WHITE PLAINS — The second-ranked team in Class 4A showed why it was worthy of that distinction Friday night, as Hokes Bluff took down the White Plains Wildcats 34-8.
Behind workhorse running back Darrian Meads, the Eagles scored on their opening drive and never looked back, scoring the first 34 points of the game before giving up a late fourth-quarter rushing touchdown to White Plains’ Jaden Chatman.
“They’re definitely the top team in the region to try to beat,” White Plains coach Chris White said after his team fell. “They’ve really just got a sound, fundamental football team.”
What to know
—Two-time all-state running back Meads was the star of the night, needing just 15 carries to pick up 217 yards and two touchdowns, including a 97-yard sprint with the Eagles in the shadow of their own end zone. Meads accounted for 217 of Hokes Bluff’s 252 total yards.
—After a slow start in the first half, managing just 33 total yards, the White Plains offense found its groove in the second. The Wildcats outgained the high-powered Hokes Bluff offense after halftime, with White Plains gaining 176 yards to the Eagles’ 159.
—White Plains reached the red zone on three straight drives in the second half before quarterback Jaden Chatman finally ran it in from 7 yards out with 4:55 left in the game. Walker O’Steen punched in a two-point conversion to make the final score 34-8. Chatman finished 5-of-7 for 36 yards through the air and rushed 10 times for 32 yards. Running back Garrison Abbott led the Wildcats with 57 yards on the ground.
—Meads put up a lot of yardage, but Hokes Bluff shared the scoring load. Quarterback Ashton Gulledge scored the Eagles’ first touchdown on a 5-yard rush, and his only passing completion of the night went for another score, a 20-yarder to fullback Hunter Burke in the second quarter. Carson Eubanks took the opening kickoff of the second half 75 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Ethan Whitcomb made four of five extra points.
—White Plains’ White on Meads: “He’s a great player. On film he looks great, but in person he’s unbelievable. It’s hard to believe a big guy can run like that in high school football. He’s a challenge.”
—White on his team’s performance in the second half: “It’s really easy to come out in the second half and lay down, but they made the adjustments we needed to make, and I’m really proud of that. The guys had a good look in their eyes. That was a great confidence builder going into next week.”
—White Plains falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in Class 4A, Region 6 play. The Wildcats continue Region 6 action next Friday, when they travel to Ashville. Hokes Bluff (2-0, 1-0) returns home next week to take on Oneonta.