By Kris Freeman, Sports Information Director, White House High School
(PLEASANT VIEW) – The story of the season for the White House Blue Devils has been stiff defense and big plays on offense, and the narrative stayed the same Friday in a 42-6 dominating win at Sycamore.
The methodical War Eagles rushed just 30 times for 78 yards and had only 145 total for the game, mounting a single scoring drive in the third quarter after a White House fumble inside their own territory.
For White House, it was just the opposite. Junior quarterback Andrew Nixon had his best night of the season with 10-of-16 completions for 200 yards and three touchdowns, including strikes of 49 and 48 yards to senior Seth Bumbalough. The wideout has been a big play threat in all three phases of the game this season, and ended the contest with five catches for 142 yards and two scores, rushed once for five yards, and had five tackles with two passes broken up. Bumbalough is also the leading scorer on the team for the year.
Preston Sharber rushed seven times for 42 yards and a score, and Will Frazer added 22 yards and a touchdown. White House built a 22-0 lead at the half and extended it to 42-6 by the end of the third quarter for the eventual final.
“The big thing about tonight is that Sycamore is an attacking defense with their blitz package, so we felt like we could spread the ball out a little bit,” White House head coach Jeff Porter said. “Seth was able to make some big plays, but he was the MVP of our football team last year. He’s a good player, but an even better person, and our kids look to his leadership on the field. He is a big weapon for us.”
White House had 304 yards of total offense and was extremely efficient moving the football in pressure situations. The Blue Devils converted 7-of-9 on third down, but both times they failed on third down, White House then made the fourth down play on a scoring drive.
Meanwhile, the defense again won the turnover battle, forcing three drops by the War Eagles, two recovered by White House. Tyler McMurtry led to the first score of the game with a 16-yard fumble recovery return after a mishandled snap. Later, Kevin James recovered a fumble at midfield in the third quarter.
White House held Sycamore to 4-of-11 on third down and has allowed just 22.4 percent of third downs all season while converting 45.5 percent on offense. The White House defense has allowed just 8.6 points and 157.6 yards per game and is plus-seven in turnover ratio.
“I thought Sycamore did a good job of moving the football, but that may not show up on the scoreboard,” Porter added. “We are going to have to do a better job up front next week and play better. But being able to flip the field on third down is big in high school football.
“Conversely, when we can convert third downs and fourth downs and keep the defense off the field and rested, that is a very big stat for us.”
Sharber opened the scoring with 3:26 left in the first quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run, capped by the Jacob Harper extra point for a 7-0 lead. Attempting a quarterback sneak needing just inches for the first down, Nixon broke a run outside for 11 yards and a touchdown with 11:10 remaining in the second. He ran in the two-point conversion for the 15-0 edge.
Nixon hit Bumbalough for 49 yards and a touchdown with 3:52 left in the second for a 22-point lead at halftime.
After Nixon lost a shotgun snap in the third, Sycamore converted the short field into points. Jeremiah Ivey completed just 6-of-12 passes for 50 yards in the game, but connected on his longest pass of the night when Trevor Gagnon bumped out of coverage and caught a 25-yard route in the middle of the endzone. Miller Lowe blocked the extra point.
But the Blue Devils cashed in three more times in the third with an 8-yard strike from Nixon to Kevin James for a 28-6, then hit Bumbalough in stride for 48 yards and a 35-6 lead. The final score of the night came from Frazer on one yard out, after Nixon found Drake on a brilliant reception inside the two on third and long.
Hidden in the box score was junior Jacob Harper who converted all three of his extra point attempts and kicked not only his first touchback on a kickoff for the season, but three total in the game.
“There is a goal board in our locker room and we have been in the blue category on special teams every game this season,” Porter explained. “Good things are happening in the kicking game, but we did give up a couple of long returns in the second half and changed the field position. Jacob did a good job kicking tonight and continues to convert extra points.”
White House heads to Portland in week seven to face the 2-4 Panthers, who have two region wins and are 2-1 inside Region 5-4A. White House is 5-0 (1-0) having already held a bye week. White House and Portland are tied 24-24 all-time.
“Rivalry aside, the most important thing is, they have two region wins and we have to continue to catch them,” Porter said. “This begins a stretch of five region games for us and they have a lot of momentum coming off tonight’s win over White House Heritage. That is going to be an exciting atmosphere next Friday night and we have to be ready to play.”