Whitehouse looking to rewrite program history

Junior running back Tre' Staples runs around the left end of the field, out of reach of Sulphur Springs defender Barry Stribling during their area playoff on Nov. 22. (Victor Texcucano | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Whitehouse’s appearance in the third round matches the best run in program history. But of course, the Wildcats hope to rewrite things and advance another round deeper.

“This will be the second time Whitehouse has been to the third round and the boys are excited about doing that,” head coach Adam Cook said.

The No. 3 Wildcats (12-0) meet Mesquite Poteet (11-1) in the Class 4A Division II regional playoffs at 1 p.m. today from Allen’s Eagle Stadium. The winner advances to meet either Frisco (9-3) or Ennis (12-0) in the state quarterfinals.

The matchup is one of several that features East Texas teams this weekend, including Class 3A Division I regional playoffs between Chapel Hill (8-4) and Decatur (9-3) and second-ranked Kilgore (11-0) and Frisco Lone Star (8-4). Both matchups are set for Forney’s City Bank Stadium as Chapel Hill-Decatur will be at 7:30 p.m. and Kilgore-Lone Star will be at 2 p.m.

No. 4 Gilmer (11-1) meets top-ranked Argyle (12-0) in the 3A Division II regional round at 6 p.m. today from Dallas’ Kincaide Stadium.

Whitehouse’s last trip to the third round came in 2006 and capped the first of eight consecutive trips to the playoffs. That season the Wildcats went 10-3 and earned postseason wins against Mount Pleasant (28-10) and Frisco (28-14) and an elimination loss against Waco (42-7).

Since then the Wildcats have secured two more 10-win seasons and this year’s school-record 12 wins to become one of East Texas’ most consistent programs. They’re 22-2 over the past two seasons and took the District 14-4A championship away from John Tyler last month.

Whitehouse and Poteet last met in a 2010 area playoff matchup in which the Wildcats fell 24-19. Whitehouse finished with three turnovers, including a fumble a Poteet’s 13-yard line with 2:20 left in the fourth while trying to produce the go-ahead score.

The Wildcats seniors were freshmen that season and some were called up to varsity for the playoffs. Star senior quarterback Patrick Mahomes played defensive back then.

Poteet, which finished the prior season 1-9, ended up reaching the semifinals and falling 29-27 to eventual state champion Aledo.

“We are trying to do everything we can to get these guys mentally focused,” Cook said. “Patrick would love to get a second shot at them knowing they are a good team and knowing we have to come out and play four quarters.”

Whitehouse advanced to the third round with playoff victories against Arlington Seguin (50-44 in overtime) and Sulphur Springs (38-14). Poteet, meanwhile, beat Frisco Wakeland in bi-district (17-2) and Dallas Wilson in area (42-7).

Meanwhile, Chapel Hill and Kilgore look to be on a collision course.

The teams need only one more win apiece to advance to an all-District 16-3A state quarterfinals showdown. Kilgore beat Chapel Hill, 41-25, in the last meeting between the teams en route to the district title.

Chapel Hill, which reached the 3A Division I final in 2010 and returned to win it all the next season, has notched playoff wins against Athens (52-26) and Crandall (38-14).

Kilgore, which made the state semifinals a year ago, has defeated Van (49-7) and Kaufman (21-14) so far in the playoffs.

Other regional playoffs that feature area teams include Malakoff (11-1) vs. New Boston (11-1) and White Oak (11-1) vs. Newton (12-0) in 2A Division I and Alto (9-3) vs. Bosqueville (9-3) in 1A Division I.

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