Quick, you have three seconds to come up with Wylie East’s mascot.
And the answer is?
Don’t feel bad for not knowing. The school has only been around since 2007 and its athletics program is still in the toddler stage. But the answer happens to be Raiders, a blue and white wave that Whitehouse is getting to know this week.
That’s because the schools are about to meet on the gridiron for the first time in the Class 4A Division II area playoffs. The clash between the Raiders (8-3) and Wildcats (10-1) is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Garland’s Homer B. Johnson Stadium.
East and Wylie HS make up the Wylie Independent School District, which serves a city of about 40,000 and is located in Collin, Dallas and Rockwall counties. The Tyler area and WISD will be engulfed with one another this week, considering John Tyler (10-1) and WHS (5-6) meet in 4A Division I action Friday.
East has only been playing football since 2010, but the results haven’t reflected a young program simply trying to find its way in a crowded football world. The Raiders reached the playoffs to cap their second tour of duty, but fell by one point to Frisco in last season’s opening round to finish the campaign 8-3.
Since then, East has continued to emerge onto the prep scene and made a loud statement in last week’s bi-district round — a 70-33 blowout victory against Sulphur Springs, which had five turnovers. Seeing that final score surely grabbed Whitehouse’s attention in a major way, considering the Wildcats barely survived Sulphur Springs in non-district (38-33 win).
“It’s hard to look at head-to-head comparisons because it’s all about matchups,” Whitehouse coach Randy McFarlin said. “The games had different matchups and the ball bounces different ways. You just can’t compare scores from game to game. Friday night both teams will be excited.”
Like Whitehouse, East generates much of its offense through the air as quarterback Garrett McCain has completed 176 of 311 passes for 2,930 yards and 40 touchdowns with three interceptions. The 6-0, 175-pound junior finished 20 of 24 for 384 yards and seven scores against Sulphur Springs, a performance that garnered Dallas Morning News Offensive Player of the Week honors.
His favorite targets this season have been 6-4 receivers Marcell Ateman (Oklahoma State pledge) and Quan Jones (Baylor), who’ve caught 71 passes for 1,369 yards and 22 touchdowns; and 48 passes for 927 yards and 12 scores, respectively. But the Raiders have proven fully capable of moving the ball on the ground, evidenced by running back Jabari Anderson’s 217 carries for 1,594 yards and 15 TDs.
All that offense has helped East generate eight wins for the second straight season, its only losses coming against Frisco Liberty (30-10), Sherman (49-38) and Lucas Lovejoy (58-32).
The victories have come against Red Oak (52-21), Denton Ryan (34-31), Denison (57-36), Wylie (46-38), Greenville (42-17), Royse City (56-14) and McKinney North (50-26).
Carthage’s Golden Selected to All-America Game
The 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour will be in Carthage on Tuesday to select senior Isaiah Golden to the game, set for Saturday, Jan. 5 at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
Golden, the nation’s 11th-ranked defensive tackle recruit by rivals.com, has orally pledged to Texas A&M. He and the Bulldogs (9-2) meet Taylor (5-6) in a Class 3A Division I regional playoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana’s Tiger Stadium.
All-East Texas Volleyball is Just Around the Corner
Coaches are asked to send in nominations for the Tyler Morning Telegraph All- East Texas Volleyball Team.
Please send in the nominee’s name, position, classification and statistics.
Nominations can be faxed to 903-595-0335, called in to 903-596-6292 or emailed to email@example.com.