John Tyler, Whitehouse ready for round two

Hunter Taylor and the high-flying Whitehouse offense entertains an equally potent attack in John Tyler on Friday at Wildcat Stadium. (Jaime R. Carrero | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

WHITEHOUSE — Through two games, Whitehouse quarterback Hunter Taylor has completed 62 of 110 passes for 895 yards and nine touchdowns.

That puts the senior on pace to complete 310 of 550 passes for 4,475 yards and 45 touchdowns this season. The attempts, completions and yards would challenge the state’s single-season records.

Lake Travis’ Garrett Gilbert owns the marks in those categories. The former Lake Travis star passed for 4,854 yards in 2008 and completed 360 of 556 passes (both records) in 2007.

Taylor, a third-year starter, believes the amount of attempts displayshis coaches’ confidence in him.

“It feels pretty good to know the coaches trust me enough to put the ball in my hands that many times,” Taylor said. “That’s just a reflection, I guess, of earning it. I’ve been here three years and I’ve tried to work as much as I can to get the coaches’ trust.”

Whitehouse (0-2) meets Sulphur Springs (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. today at Wildcat Stadium. The matchup between fast-paced, high-powered offenses will likely result in more eye-popping passing numbers from Taylor.

He played one of the more memorable games of his career last week, finishing 34 of 57 for 500 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-39 loss to Class 3A top-ranked Chapel Hill. He also ran for a go-ahead, 47-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“We’re not really concerned about his stats; it’s just a byproduct of having a great quarterback who understands the system,” said Whitehouse offensive coordinator Adam Cook, who also coaches the quarterbacks. “Of course, we’re more interested in winning the ball games. But it’s a great accomplishment for Hunter. It just shows what a great quarterback he is.”

Of course, Taylor’s gaudy passing numbers means the receiving corps is having big nights as well. The Wildcats have the top two statistical receivers in the area right now; Dylan Cantrell has 18 receptions for 262 yards and four TDs and Jonathan Aldridge has 17 catches for 401 yards and three scores.

Taylor credits them with much of his success.

“That’s just a reflection of the system we run and the athletes we have around us,” Taylor said. “The guys we have around us all run extremely fast and can catch anything in their vicinity. That just takes the pressure off me.”

Cook said Taylor has matured as a quarterback since last season.

“I feel like last Thursday night he showed great leadership and you can truly tell that it’s Hunter’s team,” Cook said. “Think about the long run he had. That’s just adds a new dimension to his game. It wasn’t even a called play. It was just a busted route and he pulls and goes.”

On the same night Taylor experienced success against Chapel Hill’s defense, former Whitehouse quarterback Brady Attaway played his first game as Stephen F. Austin’s quarterback.

Taylor’s predecessor completed 27 of 37 passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns in the Lumberjacks’ 82-6 romp against McMurry.

NOTES: Whitehouse has the area’s top offense among Class 5A-4A schools at 502 yards a game. John Tyler is second at 477 yards an outing. On the flip side, Whitehouse’s defense ranks last in the area after giving up 1,119 yards (559.5 per game) and 113 points (56.5 per game) in the first two weeks. Pine Tree ranks second-to-last among area defenses at 463 yards allowed per game.

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