By Kris Freeman for White House High School
CHARLOTTE – It was clear the White House Blue Devils had one agenda Friday night at undefeated Creek Wood, to attempt to keep the game slow and in the middle of the field.
Despite a solid game plan with a bunch of youngsters in the lineup, White House fell 27-7 to the Red Hawks on senior night in Charlotte. Creek Wood (8-0, 4-0) capitalized on big plays and long drives to salt away the win, with tailback Brandon Porter rushing 13 times for 179 yards and a touchdown.
White House (2-6, 1-3) scored on the final possession of the game, marching 10 plays and 91 yards as senior Evan Shankle plunged into the end zone on a spinning run to the right on third down. Shankle, the starting fullback for White House, was forced into a tailback role Friday night with the Blue Devils nursing injuries and a patch work lineup.
The result was the first career 100-yard rushing game for Shankle with 28 carries for 129 yards and a score. Shankle typically plays every down on offense, defense and special teams, and added five tackles on defense.
But White House only mustered 179 yards total with Dylan Frary completing his only pass to Bryson Harper for 25 yards. It was the first career start at quarterback for the sophomore.
Frary marched the Devils down the field to open the game, managing a consistent run game and taking advantage of a big special teams play and a penalty. On 4th and 5 near midfield, Harper took a bad punt snap and rushed 11 yards, and was hit out of bounds for a 15-yard penalty. But on the next play at the Creek Wood 24, Shankle fumbled and Porter Matlock recovered the ball for the hosts.
Creek Wood responded with a 76-yard drive, but it was a microcosm of the entire night. Four different times in the game, Creek Wood needed more than 20 yards to move the chains, including two times on this drive. In each occurrence, Creek Wood exploded for a big play.
Elijah Donaldson fumbled on first and second down, and then scrambled for 31 yards on third and long. later he connected with Michael Harris for a 37-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-long again.
The Red Hawks got the first of two field goals by Gerardo Velasco to make it 10-0 at the half, nailing the 30-yarder in the second quarter from the left hash.
Creek Wood scored on the first drive of the third quarter when White House could not recover the pooch kickoff for just 13 yards.
Creek Wood went eight plays and 53 yards, and the Red Hawks continued to be successful on conversions. The hosts were 6-of-8 on third down while White House was 1-of-8. The lead grew to 17-0 on a 14-yard run by Porter.
Velasco added a short field goal in the third quarter to add to the lead, 20-0, and then Creek Wood drove 10 plays and 72 yards for the final margin when Donaldson ran it in on the roll out for a two-yard touchdown. Velasco was 3-of-3 on PAT.
Creek Wood had just six possessions in the game and scored on five, punting once. The Hawks added 390 yards of total offense, but were hurt by eight penalties for 85 yards. Donaldson was under pressure for much of the night but escaped and did not get sacked or turn over the football, completing 6-of-13 passes for 121 yards and a score, all six to a different receiver. He also ran six times for 37 yards.
White House methodically closed the game with a scoring drive, the big plays a 48-yard run by Shankle to put him over the 100-yard mark, and a 25-yard strike by Frary to Harper in the middle of the field.
White House had three defenders with 10 tackles including Cole Pitt, Rhys Blackburn and Layne Jenkins, while Pierce Scholato and Bryson Harper each had six tackles, Luke Kelton five and Sam Abshire four.
White House travels to Montgomery Central next week for a matchup with the Indians. At 2-6, the Blue Devils are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot with games at Central and hosting against Greenbrier remaining. White House would need to beat both teams and see where the standings fall to make the playoffs. Greenbrier and White House Heritage are battling for third, while Creek Wood and Springfield will play in week 10 for the region title.
Evan Shankle completed his first career 100-yard rushing game in his first start at tailback.
Evan Shankle scored his first touchdown.
Evan Shankle needs four tackles for the 100 tackle plateau for the season.
White House was playing without junior quarterback Ranen Blackburn, junior tailback Montrel Black and junior receiver Reece McAfee. The three have accounted for over 90 percent of the team’s offense for the season and 93 percent of the rushing offense.
Creek Wood takes the overall series lead at 3-2 in five games. White House won in 2014 and 2017, and Creek Wood has won from 2018-2020.
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Photos by Angelene Cotto-Santiago and Brooklyn Sharber