By Kris Freeman for White House High School
GREENBRIER – Senior Ranen Blackburn eclipsed the 3,000-yard career rushing mark and accounted for three touchdowns Friday night as the White House Blue Devils rumbled through Greenbrier with a 20-6 victory.
The story of the night was the Devils offensive and defensive line, setting the table for two 100-yard rushers on offense and holding the Bobcats to 141 yards total, with four sacks, two turnovers and three fourth down stops.
Despite a number of powerful and talented weapons on the Greenbrier side, it was the collective effort of the Blue Devils which led to 118 yards rushing for Blackburn and 100 yards for senior teammate Reece McAfee. It was his first career 100-yard game in just his second start at tailback.
White House (1-1) comes back home next week to face Cheatham County, and Greenbrier fell to 0-2 for the season after being shut out by Springfield in week one.
After quarterback Braxton Laney fumbled the first snap of the game for a loss of five, he went deep to top target Derek Taylor on second and third down. But each time, Cade Hutcherson and Mathew Miller swatted away the pass. Miller had five tackles and four pass break-ups, Hutcherson broke up four passes, and senior Amarion Lucas broke up three.
All night long, the Devils put defensive pressure on Laney, but the offensive side of the ball struck on the first play of the game. Blackburn split the middle untouched for a 35-yard touchdown run and with Bryson Harper’s kick, White House led 7-0 before the 10-minute mark of the first quarter.
When Rhys Blackburn and his teammates rushed the punter in the second quarter, causing a 14-yard ground-ball punt, White House struck on the first play again. This time it was a beautiful outside shoulder throw to Harper in the right corner of the end zone for 31 yards and a 14-0 edge.
That lead looked secure before the half, but White House attempted a quick kick on fourth down at midfield that barely crossed the line of scrimmage, and Greenbrier cashed in. Trevarious Flood rushed for 50 yards inside the 5, and Laney scored two plays later on a scramble to the right. The Blue Devils blew up the potential extra point, as a bad snap led to Taylor attempting a pass and Hutcherson hit him in stride before Rhys Blackburn swatted down the ball to keep it 14-6.
Blackburn gained 14 yards on the final play of the first half to get him right at the 3,000-yard mark for his career. He would add a second half touchdown as White House put the game away in the fourth quarter.
The defense was stout. Outside of three plays, White House gave up essentially nothing for the game. Laney was 5-of-18 for 64 yards with his biggest plays a 16-yard throw to Taylor on third down, and a scramble of 14 yards to move the chains. Overall, Greenbrier was 3-of-11 on third down and 0-of-3 on fourth down in the game.
John Gilbert and Paul Hurt got sacks for the Devils and Pierce Scholato got another as Laney slid down with him one yard short of the line. Cade Holliday and Nathan Seipp recovered fumbles for the Blue Devils as Christian Mejia and Parker Hollinsworth both stripped the ball away once. Hollinsworth and Scholato was
Scholato led the team with eight tackles, four for losses, and 1.5 sacks as he shared with the strip sack by Hollinsworth. Gilbert, Cole Pitt, and Rhys Blackburn all had seven tackles each for the Devils. Luke Kelton had six, with Montrel Black, Miller and Holliday five.
Blackburn was 5-of-8 passing for 87 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 17 times for 118 yards and two scores. McAfee ran 19 times for 104 and Black had five for 16 yards.
Austin Beeson caught two passes for 45 yards, including a game-high 38 yard catch. Harper caught two for 43 and a touchdown.
Flood was the leading rusher for the Bobcats with six carries for 46 yards, but that was deceiving considering 50 came on one carry. Peyton Hardaway had 21 yards rushing and Dalton Wilbur 10, but the Bobcats moved the ball just 77 yards on the ground.
Taylor was held to two catches for 26 yards in the game.
White House had 336 yards of total offense but was limited with just 1-of-7 on third down and 1-of-3 on fourth down, with 93 yards in penalties, plus both teams had an offsetting personal foul.