MURFREESBORO - White House Heritage couldn’t have started its 2019 football season in a better way.
The Patriots dominated Middle Tennessee Christian from start to finish Friday night, taking a 42-13 road victory over the Cougars.
“It was awesome to get out and have some success in that first game,” White House Heritage coach Stetson Dickerson said. “We came out and played really hard with a lot of enthusiasm and physicality.”
It was the second career win for Dickerson, who took over a rebuilding Heritage team that finished 1-9 last season.
“It’s been a while for them to have a lopsided win,” Dickerson said. “We’re still learning, and we’ve got to stay hungry and not rest on what we’ve done.”
MTCS didn’t help its cause with five first-half turnovers and a running game that was completely snuffed out by a stout Patriot defense. With six turnovers overall, MTCS dug itself a deep hole.
The WH Heritage ground game ran past, and through, the Cougar defense. Parker Deaton and Jackson Mapes gave the Patriots a lightning-and-thunder style of attack, with Malakhai Illaramendi spelling them as needed.
“Those three guys are going to carry us,” Dickerson said. “It’s a luxury to have those fresh legs and to be able to pound somebody.”
Deaton gashed MTCS on the perimeter, and Mapes ran through the heart of the Cougar defense. The Patriots finished with 340 rushing yards. Deaton led the way with 159 on 10 carries, Mapes had 88 on 18 carries and Illaramendi finished with 79 on five carries. Deaton and Illaramendi both rushed for touchdowns.
Junior QB Will Wilson completed 7-of-15 passes for 99 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown strike to Trenton Tuttle to open the scoring. Wilson missed the entire 2018 season with a torn ACL.
“Will made some good decisions,” Dickerson said. “There are a couple of (plays) that we’re going to look back on, but he did a really good job.”
Trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, a snap sailed over the head of the MTCS punter Cougar on a fourth-and-nine, and Dyllan Solis recovered the ball in the end zone for a third Heritage touchdown.
When the MTCS offense went back on the field, a second snap went over quarterback Jackson Green, and Heritage recovered the loose ball at the three-yard line. Wilson then scored on a QB keeper to make it 28-0 just before halftime.
MTCS senior running back Kemari McGowan, the school’s all-time leading rusher, was bottled up by the Patriot defense. He was limited to just 54 yards.
“Our kids did a good job of attacking him and keeping him in check,” Dickerson said. “He’s a good football player. He’s going to get his yards.”
White House Heritage will host East Robertson on Friday, Aug. 30. MTCS is set to travel to Friendship Christian.
Russell Vannozzi contributed to this report