By Kris Freeman, Sports Information Director, White House High School
(WHITE HOUSE) — When the White House Blue Devils return home on Friday night to play Springfield, a special reunion will take place to honor the 20th anniversary of the school’s first state championship in any sport.
During halftime, the school will recognize players, coaches, managers, cheerleaders and support staff of the 1997 Class 3-A Clinic Bowl Champions. White House defeated Memphis Melrose, 30-20, to claim the state title at Vanderbilt Stadium. The 20-year reunion will take place on Friday and all participants will be recognized on the track outside the stadium at halftime.
The team was the first and only athletic squad to complete the season and postseason undefeated in school history. The Region 4-3A champions were 10-0 in the regular season and then ran through five opponents in the playoffs en route to the title game victory, breaking a 29-game winning streak by the Golden Tigers.
Senior quarterback Jonathan Finch and senior lineman Kevin Harris were Mr. Football Finalists in Class 3-A, and Finch won the game’s offensive most valuable player award leading the Devils to four touchdowns. Defensive back Brandon Barker was the defensive MVP with two interceptions. It was the most points allowed all season by Melrose and the first time the Golden Tigers had been behind by double digits. White House jumped out to a 21-0 lead before Melrose climbed back into the game and White House extended the lead.
Melrose was the defending state champion from 1996 and was favored by experts by three touchdowns in the 1997 title game. The Golden Tigers defeated Tyner Academy, 32-12, in the 1996 title game and on the field were 15-0, and then 14-0 heading into the 1997 state championship.
It was the third state title appearance for White House and first victory. The Devils have been to the semifinals in 1998, 2004 and 2008 but failed to return to the state championship. The 2004 team was 13-0 when they lost at Memphis Melrose in the only rematch between the schools since.
The 1997 team started a streak of 21 consecutive victories, which is a school record, which was broken in week seven of the 1998 season in an overtime loss at home to Lipscomb. The 1998 team lost in the semifinals.
For more information on this weekend’s activities, or if you are a member of the team or staff and have not been contacted about being a part of the ceremony, visit the event page on Facebook here.
The 2017 White House Blue Devils are 3-0 and kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium.