarter. Earlier in the series, White House faced a 3rd-and-9 and Bumbalough went 25 yards around the end for the first down.
“They are huge up front, so we really wanted to create a lot of side-to-side plays in the game tonight,” White House coach Jeff Porter said. “Really, the game changed on the third play. We have something like a 3rd-and-8 and make the big play for the first down and then take it down for a touchdown and that’s what we wanted to establish.
“We were able to get them moving wide and that was big and the jet sweep really opened the game up.”
Carter Hunt recovered a Cameron Swift fumble on the next series, but White House would give it back six plays later on a punt. Hunt made the best of the second opportunity, however, closing a three-and-out by East Robertson with a 33-yard punt return for a score.
Miller Lowe recorded his first career interception and returned it 16 yards to the Indians 15, and Hunt again scored immediately with a 15 yard run to the left corner of the end zone, dragged down across the pilot for the 20-0 edge with one minute left in the first quarter.
East Robertson put together what looked to be its most successful drive of the night with 11 plays, but the series was marred by seven combined penalties and only advanced the ball from their own 34 to their own 42 before a punt. It took White House three plays to cash in as Nixon found Curtis Palmer for 29 yards and then ran in the two-point conversion himself for a 28-0 lead with six minutes to play in the second quarter.
White House recorded back-to-back sacks by Cartwright and McMurtry to force another punt, but Nixon threw an interception with Drake Alsup hauling in the pick at the 10 yard line.
Cameron Casanova returned a punt 12 yards to the East Robertson 20 and Landon Deming scored on the first play with Harper notching the extra point for the eventual halftime score and final, 35-0.
The game was played with a running clock in the second half and neither team scored. Austin Bryant and Noah Hawes recorded sacks in the second half, and Brett Drake picked off a Swift pass.
The Blue Devils were balanced in the run game with 25 carries for 180 yards, led by Will Frazer and Seth Bumbalough with 46 yards each. Deming added 41 and Hunt 31, but both scored a touchdown. Trevor Ivanits ran for an 11-yard first down and Wil Blackburn and Nixon combined for seven yards on the final three carries.
Casanova made a leaping 35-yard reception for the only other catch of the game for White House. WHHS gained 275 yards on 34 plays for the game.
Swift carried 18 times including sacks for the Indians and gained just two yards with Tommy Blakemore leading the way with 41 yards on 11 carries. Swift was 3-of-14 passing for 16 yards and two interceptions.
“Their quarterback is very mobile and he’s a good athlete and we just wanted to get in good position and keep everything pretty squared up on defense,” Porter said. “I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”
Colby Taylor had seven tackles, Josh Dailey six and Eddy Walker five for White House.
The game was marred by 15 penalties for 125 yards combined, plus three flags which were picked up or declined.
White House (1-0) will host Glencliff for Homecoming next Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Colts took it on the chin at Mt. Juliet in week one, 55-0.
“I am just happy for our kids and happy for our program,” Porter said. “They endured a lot last year and tonight is just one game, but it was very important to get a win.
“It was a good thing to see.”
East Robertson (0-1) will try to rebound against Richland.
“We wish Chad (Broadrick) nothing but the best and good luck to them the rest of the season,” Porter explained. “We just wanted to get as many people in during the second half. We challenged our kids at halftime to see if our young kids paid attention in practice this week, and see if they could execute the game plan.”