Sports writer: Brent Cook
November 17, 2022
The Whitney Wildcats engaged hyper-speed in the second quarter Thursday night to blast past the Teague Lions and claim the bi-district championship.
Following the 38-15 victory, the Wildcats doused first-year head coach David Haynes Jr. with a cooler full of ice water and lifted the trophy as the school song echoed across Midway’s Panther Stadium in Waco.
The Wildcats will now march into the second round of the 3A-Division 1 playoffs and square off against the Pottsboro Cardinals Thursday night at Mesquite Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Pottsboro, the district 5-3A champions, is a familiar postseason contender, having advanced the playoffs the last 13 seasons. The Cardinals are ranked #9 in the state and have compiled a 10-1 record this year. In the first round, Pottsboro handled Gladewater 33-14.
The Wildcats must find a way to slow the talented Cardinals offense, which features the ability to strike through the air and a solid offensive line that opens the lanes for junior running back Major McBride. With size and strength, McBride has racked up more than 3,500 yards and over 50 touchdowns in the past two seasons.
Teague came into last week’s match against Whitney with a vaunted rushing game as well, but the Wildcats had no issues keeping the Lions at bay.
The Wildcat defense stormed the backfield, forced four turnovers and the Lions moved backwards most of the night due to a dozen infractions. The defense held Teague to just under 300 yards.
Both teams battled a sluggish start, but an interception from Duan Johnson and a 40-yard punt return from Jaidyn Anderson put fuel on the fire.
Anderson’s return put the Wildcats in the red zone with under three minutes in the first frame and sophomore quarterback Mason Seely slipped into the end zone.
The defense then produced a fourth-down stop to put the ball back in Seely’s hands. The offense found its rhythm with a lightning-quick mix of runs and passes. Whitney’s drive was completed at the start of the second quarter when David Haynes III busted past the goal line to put the score at 14-0.
Whitney’s Nathan Burrows jumped on a fumble two plays later. However, Teague intercepted the ball on the following play, but the Wildcats retained the momentum. The defense forced another punt that put the Wildcats in position for another drive.
The Wildcats flew down the field and Jordan Johnson grabbed a touchdown toss that gave Whitney a commanding 21-0 advantage.
With a long bomb and a quarterback sprint, the Lions were able to find the scoreboard next, but the Wildcats were determined to close out the half with the last word. Wildcat Marcus Wilson grabbed an interception and the defense produced a big-loss sack to ruin Teague’s comeback chance.
Wilson then hauled in two key completions in the midst of a 76-yard drive that was capped off with another scoring reception from Johnson with nine seconds left in the half.
Up 28-7, Whitney padded the lead in the third quarter as the fatigued Lions stumbled with more turnovers and penalties.
Kaden Tanner hauled in an interception that was followed up by a 70-yard drive. Haynes racked up his second rushing score of the night, which put the score at 35-7. Wildcat kicker Carson Griffin booted a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to top off the Wildcats’ victory.