MESQUITE — Whitehouse’s Christopher Reese rushed in unblocked, lowered his shoulders and drove Ennis quarterback Brandon Adams into the turf. Wildcats linebacker Brannon Beaten picked up the loose ball, looked upfield and scampered 62 yards to the end zone.
With Ennis attempting to pull out the win with time running out, Reese and Beaton delivered the boom and put the game away emphatically. That helped the Wildcats hold off the Lions, 42-32, in a back-and-forth Class 4A Division II bi-district playoff Friday night at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
Ennis, a three-time state champion since 2000, had put together an impressive 14-play drive while trailing by three points with less than a minute remaining. The Lions had the ball well inside field goal territory when star running back Terence Williams drew a personal foul penalty after being ruled out of bounds on a catch just outside the end zone, a flag that pushed Ennis back to Whitehouse’s 32.
Ennis moved it back to the 20 and decided to go for the win instead of attempting a 37-yard field goal on fourth down, but Reese blitzed from the blind side, leveled Adams and put an end to the Lions’ season.
Whitehouse (10-1), which was on the other side of a dramatic outcome in last week’s 45-38 setback against No. 2 John Tyler, moves on to meet Wylie East (a 70-33 winner against Sulphur Springs) in next week’s area round. The matchup is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Garland’s Homer B. Johnson Stadium.
Ennis fell for the third consecutive week to complete the season 8-3.
Whitehouse quarterback Patrick Mahomes faced intense pressure from the opposing pass rush for the second straight week, but still managed to complete 24 of 39 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns. The junior hooked up with Dylan Cantrell for a 51-yard Hail Mary touchdown on the final play of the opening half, helping the senior receiver complete the night with 10 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Vincent Dunning, a junior, contributed 13 carries for 106 yards to help the Wildcats finish with 157 yards on the ground.
Ennis’ Williams, a junior, overshadowed his costly penalty with a commanding performance on the ground, which featured 26 carries for 192 yards and a touchdown. His contributions helped the Lions run for 361 yards as a team, which kept Whitehouse’s explosive offense off the field for lengthy stretches.
Following a 39-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Ennis’ Malik Jenkins in the third quarter, Mahomes put the Wildcats ahead for good with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon Dews with 9:50 left in the fourth. The TD capped a 13-play, 77-yard drive that spanned more than three minutes.
In one of the year’s most memorable plays, Mahomes and Cantrell hooked up for the Hail Mary with no time remaining in the second quarter to send the game into halftime at 28-26 in favor of Whitehouse. Mahomes rolled to his right under pressure, reversed field and then heaved the ball to Cantrell, who caught it and backed his way into the end zone from the 1.
The play capped a back-and-forth half, during which Ennis’ Jahshawn Johnson intercepted a Mahomes pass, returned the ball 68 yards and set up a go-ahead touchdown with 16 seconds remaining. But in true Mahomes fashion, the Wildcats were able to utilize the final seconds and moved the ball to the end zone.
Mahomes finished the half 14 of 24 for 220 yards and three touchdowns, finding Cantrell six times for 120 yards and Jake Parker three times for 39 yards.
Ennis’ ground game produced 235 yards on 29 carries in the half, led by Williams’ 16 carries for 138 yards.
Class 4A Division II Bi-District
Whitehouse 42, Ennis 32
At Mesquite Memorial Stadium
Ennis 13 13 6 0 — 32
Whitehouse 14 14 0 14 — 42
WHI — Vincent Dunning 21 pass from Patrick Mahomes (Destin Wilkins kick), 9:32
ENN — JahShawn Johnson 66 run (Alex Sanchez kick), 7:54
WHI — Dylan Cantrell 10 pass from Mahomes (Wilkins kick), 1:49
ENN — Terence Williams 52 run (kick failed), :48
ENN — Nick Gabriel 3 run (pass failed), 5:33
WHI — Dominique Hollie (Wilkins kick), 3:45
ENN — Cshamari Reed 1 pass from Brandon Adams (Sanchez kick), :16
WHI — Cantrell 51 pass from Mahomes (Wilkins kick), :00
ENN — Malik Jenkins 39 fumble return (run failed), 9:06
WHI — Jaylon Dews 2 pass from Mahomes (Wilkins kick), 9:50
WHI — Brannon Beaton 62 fumble return (Wilkins kick), :07
First Downs 18 28
Rushes-Yards 55-361 31-157
Comp.-Att.-Int. 10-15-0 24-39-1
Passing Yards 46 339
Penalties-Yards 7-70 3-21.5
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 2-1
Punts-Avg. 2-40.5 3-33.3
RUSHING — Ennis, Terence Williams 26-192, Nick Gabriel 14-78, Brandon Adams 12-24, Jahshawn Johnson 1-66, Devin Smith 2-1. Whitehouse, Vincent Dunning 13-106, Patrick Mahomes 9-28, Dominique Hollie 4-11, Colby Campbell 3-8, Isaiah Burton 1-4, Roy Lee White 1-0.
PASSING — Ennis, Adams 10-15-0—46. Whitehouse, Mahomes 24-39-1—339.
RECEIVING — Ennis, Williams 3-10, Smith 2-10, Marcus Daggs 2-9, Hunter Isom 1-9, Donta Thompson 1-7, Rodney Edwards 1-1. Whitehouse, Dylan Cantrell 10-160, Jake Parker 5-67, Coleman Patterson 4-76, Jaylon Dews 3-18, Dunning 1-21, Ryan Cheatham 1-(-3).