Whitehaven defeats Cordova, 29-12, for 18th win in a row Wochit
The only thing in Cordova’s way since the start of the 2016 season has been Whitehaven. And the Tigers are still an obstacle the Wolves’ just can’t seem to overcome.
Although they allowed their first points of the season, Whitehaven (3-0, ranked first in The Commercial Appeal’s Dandy Dozen) beat the Wolves for the third straight time, 29-12 Friday at Cordova.
It had a similar feel to the final regular season game last year, when Whitehaven left Cordova with a 21-6 victory after both teams had entered with 9-0 records. The Tigers also won when the teams met in the Class 6A playoffs on the way to winning their second state title.
“This was a big, big win,” said Whitehaven’s Rayshad Williams, who has committed to Vanderbilt. “This was the game where everybody was saying it would determine who does this and who does that.”
“I think we do (have a mental edge) but that’s just us. We’re the Haven. We always have a stronger mindset than the other team. Not just Cordova.”
Williams was one of the main difference-makers in a game that stretched to the three-hour mark due to a constant stream of penalties.
He took the fight out of Cordova with a 55-yard run out of the wildcat on first-and-25 that led to Chris Witherspoon’s 16-yard run in the third quarter that gave the Tigers a comfortable 23-6 lead.
He then put an exclamation mark on the evening by jumping in front of a Christian Arrambide pass and weaving his way 43 yards to the end zone.
“I knew he was going to try and (look) for something in the seam so I just sat back,” said Williams. “I just jumped it and the ball happened to be right there. He tried to throw my way tonight but I wasn’t going to let that happen.”
The play was vintage Williams.
“Big-time players make big-time plays,” said Whitehaven coach Rodney Saulsberry. “He started off a little rocky but he told me at halftime, ‘Coach, I’m ready. I had to wake up in that first half.'”
It was another fine performance from the Whitehaven defense; which limited a team that had been averaging 452 yards and 55 points per game well below those totals. Josh Gray also intercepted Arrambide and Ricardo Clark recovered a fumble.
“We took care of business but way too many penalties,” said Saulsberry. “And we had turnovers … we clean that up and clean up the penalties and we’ll be fine.”
Whitehaven’s victory was its 18th in a row — the longest streak in the state — and sets up a fascinating game at home next week when defending Division II-A state champion Lausanne visits. The Lynx had no trouble with Harding on Friday — winning 48-21 —and will enter on a 16-game streak.
Cordova (2-1, fifth in the Dandy Dozen) will look to get back on track against visiting Douglass.
Reach John Varlas at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @johnvarlas.