Team coming to town on Friday isn't the same ol'Whitehouse
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 7, 2006 - The team coming to town Friday isn't the same ol' Whitehouse Wildcats.

Whitehouse, which has had just three winning seasons in the last 25 years, probably has its best team since the school's last playoff appearance in 1997.

The Sulphur Springs Wildcats will find out if that's true when the teams kick-off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gerald Prim Stadium.

Sulphur Springs has a 14-2 all-time record against Whitehouse, outscoring them by an average of 33-12 in those games.

But, under former Daingerfield head coach and Mount Pleasant defensive coordinator Randy McFarlin, Whitehouse has been improving.

They are coming off a last-second 31-28 victory over Forney in their season opener, while SSHS (0-1) will be trying to rebound from a 32-7 setback against McKinney.

"Overall, they're a more consistent ball club than what we've seen. They didn't seem to make as many mistakes as McKinney might have or we did," said SSHS head coach Greg Owens. "They're pretty well seasoned. 

"It ought to be a great ball game. They're a very good team, and we've got to play great to beat them. "

The Wildcats will have to defend against a veteran offense to chalk up their first win. Whitehouse is powered by do-it-all Luke Shivers (6-1, 200), who is listed at running back after rushing for 1,530 yards and 12 TDs last year. but Shivers will also line up at wide receiver at even at quarterback.

Along with him, Whitehouse has running back Jimmy Kennedy (5-9, 155), who gained 104 yards on 21 carries last week, and quarterback Chad Emmons who completed 10-of-18 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against Forney.

"Skill-wise, they've got three athletes they like to get the ball to," Owens explained. "It's a wide open offense where they throw it around, get it to their athletes and let them do their stuff."

Defensively, Whitehouse will run a four-man front and let middle linebacker Taylor Sulser (6-0, 185) roam sideline-to-sideline. He helped the Wildcats hold Forney to just 59 yards rushing and 14 first downs.

Safety Steven Hicks intercepted two Forney passes last week, returning one 70 yards for a TD. However, all four secondary players are first-year starters, so the Wildcats might be able to take advantage of their inexperience.

As a whole, though, Whitehouse returns nine offensive and seven defensive starters from last year's 4-6 team. So, they have are more accustomed to the speed of the game - something Sulphur Springs' young players will have to adjust to quickly.

"A lot of our kids did make mention that they didn't know it was going to be that fast," Owens said. "It is fast - it's a fast game that's not just 10 plays and you get to go sit on the bench for a while. It's a full 48 minutes, and some of them just weren't accustomed to that.

"We're working on getting them to settle down a little bit and take care of their business. If they'll do that, we'll be all right."

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