Tigers suffer tough loss in home opener

Texas High 35 – Whitehouse 38

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Photo by Faith Rhone

Story by Jessica Emerson

Mistakes caught up with Texas High in the final seconds of the game when the Whitehouse Wildcats pushed past the Tigers in a tough 38-35 loss.

“It was a good battle between the two teams,” senior running back Javon Thomas said. “We could’ve done better and done some more things to win.”

The first quarter was much like that of a game of tug-o-war. After the initial kick off, the Tiger defense contained the Wildcat drive.

Texas High sophomore quarterback Cade Pearson started his varsity debut with a handoff to Thomas who ran the ball 31 yards for a touchdown.

“It was a lot faster pace than I’m used to,” Pearson said. “This year going straight to varsity ball is amazing. Last year I played freshman ball and I’m just loving it right now and I’m putting a lot of effort into it.”

The wildcats fought back, countering with senior running back Trent Williams 21-yard touchdown in their next drive. The Tigers picked up momentum once more with Thomas scoring two more times, running in a long 47-yard handoff and punching in another 2-yard touchdown.

Whitehouse got the final tug, pushing in a 20-yard run followed by another 28 yard touchdown, ending the first quarter in a Wildcat 24-21 lead.

The Tigers lost their footing the second quarter, falling to another Wildcat touchdown from 33 yards out. Near the beginning of the quarter, the Tigers’ offense took a hit with injuries to Thomas and senior wide receiver Dale Williamson.

The Wildcats pushed deep into Tiger territory with 41-yard pass, followed by a 26-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Drew Smith. However, the Tigers kept the game within their grasp at the 2:31 mark, when junior defensive back Jerry Wrightener spoiled the Wildcats’ plans intercepting the ball and running it 19 yards for a touchdown.

With the Wildcats’ barely hanging on to a 3-point lead, they closed the quarter with a score of 31-28.

The Tiger defense opened the third quarter with an 11-yard sack from senior defensive lineman Nate Runnels. Thomas came back fighting his injury, bringing in a 47-yard gain.

At the 6-minute mark, senior wide receiver Jarion Anderson lit a spark with his 27-yard run. However the drive was ended by missed field goal from senior kicker Mantas Urniezius.

“We put our heart into it,” Anderson said. “We really played hard we just didn’t finish. We’ve got to regroup and get it back together for next week.”

The third quarter ended with a stagnant performance from both teams, resulting in a Wildcat lead of 31-28.

The fourth quarter began with a punt from senior Aaron Sesler in his high school debut.

The Tigers fought from behind with junior J’Kardi Witcher catching a punt from the 42-yard line and returning it past the 30-yard line. Another 15 yards was added to the play due to a Wildcat penalty.

The game picked up for the Tigers at the 8:21-mark with a 9-yard pass from Pearson to Anderson to regain the Tigers’ 35-31 lead.

The Tigers senior defensive back Daniel Boardley recovered a fumble protecting the Tiger lead.

After what looked like a win for Texas High, the Wildcats scored leaving the Tigers with only 30.4 seconds to recover.

“It was a tough game, the pace and play of the game got us in the first of the game,” athletic director Barry Norton said. “We scored too fast. We blew some field goals and missed some scoring opportunities in the red zone. We had a stupid penalty. It cost us; we were fixing to run the clock out, and they wouldn’t get the ball back. One stupid selfish penalty cost us the ball game.”

 

 

Luke Smith & Alex Heo contributed to this story.