WHITEHOUSE — Patrick Mahomes found Jaylon Dews open past the secondary and hit the receiver in stride. The touchdown gave Whitehouse 22 unanswered points in a four-minute span, not to mention its first lead.
The Wildcats weren’t finished.
Not even close.
Whitehouse scored 43 unanswered points in the second half to emphatically pull away from Carthage, 63-39, in an interclass showdown between state-ranked teams before a packed audience Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.
The Class 4A third-ranked Wildcats (5-0) trailed 39-20 with 9:08 left in the third quarter, but unleashed its lethal offense and pitched a shutout the rest of the way against the 3A top-ranked Bulldogs (4-1).
Mahomes, with future coach Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech) in attendance, completed 24 of 42 passes for 373 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns. He connected with Dews and later Nic Costlow on scores to take the lead, the second coming after one of four Carthage turnovers.
“It wasn’t so much the points, but watching the boys do it,” Whitehouse coach Adam Cook said. “The way they were able to respond. There’s really no way to put that into words. I’m just proud of these kids.”
The victory capped a week that featured plenty of hype surrounding the game, which caught state-wide attention because of the team’s lofty rankings. And at times it seemed like Carthage was the better squad and would avenge last season’s two-point loss, scoring the game’s first 15 points and then building the 19-point second half lead.
But Whitehouse, which is idle next week and begins District 16-4A action in two weeks at Lindale, willed itself to first and second half comebacks. The Wildcats, who average 57 points a game, completely dominated the from the 9-minute mark of the second half until the final buzzer.
Not to mention, the Wildcats stop unit pitched a shutout during that span against Carthage quarterback Blake Bogenschutz and receivers O’Keeron Rutherford and Tee Goree, who combined for 18 receptions for 320 yards. Senior linebacker Reggie Long put the icing on the victory, sacking Bogenschutz for an 18-yard loss on fourth down with time running out.
“I knew it was going to be tough, I knew they were great,” said Mahomes, referring to his mindset at 19 points down. “I talked to my defense and told them that for us to win they’d have to make some stops and they responded. They came out and played hard in the second half and shut them down.”
Bogenschutz finished 24 of 44 for 388 yards and four TDs for Carthage, which completes non-district next week against Rusk. Rutherford, in one his best performances, caught 11 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns while Goree, usually the Bulldogs top target, hauled in seven passes for 141 yards and a score.
Bogenschutz and Rutherford hooked up for two quick TD strikes in the third quarter to blast the Bulldogs out of the gates following the break, but Whitehouse answered back when Mahomes found Dews for a 55-yard TD with 6:55 left in the third. The second TD between Mahomes and Dews pulled the Wildcats to within 39-34, while Mahomes found Nic Costlow for the 17-yard go-ahead score on a play action pass with 11:15 left in the fourth.
“I felt like this was a measuring stick and I knew they were going to hit us in the mouth,” Cook said. “There were times when we could’ve just shut it down but we kept going and I’m just proud of these boys, I’m proud of what they did. Patrick and the way he led those guys down there was just phenomenal.”
Carthage took a 25-20 lead into the break when Jimmy Gonzalez made a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the second half. The kick capped a half in which the Bulldogs built a 15-0 lead midway through the first quarter, but weren’t able to pull away as Whitehouse battled back behind Mahomes and Patterson.
The seniors connected for two touchdowns, the first a 41-yarder with 3:31 left in the first quarter and the second a 21-yard bubble screen midway through the second. Mahomes’ first TD pass went to a wide open Tre’ Samples up the middle of the field, pulling the Wildcats to within 15-7.
Carthage started the game in lightning-quick fashion, starting with Bogenschutz’ 24-yard TD pass to Rutherford – an athletic grab in the end zone – and then his 35-yard scoring toss to Tee Goree with 5:51 left in the first quarter. Rutherford, a tall and lanky receiver who gives the Bulldogs a height advantage outside, finished the half with seven receptions for 114 yards.
Whitehouse’s Jake Parker, who’s been playing some defensive back following junior Justin Dunning’s injury, intercepted Bogenschutz to stop Carthage’ final TD threat of the half. The pick was only Bogenschutz’ second of the season.
Mahomes completed the half with 185 yards and three touchdowns passing, while Bogenschutz had 244 yards and two TDs.
4A No. 3 Whitehouse 63, 3A No. 1 Carthage 39
Carthage 15 10 14 0 39
Whitehouse 13 7 22 21 63
CAR – O’keeron Rutherford 24 pass from Blake Bogenschutz (Jarod Mclin run), 8:51
CAR – Tee Goree 35 pass from Bogenschutz (Jimmy Gonzalez kick), 5:51
WHI – Tre’ Staples 17 pass from Patrick Mahomes (Travis Blackburn kick), 4:18
WHI – Coleman Patterson 41 pass from Mahomes (run failed), 3:31
CAR – Tevin Pipkin 2 run (Gonzalez kick), 7:32
WHI – Patterson 21 pass from Mahomes (Blackburn kick), 5:13
CAR – Rutherford 34 pass from Bogenschutz (Gonzalez kick), 10:31
CAR – Rutherford 4 pass from Bogenschutz (Gonzalez kick), 9:08
WHI – Shemar Smith 67 pass from Mahomes (Colby Crim kick), 8:21
WHI – Jaylon Dews 55 pass from Mahomes (Blackburn kick), 6:38
WHI – Dews 23 pass from Mahomes (Vincent Dunning run), 4:52
WHI – Nic Costlow 17 pass from Mahomes (Crim kick), 11:15
WHI – Vincent Dunning 10 run (Blackburn kick), 4:00
WHI – Dominique Hollie 20 run (Crim kick), 2:13
First Downs 29 26
Rushes-Yards 36-127 18-131
Passing Yards 388 373
Comp.-Att.-Int. 24-44-2 24-42-1
Punts-Avg. 1-38 4-34.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-30 9-83
RUSHING – Carthage, Tevin Pipkin 24-115, Blake Bogenschutz 8-11, Johnathan Brown 1-5, Tredarion Jackson 2-6, Jimmy Gonzalez 1-(-10). Whitehouse, Patrick Mahomes 11-83, Dominique Hollie 4-32, Vincent Dunning 2-12, Tre’ Staples 1-4.
PASSING – Carthage, Bogenschutz 24-44-2—388. Whitehouse, Mahomes 24-42-1—373.
RECEIVING – Carthage, O’keeron Rutherford 11-179, Tee Goree 7-141, Pipkin 3-19, Keldrean Strong 2-39, Marquis Guinn, 1-10. Whitehouse, Jaylon Dews 1-111, Coleman Patterson 5-92, Ryan Cheatham 5-42, Jake Parker 4-63, Staples 1-17, Nic Costlow 1-17, Vincent Dunning 1-23, Smith 1-4, Drew Smith 1-4.