CELESTE — The Whitewright Tigers allowed a touchdown the first time the Blue Devils had the ball but the defense didn’t give up anything the rest of the way and even chipped in with a touchdown during a 20-7 victory over Celeste in non-district action.
Holding just a slim six-point lead for most of the second half, Whitewright clinched its second straight victory when Kayden Carraway returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown with 46 seconds remaining in the game. The Blue Devils were driving and hoping to pull out a win but Carraway had other ideas when he snagged Michael Connelly’s pass and headed the other way to seal it for the visiting team.
Carraway also completed 9-of-14 passes for 104 yards with a touchdown and an interception and ran for a score, Colby Jones finished with 10 carries for 47 yards and Aaron Pitt had a TD catch for the Tigers (2-1).
Thomas Powell ran 12 times for 52 yards and completed six-of-14 passes for 80 yards, Damon Crook ran 11 times for 51 yards and Holden Lamm caught three passes for 53 yards to lead Celeste (1-1).
After Whitewright was forced to punt on its opening drive, Celeste took over at its 38-yard line and quickly moved into Whitewright territory. Powell connected with Lamm for a 35-yard touchdown pass and the Blue Devils were up 7-0 with 7:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Celeste missed a chance to extend that lead when Powell came up with an interception to get the ball back but the Tigers were able to force a punt and the turnover didn’t prove costly.
The defensive battle continued deep into the second quarter. Whitewright finally broke through when Carraway found Pitt for a 29-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at seven with just under eight minutes remaining until half-time.
Whitewright was able to force a punt and take possession in the final minutes and Carraway finished off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 1:48 remaining in the second quarter. The PAT failed and set the stage for the defenses to decide the outcome.
Both teams struggled offensively in the second half, trading punts through the scoreless third quarter. Celeste came up with a pair of fumble recoveries but the Tigers again made stops on those ensuing drives to maintain the lead.
Whitewright will be home this week to face Redwater, which replaced Cooper on the Tigers’ schedule due to the Bulldogs being forced to cancel because of positive COVID-19 tests while Celeste is going to host Cumby in the 6-2A (I) opener after the schools decided to move up the start of district play by a week.