Sports writer: Brent Cook
November 10, 2021
Whitney to face Grosebeck at Waco ISD Stadium…
The Whitney Wildcats took care of business Friday night at Wildcat Stadium, closing out the regular season with a 35-7 victory.
Facing Life Oak Cliff, the Wildcats (5-5, 4-2) fine-tuned the game plan in preparation for a return trip to the playoffs. Whitney has made the playoffs in three of the four seasons under the leadership of Head Coach Mark Byrd.
“When you are consistently making the playoffs it says volumes about your program,” Byrd said. “So far this year, the band, football and cross country have all had postseason trips. It’s going to be a great game down in Waco on Friday, and we need to pack the stands for the Whitney community!”
Whitney, the third seed in District 7-3A, will face off against the Groesbeck Goats at 7:30 p.m. this Friday at Waco ISD Stadium in the 3A-Division 1 bracket. Groesbeck finished 8-2 overall with a 4-1 record in District 8-3A, slotting them as a No. 2 seed.
The Wildcats and the Goats know each other well as the teams are former district foes. Byrd expects a hard-nosed battle as Groesbeck has skill at quarterback and running back to go with a large and athletic defense.
“We played Groesbeck two years ago when they were in our district and we got a win,” he said. “But they have matured and gotten better and built a great bit of confidence.”
The Wildcats are looking to ride the momentum of a two-game winning streak in which the team seems to have found its stride.
Against Life Oak Cliff, Whitney’s defense clamped down for quarters, forcing three fumbles, deflecting two passes and smashing the Lions for seven sacks. The dominating defensive effort allowed the offense to incorporate multiple Wildcats and open up the playbook.
Senior Garrett Peacock once again guided the Wildcats, tossing for 300 yards and a touchdown pass. Peacock also found paydirt twice with his feet, while fellow senior Jordan Newton racked up two rushing scores as well.
“This bunch of seniors have experience through their four years and not making it last year was a charge for this team,” Byrd said. “It started with making state in track and 7-on-7 and making a run in baseball. This group is pretty special as they are so balanced with talent and leadership.”
It was a balanced attack for Whitney, which tallied 25 rushes and 22 passes. Six different Wildcats ran the ball with a 62-yard rush from sophomore Marcus Wilson complementing the heavy lifting from Peacock and Newton.
The depth of Whitney’s receiving corps was also on display with six receivers catching the ball. Seniors Kolt Byrd and Kyler Cryns both eclipsed 100 yards, with Cryns adding a touchdown in the first half to help give Whitney a 14-7 heading into the locker room.
Newton padded the score in the second half with his touchdowns, while Peacock closed the game out by finding the endzone. Whitney had several additional chances to add to the lead, but a mix of penalties and missed field goals forced some stumbles.
Byrd was pleased with the effort but said the team will need to correct the mistakes and keep improving to make a playoff run.
“We are going to have to attack them offensively from all levels and make them play the whole field,” Byrd said. “Defensively we are going to have to tackle well on the perimeter and slow down their screen game.”