By Kris Freeman for White House High School
WHITE HOUSE – The final tune-up of the preseason schedule was Friday night at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium as the White House Blue Devils hosted Wilson Central in an exhibition jamboree.
Despite the two teams starters playing two a first-half tie, Wilson Central scored after a turnover in the third quarter that put the ball inside the five yard line.
White House forced a three and out on the first series for the Wildcats, with Luke Kelton applying the pressure to the quarterback and Ranen Blackburn breaking up a third down pass.
Unfortunately, the story of the night, on a field that had received rain Friday afternoon, was turnovers and miscues. Senior Reece McAfee ran it for 18 yards on the first three plays of the game, and then Montrel Black gained 10 and a first down, but the ball was stripped and the Wildcats took over.
Brendan Demediuk went deep on the next series and senior Bryson Harper stepped in front of the receiver to pick it off at the 25-yard-line. In total, the teams combined for eight turnovers. Blackburn missed on a long pass to Harper, but broke loose on one of two scrambles for 14 yards and a first down.
Blackburn, who needs just over 1,500 yards this season to break the school record for rushing, ran for 49 yards on two carries in limited action. After just missing Austin Beeson on a long pass attempt downfield, Blackburn then ran to the same spot with a 35-yard carry as the first quarter came to a close. Reece McAfee ended the night with 21 yards rushing as well.
In the second, White House opened with the number twos in the game at the Wilson Central 25. Dylan Frary rushed for three on a quarterback sneak and Keyon Dickerson took it to the 20, but White House lost two on third down and the fourth down pass was incomplete.
Alex Atwell broke free on third down to push the ball out to the 42 for the Wildcats after Braden Garrett came up with a big tackle for loss, and then Keyon Dickerson made an open field tackle on second down and Chris Johnson and Rick Buford shut down the run in the middle of the field to force a punt.
White House fumbled the pitch on the first running play and Wilson Central took over at the 20-yard-line. Atwell rushed for nine to the 11, but Omar Mahmoud forced a four yard loss on second down to end the first half scoreless.
Miguel Cotto rushed for seven on first down with Trey Matthews in at quarterback, then Cotto was stopped for no gain on second down. Matthews threw forward for four yards to Cameron Salmon and the ball bounced off his helmet, but was ruled a lateral as it bounced almost 20 yards back inside the five yard line. Wilson Central took advantage, with Cordell Cagle scoring from four yards out and Esteban Hurtado kicking the extra point.
White House started the next drive at the 30 and Dickerson broke outside right for eight yards on first down and then seven yards on second down. Dickerson had 18 yards on four carries in the game. Cotto ran for 10 yards and a first down but lost the football for White House’s fourth turnover of the night. Cotto rushed for 19 yards on four carries.
Paul Hurt and Jacob Sheppard combined for a huge loss with a sack for 10 yards after a five yard penalty, but the Wildcats got the benefit of a defensive pass interference call on 3rd-and-20. Hurt ended the night with three tackles and a sack. Demone Nelson made four stops.
With the freshmen in for the fourth quarter, Wilson Central drove it to the eight yard line but Isaiah McGill and Ben Reynolds came up with a big sack on fourth down to turn the ball over at the 15.
Jack Smith was intercepted on the first play in the middle of the field, and Wilson Central took over at the White House 27. Reynolds came up with his second tackle for loss. Daniel Monroe came up with a tackle in the middle of the line and then Kenneth Holt made three tackles on the final series.
McGill took the ball away from running back Corey Tyus at the 14 yard line and returned it to the 25. White House got one final possession, including a trio of runs by McGill. He broke free on a busted play after picking up a bobbled snap and carrying the ball near midfield. Smith was blitzed on the final play of the game and intercepted again, and Brady Adams made a touchdown saving tackle to end the game on the interception return.
McGill had 31 yards on three carries.
White House opens the season at home next Friday against Station Camp and Wilson Central travels to Rossview.