WHITEHOUSE — Whitehouse entered the 2021 season with 13 playoff appearances in the previous 15 years, but put itself in a hole with seven straight losses by 16 or fewer points to start the campaign.

The Wildcats finally returned to their winning ways with Friday’s 21-14 home district win against Pine Tree. They improved to 1-7 on the season and 1-4 in District 9-5A Division II play. The Pirates, on the other hand, dropped their second straight district game to fall to 4-4 on the season and 2-3 in district competition.

“I’m ecstatic,” Whitehouse head football coach Kyle Westerberg said after his team’s win on Friday. “You go through several weeks of this stuff. What do you say to do them? I credit these kids. They came to work every single day.

“I started seeing a turn last Friday against Marshall and I knew we had an opportunity this week. They came out and played hard tonight.”

The teams battled to a scoreless first quarter, but Whitehouse won the second period to take a 14-0 lead into halftime. Josh Green directed the Wildcat offense with his dual-threat abilities. He threw the ball early and found Mikevic Hall on a 41-yard touchdown connection to make it a 7-0 game at the 10:10 mark of the quarter.

Green then used his legs on his team’s second score of the night. He recorded a 13-yard touchdown scramble to make it a 14-0 game at the nine-minute mark of the frame. He finished the night with a 6-for-15 passing performance for 89 yards and also recorded 60 yards on the ground.

The Whitehouse defense even came up big to keep Pine Tree off the scoreboard right before halftime.

The Pirates attempted a field goal attempt, but the Wildcats blocked the kick to maintain their 14-point advantage right before the half.

Pine Tree was shutout in last week’s 38-0 home district loss against Texarkana Texas High and finally ended its six-quarter scoring drought with Dakylan Johnson’s 71-yard touchdown pass to Camron Turner at the 1:02 mark of the third quarter. Johnson finished 14-of-32 passing for 213 yards.

Whitehouse was only up 14-7, but forced a critical Pine Tree fumble at the 3:59 mark of the fourth quarter. The Wildcats’ return set up Green’s three-yard touchdown run to make it a 21-7 game with 2:05 left in the game.

Pine Tree had one final answer when Johnson found Lukas Branson for a seven-yard touchdown connection. That made it up a 21-14 game with 36.9 seconds left in the game.

But, the Pirates’ comeback attempt ultimately fell short due to its onside kick attempt landing in the hands of a Whitehouse special teams player.

Whitehouse now prepares for its road district battle at Jacksonville’s Tomato Bowl. That is set for next Friday at 7:30 p.m. Then, the Wildcats return for their home district finale against Texas High on Friday Nov. 5.

Pine Tree has two remaining district games. The Pirates travel to Hallsville’s Bobcat Stadium for next Friday night’s 7:30 road district battle before returning to Pirate Stadium for the home district finale against Mount Pleasant on Friday Nov. 5.


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