Mac Harper

Mac Harper looks to pass during Whitesboro's homecoming game against Boyd. The Bearcats won 36-14 Friday night.

Asher Contreras caught a pass, took a hit and stretched his arm forward, determined to reach the endzone.

The senior’s touchdown just before halftime gave the Whitesboro football team a lead it wouldn’t relinquish Friday night as the Bearcats pulled away from Boyd during homecoming, 36-14.

Whitesboro (3-2 overall, 2-0 District 4-3A-1) gave up a pair of early touchdowns but did not allow Boyd to score after the first quarter.

Boyd (0-5, 0-2) led 14-8 after the first but gave up 28-straight points to the Bearcats.

Whitesboro coach Cody Fagan said the Bearcats adjusted well after a slow start.

“We forced a lot of turnovers,” Fagan said. “We cleaned up a lot of penalties from last week. Best I could calculate, we had four. Lot better discipline and protecting the football there after we had that one turnover to start the game.”

The Bearcats fumbled on their first play, eventually resulting in a Boyd touchdown when senior Rendyn Lamance punched it in from the one-yard line.

The Bearcats responded on the next drive. After driving down the field, junior Mac Harper found junior Jace Sanders in the endzone for a touchdown. A successful two-point conversion gave Whitesboro an 8-7 lead.

Boyd only needed a couple plays to retake the lead. Sophomore quarterback Braden McIntire threw a quick pass to senior Jaiylen McGilvery, who broke free for around 60 yards before going down at the four-yard line. Lamance ran it in on the next play.

Boyd’s 14-8 lead held until late in the first half. With 1:14 to play until halftime, Harper threw a swing pass to Contreras, who stretched the ball out while being tackled to get into the end zone. Boyd drove down the field in an attempt to respond before halftime, but a pass to the end zone fell incomplete as time expired with Whitesboro leading 15-14.

Fagan said he tried to get his players fired up when they went behind, but they had talked all week about expecting Boyd to challenge them.

“These guys have historically played us really well, and their record wasn’t going to dictate what happened tonight,” Fagan said. “They were just another team on the field. We had to go out and beat them and prove that we could. We started a little flat, and (I was) just trying to fire them up a little bit and make them understand that you gotta show up and play.”

The Bearcats dominated the second half. Senior Jayce Sanders intercepted a pass on the Yellowjackets’ opening drive, the fourth turnover forced by the Whitesboro defense to that point. The Bearcats scored on the resulting drive, as well as their next two, to pull away.

Fagan said Whitesboro got some players back who had missed the first half for the second, but the team also played better as a whole.

“They calmed down,” Fagan said. “They realized what they had done wrong in the first half and figured out a few of the things we had to adjust to.”

Harper threw three touchdown passes. Senior Jake Hermes caught one in the second half to go with the first half receptions by Sanders and Contreras. Senior Sean Schares scored two rushing touchdowns.

Harper said there is a “new Whitesboro” this year, and Bearcats’ opponents aren’t ready for it.

“We returned a lot of guys (from last year),” Harper said. “It’s a brand-new environment. Everybody’s wanting to work hard and go dominate.”

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