FB: Big play Devils turn methodical with shut out of Sycamore

By Kris Freeman for White House High School

PLEASANT VIEW – The big plays for White House are no secret though the first five weeks of the season, with 21 touchdowns in the last three games coming mostly on explosions from the other side of the field.

Friday at Sycamore, White House turned on the traditional methodical offense for a 42-0 trouncing of the War Eagles on Homecoming night, holding the football for 366 offensive yards and almost 26 minutes of possession in a game that ended with a running clock. The Blue Devils led 35-0 at the half and then scored on the first possession of the second half before emptying the bench.

White House (5-1, 3-0) took over the drivers seat in Region 6-3A, but the showdown next week with Fairview will likely determine who will be playing for a region title, after Fairview defeated White House Heritage. The Yellow Jackets also do not have a region loss, but come in 4-2 with losses to Page and Martin Westview. It will be Homecoming next week for White House.

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The Blue Devils are ranked No. 3 in Class 3-A power rankings and continue to show a tough strength of schedule, with a lone loss in week one coming to Station Camp. The Bison are 5-0 heading into a clash with Mt. Juliet next week.

Reece McAfee took over the season rushing lead for the Blue Devils as the senior rushed 15 times for 145 yards and a touchdown, adding a 17-yard reception in the first half. But backfield counterpart Ranen Blackburn was impressive through the air, throwing three touchdown passes on 6-of-11 completions for 121 yards. While White House scored on four red zone possessions, the two lone long plays came on first career touchdown receptions for both Amarion Lucas and Austin Beeson.

Beeson caught a 41-yarder in the first quarter, leaping in front of a defender for the right corner of the end zone, and then Lucas scored on a 29-yard floater by Ranen after a beautiful fake left him wide open in the left corner.

Another Blue Devil notched a first, with Rhys Blackburn scoring his first career touchdown on a brother to brother connection for 10 yards for a 6-0 lead early in the game.

Blackburn to Blackburn came on the home end of the stadium as White House capped off an 11-play, 73-yard drive.

White House also had drives of eight plays for 70 yards and seven plays for 39 yards in the contest.

Bryson Harper caught one pass for nine yards, but it was a fantastic leaping reception in the second quarter to set up a touchdown, then he set up the final score of the night by returning the second half kickoff 53 yards to the Sycamore 39.

Montrel Black ran it five times for 31 yards and scored on three of them, continuing his work as the fourth down and short yardage back out of the smoke stack I-Formation offense. He now has five touchdowns on the season with just 98 total rushing yards.

Ranen Blackburn rushed five times for 57 yards, but had a touchdown wiped off the board on a penalty. White House was marred by yellow flags, specifically in the second quarter when the eight-play march took 15 snaps. On a series of plays inside the Sycamore 30, there were seven penalty flags in eight plays, wiping off touchdown runs by McAfee and Blackburn both before Black finally scored from 11 yards away to make it 28-0.

The defense allowed just 108 total yards by Sycamore, and the host War Eagles did not cross the century mark until the next to last play of the game.

Pierce Scholato led the defense with 10 tackles, but Rhys Blackburn made six stops and forced two fumbles. The first one came when Blackburn and Cole Pitt combined to knock the ball loose from Sycamore’s Noah Webb, recovered by Hutcherson, and then Blackburn got Webb again on a scramble but the Eagles recovered.

Sycamore fumbled six times, losing two, with Dre Cotton coming in the fourth quarter to scoop up a fumbled snap on the last defensive play of the game.

Luke Kelton had six tackles, and Mathew Miller, Hutcherson, Nathan Seipp, Black and Rick Buford all had four tackles each. Landen Ridings had three tackles including two tackles for losses, and Preston Wallace, Paul Hurt, John Gilbert and Cade Holliday all had three.

Jaxon Roark got his first career pass breakup in the game.

Ranen Blackburn had 687 yards rushing and 673 yards passing for the season and has accounted for 15 touchdowns, nine on the ground and six through the air. He is now at 3,578 rushing yards for his career, 852 sort of tying the school record of Ricky Ladd at 4,430.

Team achievement remains the goal for White House, who can clinch a playoff berth by beating Fairview, and clinch at least a tie for the Region 6-3A title by winning the next two games.

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