MADISON – Through three games, the White House football team has yet to lose.
Kevin Tate’s third down blitz with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter set the table for White House (3-0) to put away a 32-20 victory at Hunters Lane Friday night.
With the Warriors and quarterback Derek Lillard facing third-and-14 trailing 24-13, Tate’s safety blitz from the blind side blistered Lillard from behind and stripped the football, and the senior recovered it for White House at the 43-yard line. Tate had seven tackles and a sack, plus a 39-yard kick return.
That’s when sophomore tailback Ranen Blackburn took off for 57 yards and his second touchdown, scampering down the right sideline to give him 22 carries for 161 yards and two scores.
White House led 32-13 and held on for a 12-point win, including a goal line stop in the final minute.
Senior quarterback Caleb Anderson was 4-of-5 passing for 75 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Logan Neufeld for a pair of touchdown strikes and threw a score to Curtis Palmer. Anderson added a 1-yard TD run and a two-point conversion.
Demarquez Johnson rushed 22 times for 197 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Warriors, including a 47-yard spin move to the end zone that gave Hunters Lane a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
White House rallied with 18 points in the second quarter, when Anderson pushed a quarterback sneak to the one-yard-line and then finished the job one play later, but the Devils missed the extra point and remained behind 7-6.
White House forced a three-and-out, and Anderson floated a pass over the Hunters Lane defenders as Neufeld outran the coverage for a 39-yard touchdown reception. The Devils missed the conversion again but still took a 12-7 lead.
With 3:59 left, the Warriors snapped the ball from the 38-yard line over Johnson’s head in punt formation, and he recovered at the 10. White House took over and immediately put it into the end zone with an Anderson pass to Palmer in the right corner. The Blue Devils led 18-7 at halftime after another failed two-point conversion.
White House drove six plays and 53 yards for a touchdown to take a 24-7 lead at the start of the third quarter. Blackburn scored his first touchdown from two yards away, but Anderson’s conversion pass was intercepted.
Hunters Lane put together its best drive of the game in response – a nine-play, 72-yard march to make it 24-13 on an 11-yard rush from Johnson. Harrison Autman-Springer blocked Macey Miller’s kick.
White House had an open receiver two plays into the next series, but Anderson’s pass was underthrown and Jadonte Hodges made a leaping interception at the Hunters Lane 39-yard-line to give the Warriors a chance to get back into the game.
After a second down incomplete pass at the White House 30, Lillard was sacked and fumbled. That’s when Tate recovered and Blackburn broke a long run to the end zone. This time, White House finally converted a two-point attempt and Anderson flipped into the end zone for the 32-13 edge.
Hunters Lane drove nine plays and 65 yards for a touchdown, but penalties mounted for both teams in the fourth quarter to drag out the game and keep drives alive. Despite getting the game to a 32-20 margin with 5:20 left, White House kept the Warriors in it with a second turnover on a Blackburn fumble with 3:30 to go.
The hosts drove to the goal line and failed on four plays when Johnson was swallowed up on a screen left on fourth down. White House ran out the clock and entered into victory formation.
The Blue Devils had 233 yards of total offense and 15 first downs. Hunters Lane was held to 225 yards of offense and had 19 first downs, but they moved the chains five times on personal foul penalties.
White House was penalized 12 times for 130 yards and Hunters Lane had nine flags for 71 yards. The 201 penalty yards were almost exclusively in the final 28 minutes of the game.
Lillard was 7-of-13 passing for 21 yards and outside of Johnson, the Warriors struggled to get any offense. Drew Ferrell, Colby Taylor and Evan Shankle all had five tackles on defense.
White House (3-0) comes home Friday night to face Springfield in the first Region 5-4A contest of the year. Springfield (3-1) is already 1-0 in the region with a 42-41 win over White House Heritage in Week 3.