Chapel Hill and Whitehouse provided fireworks and thrills in the 2011 installment of the Lake Tyler Rivalry. The longtime adversaries combined for 108 points and 1,162 yards before an electric Rose City audience.

At 7:30 p.m. tonight, the Bulldogs (0-1) and Wildcats (1-0) will meet for the 26th time at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. The matchup comes a season after Chapel Hill pulled away down the stretch for a 59-49 victory, capping a game that featured little defense and loads of offense.

“I am so proud of the way our offensive kids performed tonight,” Bulldogs coach Thomas Sitton said after last season’s matchup. “Our offensive line played from whistle one to the end of the game. The receivers did a great job of catching the ball and breaking tackles.”

Most of those players have since graduated from the Bulldogs, who finished 2011 with a 15-0 record and hoisting the Class 3A Division I state championship trophy. The Wildcats were left licking their wounds from the Bulldogs a year ago, but have improved since then while still trailing the overall series 14-9-2.

Whitehouse began the 2012 season in impressive fashion, using the right-arm of first-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes and a platoon of receivers to register a 35-18 home win against Hallsville. The Wildcats’ defensive improvements were also on display last Friday night, giving up less than 200 yards against a strong Bobcats ground game.

Mahomes, while rotating quarters behind center with fellow junior Ryan Cheatham, completed 18 of 25 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns. The Wildcats’ receiving corps was paced by senior Texas Tech pledge Dylan Cantrell (four receptions, 75 yards, three touchdowns), Jaylon Dews (6-71), Jake Parker (4-81) and Coleman Patterson (4-75).

Parker also returned a punt 53 yards for a touchdown to put Whitehouse ahead 14-0 in the second quarter.

Chapel Hill, which returned only one offensive starter this season, turned the ball over five times in a 31-14 season-opening loss to Lindale. The Bulldogs’ jitters were on full display with four fumbles (all lost) and one interception.

Chapel Hill finished with a respectable 368 total yards (245 rushing, 120 passing), but allowed 358 ground yards to the Eagles.

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Chapel Hill vs. Whitehouse

Where: Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

Records: Chapel Hill 0-1; Whitehouse 1-0.

Last week’s results: Lindale 31, Lindale 14; Whitehouse 35, Hallsville 18.

2011 result: Chapel Hill 59, Whitehouse 49.

Overview: Chapel Hill leads the overall series 14-9-2, but has lost nine of the past 11 meetings to the Wildcats. Two seasons ago, Whitehouse beat Chapel Hill 42-6 before the Bulldogs went on to reach the state final.

When Chapel Hill has the football: Expect the new-look Bulldogs to have more poise after coughing up four fumbles and an interception against Lindale. The Bulldogs won’t be facing the Whitehouse defense that allowed 592 total yards in last season’s meeting.

When Whitehouse has the football: The Wildcats, who passed for 500 yards and ran for 70 against Chapel Hill in 2011, entered the season hoping to be more balanced. But they passed for 330 yards and ran for only 29 (1.2 yards per carry average) against Hallsville.

Shane’s pick: Whitehouse.

Next up: Carthage at Chapel Hill, Friday, Sept. 14; Sulphur Springs at Whitehouse, Friday, Sept. 14.

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