Sep. 10—WHITEHOUSE — Ouch!
This one hurt. It left a scar and some pain that just wasn't there before.
What else can you say about the Tigers' 48-17 loss at Wildcat Stadium Friday night?
You want a game report? The Tigers kicked off to open the game and Whitehouse's Braylon Jackson returned the kick for a touchdown. The game was 11 seconds old and the Tigers trailed 7-0.
After that things got worse.
The Tigers had beaten Whitehouse in 4-of-the-last 5 meetings, including last year's 23-7 victory in Corsicana in a game that was never close, and a 27-10 game in 2017 at Tiger Stadium, where the Tigers made five interceptions that night.
The 2016 OT-igers, who set a national record by winning five games in overtime, didn't need overtime to beat Whitehouse in a 17-9 victory that saw the Tigers rack up eight sacks and hold the Wildcats to negative yards for the game. In 2015 the Tigers embarrassed the Wildcats in Whitehouse 59-23.
The only loss to Whitehouse in the previous five meetings was two years ago when the Wildcats knocked out Tiger quarterback Solomon James, who suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for a month, and beat the Tigers 33-14 in Whitehouse.
That brief history explains — at least in part — why Friday's game stung so much.
It was the wrong time to be playing the Wildcats, who have been hot — make that red hot — to start the season. They won only two games last year and Texas Football magazine picked them to finish dead-last in the seven-team District 8-5-A DII race.
Guess that got Whitehouse's attention. The new-look Wildcats have jumped on the back of quarterback Josh Green, who threw for just 559 yards as a sophomore a year ago, before exploding this season. He has already surpassed last year's passing numbers, completing 40-of-60 passes for 574 yards and six touchdowns in three games.
Green completed 9-of-14 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, and ran for three touchdowns Friday. He has led a Wildcat offense that has scored 159 points in three games and has not had a close game yet.
The 3-0 Wildcats, who have outscored North Forney, Jacksonville and the Tigers by a combined 159-68, run a fast, up-tempo offense and never slowed down or looked back, racing to a 21-7 first quarter lead and a 35-10 halftime cushion.
The Tigers, who have had a formidable offense this season, scoring 80 points in their first two games, looked fine early, driving 72 yards and scoring on Adrian Baston's impressive 18-yard run in the first quarter. But they killed themselves on two other early drives with penalties and trailed 21-7 ging into the second quarter.
Whitehouse scored quickly to take a 28-7 lead when Green hit Decarlton Wilson with a 26-yard TD pass, and the Tigers could only answer with a 30-yard field goal from Joe Morales, and when Green ran three yards for his second TD with 2:07 left in the half, the Wildcats had a comfortable 35-10 lead.
Baston provided the Tigers' only second half points when he busted free for a 61-yard TD run to close to 42-17 late in the third quarter. Baston, who is having a remarkable season, provided almost all of the offense for the Tigers, rushing for 165 yards on 17 carries and a pair of touchdowns and completing 9-of-16 passes for 68 yards.
The loss completes the non-district season for the Tigers, who open district play at Community National Bank & Trust Stadium Friday against Ennis, which is 0-3 after starting the season ranked No. 11 the state. Forget the record, the Lions will be one of the top 5A teams in Texas.
If you're looking for a barometer for the Tigers, forget Friday's loss in Whitehouse. The only way to measure this team is to look at the three-game non-district run that looks and feels like a 1-1-1 slate.
Sure, the Tigers lost to North Garland last week 49-42, but that game felt like a tie all night as the two teams swapped touchdowns like it was a ping-pong game until North Garland, a Class 6A school with about 1,000 more students than CHS, took over in the fourth quarter with two long drives.
The Tigers played extremely well in their first two games against bigger schools and split, winning 38-28 in the season opener at Frisco Liberty in a game that wasn't that close.
This team, and new coach Aric Sardinea needed the three non-district games (they could have really used four and a smaller district) more than most because Sardinea wasn't hired until April 11 and had to time to organize spring drills.
He took over a young team with a brand new coaching staff and put this team together on the run with a crash course of his brand of football, teaching Xs and O's while building their confidence and fueling their camaraderie — no easy task.
This is not the same Tiger team that showed up for the first day of practice on Aug. 1. They've grown a lot in the past 40 days and will have to grow so much more now that the real season has arrived — a brutal stretch of games in a district loaded with talent and depth and three teams that were ranked in the state's preseason Top 20.