White House clinches first title since 2017 in football

By Blaine Kellar for Main Street Preps

The last three years have been a process for Ryan Hamilton and White House High School.

In his first two seasons, Hamilton’s Blue Devils won a total of nine games and reached the postseason for the first time under him in 2020.

The coach’s process culminated when White House (7-1, 5-0 Region 6-3A) clinched its first region title since 2017 with a 41-13 win at Stewart County.

“There’s a huge excitement for (the players),” Hamilton said. “We understand what it’s like to lose, (and) we understand what it’s like to win. To be a good winner, you have to lose, I think. You have to understand that and be in those situations.”

The Blue Devils have reeled off seven straight wins after dropping their season opener to Station Camp. They have a chance to finish with an unblemished region record when hosting rival White House Heritage in two weeks.

Despite coming up empty to start, Stewart County shaved the first 10 minutes off the clock in its opening possession. White House forced a fourth-down stop at their own 10-yard line, and Reece McAfee scored a 91-yard rushing touchdown to put the Blue Devils ahead.

It was the first in what would be a 160-yard, three-touchdown night for the senior back.

“It was all the (offensive) line,” McAfee said. “Great blocks and just great plays by everybody. (The) defense clutched out, and it was a great game for everybody.

“I’ve played football for about two years in high school, and to be part of the team that wins (the) region is pretty crazy.”

Quarterback Ranen Blackburn added a 12-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, but the Blue Devils only led by eight heading into halftime.

Montrel Black and McAfee scored on four of five drives in the second half to put White House up for good.

Cade Hutcherson and Nathan Seipp also recorded interceptions in a defensive effort that limited Stewart County to its second-lowest point total this year.

“Anytime you’re fortunate enough to win a region like this, it’s great,” Hamilton said. “We’re thankful and blessed for this opportunity and this privilege of winning the region, but we have to go back to work. We’re still not done and there’s still things we have to do.”

Last fall marked White House’s first playoff appearance since 2017. Before that, the Blue Devils reached the postseason 23 consecutive times, from 1992-2014.

Blackburn, who’s accounted for 19 touchdowns through eight games, said this year’s championship could serve as a return to that.

“We’re trying to get back into the routine of getting to the playoffs (and) getting region championships,” he said. “It’s a good thing for us and we’re just trying to get back to it.”

White House will face off against Westmoreland and White House Heritage before hosting the first round of the Class 3A Playoffs.

Photos by Ian Castle

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