WHITEHOUSE — A common line of questions in press boxes across East Texas this season goes like this:
“Who kicked that extra point?”
“Was it number 30 or 35?”
Sometimes the answer comes quickly. Sometimes it doesn’t.
The reason is that Whitehouse has rotated kickers on extra points during its run to the third round of the postseason. And the Wildcats have done so with a quick-strike offense that’s generated 54 points on average, which translates to roughly eight extra points a game.
Better hope at least one person in the press box is watching the extra point and not messing with Twitter.
Travis Blackburn (No. 35) and Colby Crim (No. 30) have been the guys putting exclamation points on touchdowns this season. Both are in their first seasons as varsity kickers for the Wildcats, who’ve been among the UIL teams taking scoring to extremes.
So much so, third-ranked Whitehouse (12-0) will take an unbeaten record into its showdown with Mesquite Poteet (11-1) in the Class 4A Division II regional round. The matchup is set for 1 p.m. Friday at Allen’s Eagle Stadium.
“The way they’ve handled it has been awesome,” Wildcats head coach Adam Cook said. “They are both switching in and out well and both are getting more confident. They are working well together kicking during practice and after practice.”
Blackburn and Crim have shared the kickoff, extra-point and field goal duties almost equally since the opening week. Blackburn, a senior, is a first-year football player while Crim, a junior, kicked for the junior varsity last season.
Whitehouse’s coaches wanted to create competition during summer workouts when Blackburn decided to play football. He and Crim had already been members of the soccer program and quickly showed ways of getting each other better through healthy competition.
“We love to have competition,” said Cook, who likened the situation to Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Cheatham sharing time at quarterback early last season. “In practice they both did a great job and they did a great job of rotating.”
Both kickers rank in the team’s top 10 in individual scoring as Blackburn has contributed 48 points and Crim has 45 points. Crim has made four of seven field goals with a lone of 34 yards and Blackburn has made two of four field goals with a long of 35 yards.
Blackburn, normally counted on for short lob kicks, has kicked the ball off 54 times for 1,894 yards and has a pair of touchbacks. Crim, normally counted on for deep kickoffs, has recorded 40 kickoffs for 1,753 yards with four touchbacks.
“That’s all really predicated on what the return team is doing and what we feel like we have an advantage at,” Cook said. “It could be the wind and things like that.”
Last week, the Wildcats finished with a season low in scoring in their 38-14 area-round victory against Sulphur Springs. The game was played in cold, windy and wet conditions at Forney’s City Bank Stadium.
But instead of letting the weather prevail, the duo combined to finish 5 of 5 on extra points as Blackburn made three and Crim supplied two.
With Blackburn set to graduate this spring, freshman Eddie Godina (kicked for the JV this season) might be moved up to varsity to share kicking duties with Crim.
Whitehouse ready for Poteet matchup
Whitehouse is getting a third-round opponent in Poteet that’s registered playoff wins over Frisco Wakeland (17-2) and Dallas Wilson (42-7). The Pirates only loss during the regular season came against Highland Park (41-26).
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to play Mesquite Poteet in the third round,” Cook said. “This will be the second time that Whitehouse has been to the third round, joining that group in 2007 that made the third round. And getting to play at Allen’s stadium is something we’re very excited about.”
The last time Whitehouse and Poteet met on the football came in 2010 and ended with a 24-19 loss by the Wildcats. Both teams entered the matchup 9-2 and Poteet went on to finish 12-3 and reach the state semifinals, falling 29-27 to eventual state champion Aledo.