STORY BY SCOTT CLENDENIN
WILLIS — College Station looked more than ready for the school’s first district football game.
The Cougars used a complete effort to beat the seemingly resurgent Willis Wildkats 59-21 to open District 18-5A action Friday.
After making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 2011-12, the Wildkats (3-1, 0-1) had fallen on hard times, winning just five games over the past two years combined. And while their 3-0 start had energized the community, that energy got zapped early by the Cougar offense.
Cole Whittlesey completed 15 of 24 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns with just a little over one half of playing time for College Station (3-1, 1-0). Quinterrian White led the ground attack with 15 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Jeremiah Booker hauled in five passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Willis’ defense allowed only 27 points over their first three games combined. They were giving up just 197 yards a game, more than 150 yards better than any other team in 18-5A. The Cougars eclipsed both of those averages in the first quarter, gaining 254 yards and scoring 28 points.
The offensive explosion began on the first Cougar drive. Starting at their own 47-yard line, Whittlesey completed three of his first four passes and gave a strong hint that the offense would hit big plays all night long when he found Booker behind the secondary for a 22-yard touchdown strike just 2 minutes into the game.
Willis responded with a decent drive, moving the ball into College Station territory on a 17-yard pass from Mark Richardson to Colton Todd and a 13-yard run up the middle by John Lewis. The Wildkat drive stalled, however, and Randy Cessna ended any scoring chance when he sacked Richardson for a loss at the Cougar 39.
College Station took over at its 8, and after a Whittlesey incompletion, White took over on the ground. He picked up 20 yards on his first carry of the drive and moved the ball to the Cougar 37 after two more carries. Then he burst up the middle untouched and outraced the secondary for a 63-yard jaunt and 14-0 lead.
The College Station defense kept up the Cougar momentum by forcing a three-and-out followed by a short punt, which let the Cougars set up shop at the Wildkat 35. Willis’ defense momentarily appeared to stiffen, but White again found a hole up the middle, and 35 yards later College Station led 21-0.
Willis bobbled the kickoff return, but the Wildkats’ Brice Harrison saw it bounce right back into his chest, and took it all the way to the end zone on an 82-yard kickoff return that cut the Cougar lead to 21-7.
Willis’ defense then forced a three-and-out of its own, but backup quarterback Canaan Hill’s sweep play on third-and-2 was stuffed by linebacker Mark Wagner for a 7-yard loss, marking the end of the Wildkats’ comeback chances as College Station took over for good.
Starting at midfield, Whittlesey again found an open Booker down the sideline where he just stepped out at the Willis 14. White broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage before fighting his way into the end zone for a 28-7 lead with 5 seconds left in the first quarter.
Once again the Cougar defense forced a three-and-out, and a good return set backup quarterback Ty Brock at the 37. Brock hit Jake Georgiades on a slant pattern, and Georgiades sprinted in for another Cougar touchdown.
Willis tried to answer by putting together an offensive drive, 37 yards of it coming on a Richardson pass to Shane Harrison that was inches away from going the other way for a Cougar score on an interception. Lewis covered the final 7 yards of the drive on a strong run up the middle to cut College Station’s lead to 35-14.
Back to back 33-yard passes from Whittlesey to Carnes and Booker set up a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Bowersox, but the Cougars were not done. Cedrick Williams intercepted Richardson at the College Station 39, and Whittlesey ended that drive with a 14-yard strike to a twisting Georgiades in the corner of the end zone. Then on College Station’s next possession, Whittlesey threw a swing pass to White for a 14-yard touchdown with 17 seconds to play in the half for a 52-14 lead.
Willis’ Tre’von Harrison scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Drake Carnes scored from 6 yards out to cap the Cougar scoring.
Courtesy of the B/CS Eagle