A week after Whitehouse was overwhelmed with 21 unanswered first-quarter points, and 35-3 in the first half of a 52-17 home loss to John Tyler, the Wildcats go on the road Friday to battle an equally difficult Lufkin team.
Both Whitehouse and Lufkin dropped their District 16-5A openers, which makes this game even more important. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Abe Martin Stadium.
“I don’t want to take anything away from John Tyler, but it was just one of those nights for us,” Whitehouse coach Adam Cook said of last week’s loss. “We could just never get the momentum going. And on defense we just busted some coverages, but there is a reason the John Tyler Lions had been ranked No. 1. And when you play like we did against a great team, they are going to take advantage of it.”
Whitehouse (3-1, 0-1) turned it over four times and also failed to recover an onside kick that gave the Lions great field position for one of their touchdowns and had a low snap to the punter fielded on a knee, which gave JT good field position as well.
The Lions limited a Whitehouse passing attack to a season-worst 147 yards and one touchdown after the Wildcats had averaged 304 yards per game passing and scored 48.6 points per game in their three prior outings.
Whitehouse quarterback Jackson Allen completed 12 of 34 pass attempts with three interceptions after throwing pick on his first 121 attempts.
“Jackson had a rough night, but in his defense, he hadn’t seen a defense that was that fast (before),” Cook said. “After the game one of the comments he made was how fast they were. When he made his reads they were very quick to get out on the receivers and making those (passing) windows very tight that he was throwing into.”
Whitehouse now faces a Lufkin defense that surrendered 429 yards of offense and 38 points a week ago in a 38-35 loss at Nacogdoches.
The Panthers (2-2, 0-1) are unbeaten at home and sport a special teams superstar in KeKe Coutee to compliment their big-play offense. In Lufkin’s last home game, a win over Robert E. Lee, Coutee returned a punt back for a touchdown and a kickoff back nearly for a touchdown.
“He’s pretty good. We looked at that on film and have talked about that several times with our guys. He’s very electric when he gets the ball,” Cook said. “He’s definitely a game changer, but they have several guys (to account for). We know that we are going to have to get after them.”
Lufkin tailback Steven Sowell rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns last week and Wildcats gave up 194 yards rushing to JT, but Cook said this game will come down to whether Whitehouse’s offense can get back to its high-scoring ways.
“We’re definitely hoping to bounce back and learn from (what went wrong on offense against JT),” Cook said. “We refer to our district as the Big 12 or SEC of Class 5A football in the state of Texas.
“Week in and week out you have to come ready to play. Anyone can beat anyone on any given night and you just have to come out and play your game; play good, disciplined football and do the things we’ve been working on and we will have an opportunity to beat those guys.”