Wildcats post shutout,prep for playoff match

Sports Writer: Brent Cook

November 10, 2022

The Whitney Wildcats put an exclamation point on the 2022 football season Thursday night by blanking the Gateway Charter Academy Gators 42-0 in the final game of the regular season.

With the win, the Wildcats posted an impressive 7-3 overall record that includes a 6-2 showing in District 7-3A. The strong performance this season has placed Head Coach David Haynes Jr. and the Wildcats in the thick of the 3A-Divison 1 playoffs.

Haynes will have his team ready to square off against the Teague Lions (6-4, 5-1) in the bi-district round this Thursday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Midway ISD’s Panther Stadium in Waco. Last season, Whitney claimed a bi-district victory before falling to Mount Vernon in the second round of the postseason.

Whitney and Teague will compete in Region 2 of the statewide bracket, which is loaded with top-caliber teams. Three of the teams ranked in the top 10 reside in Region 2, including second-ranked Malakoff, the district champion West Trojans, along with perennial powerhouses like Pottsboro and Grandview.

However, the Wildcats first must focus on Teague. Teague is an old foe of Whitney as the two teams have often played in the same district and crossed paths on the gridiron throughout the years.

This season, both Teague and Whitney have finished strong in preparation for the postseason.

After dropping the first three games of the season, the Lions recorded just one district loss, which came at the hands of the district winner, Malakoff. Teague achieved the 5-1 district showing with a focus on a solid rushing attack that controls the clock. The Lions’ grinding ground game, which has tallied 28 points per game, is complemented by a hard-nosed defense that has allowed an average of 22 points each contest.

Though the teams did not share a common opponent this season, the explosive Wildcats have a statistical advantage on both sides of the ball.

With offensive standouts like quarterback Mason Seeley and playmaker Jaidyn Anderson leading the way, Whitney closed out the regular season by winning six of the last seven games. Overall, the offense has averaged 48 points per game with a roster full of players capable of reaching the end zone.

Defensively, the Wildcats have proven to be both powerful and pesky. Whitney has shown a knack to sack the opposing quarterback and force turnovers. The defense has limited teams to 19 points per game and posted two shutouts this season.

Against the Gateway Academy Gators, the Wildcats applied the pressure and finished with familiar results. Following a disappointing 41-7 against Grandview the previous week, the Wildcats rebounded and were up to their old tricks.

Whitney once again showed the ability to rush out the gate and grab an early lead. From there, the offense flipped ball around while the defensed feasted. By halftime, it was apparent that a comeback from the Gators was not a reality.

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