Whitehouse versus Sulphur Springs

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 4, 2008 It's Whitehouse week.

No other words need to be spoken to stir up the fire and emotion of Sulphur Springs players and coaches.

In 2007, the second game of the year, Whitehouse beat Sulphur Springs 38-22. Then the cruelest trick of all, Whitehouse repeated the feat with a 33-30 win over Sulphur Springs in the bi-district playoffs.

The playoff loss was labeled "The Heartbreak in Hamby" speaking of the loss which occured Nov. 15, 2007 in Mesquite.

Sulphur Springs head coach Greg Owens recalls vividly of how the season ended. He is quick to point it out to the players. Owens will not talk of revenge or any ill will toward Whitehouse.

"It's all part of football," Owens said. "I think we are a friendly rivalry. We have two programs that match up well. We've been playing for a while now and I enjoy going up against team."

"Last year we forced some things against them, we had some drops. Whitehouse made some big plays," Owens said. "We just came up on the short end of it."

This year Owens preached patience and a good running game to down Whitehouse.

"We have to take what they give us," Owens said. "Coach Randy McFarlin runs the defense and does a very good job at it."

Coach Owens says the 2008 versons of the Sulphur Springs Wildcats and Whitehouse Wildcats are alike in many ways.

"They are still searching for their identity, like we are," Owens said. "They lost some talented players, but both teams have their quarterbacks returning. Defensively they have several of their defensive backs returning, but are searching for some guys up front, much like we are doing. So we are alike in many ways. We played 10 defensive linemen last week, they played eight."

Owens is quick to add that Whitehouse allowed 500 total yards in their first game. That could bode well for the Sulphur Springs running game.

"We have to take care of our business and not give them turnovers. That has been our problem with them," Owens said. "Defensively we have to be sound tacklers and not turn them free. We want to force the quarterback to move our and get out of his rhythm."

Owens and Whitehouse head coach Randy McFarlin go back to when the Owens was at Lindale and went up against McFarlin's Daingerfield teams.

"The kids have special motivation. On the back of one our scouting reports was a note about the 'Heartbreak at Hamby,'" Owens said. "We battle back and forth. I think Sulphur Springs and Whitehouse are two quality programs that do things right. We play hard, we get after. Each team puts a pretty good brand of football on the field each Friday night."

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