WHITEHOUSE — Whitehouse’s best season in program history culminated with another big signing class on Wednesday.

Eight senior football players signed national letters of intent to play college football during a special ceremony at the high school auditorium.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the AP and All-East Texas Player of the Year, headlined the class by making his pledge to Texas Tech official.

The other seven signees included defensive lineman Kostin Wallace (Tarleton State), linebacker Reggie Long (Tarleton State), receiver Jake Parker (Tyler Junior College), receiver Coleman Patterson (TJC), defensive back Chris Reese (TJC), receiver Jaylon Dews (Southern Arkansas) and linebacker Joseph Klein (Ouachita Baptist).

Wildcats runner Chaynee Atwood signed with Lamar for track and field and cross country.

“It’s proof of why we were as successful as we were, because we have the athletes we have,” Whitehouse head football coach Adam Cook said. “It’s about how hard they work, how they love each other. This is a product of the hard work you see from them and, honestly, those guys just having some God-given abilities.”

Whitehouse students, faculty and family converged on the auditorium for the ceremony, which has become a major event in recent seasons because of the Wildcats’ rise to prominence. Cook, coach Brad Cook and WISD athletic director Richard Peacock addressed the audience before the athletes posed for photos and conducted interviews with local media.

The celebration was well deserved.

Whitehouse finished 12-1 last fall and reached the Class 4A Division II regional semifinals. The run came after the Wildcats claimed the District 16-4A championship and rose to third in the state rankings.

Mahomes was a major reason.

The second-year quarterback completed his career with 8,458 yards and 106 touchdowns while leading the Wildcats to a 22-3 record and 19-1 regular-season mark. His final season featured 287 of 495 passing for 4,619 yards and 50 touchdowns, and 157 carries for 940 yards and 15 TDs.

Mahomes’ top targets were Parker, Patterson and Dews, who combined to catch 134 passes for 2,363 yards and 26 touchdowns during the regular season.

“I committed early and it’s a great feeling to actually sign that paper and become an official Red Raider,” said Mahomes, who plans to also play baseball at Tech and could go somewhere in the MLB first-year player draft this summer. “I’ve been waiting for a long time and it’s a great feeling to finally get there.”

Said his dad, Pat Mahomes, a former Major League Baseball pitcher: “I’m so proud. He’s put in a lot of hard work and he’s really done things the right way. I think he’s gracious and pretty humble. He’s always wanted to go to college; we didn’t always know it was going to be football, but he’s finally getting to play at the next level.”

Whitehouse’s defense was anchored by Long, Wallace and Klein, among others. Wallace missed his junior season with a knee injury, but battled back and became an example of overcoming adversity.

Last spring, Wallace gained attention at an Oklahoma State and Mary Hardin-Baylor camp held at Robert E. Lee High School.

“It was just a great time to get out there and show what I could do,” Wallace said. “I did some great stuff and competed well and I just had to get better. … The way you play football is your signature to the world for the people who watch you. When you put your stamp on something, you want to be the best you can possibly be.”

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