MADISONVILLE, Texas – On a soggy Friday night in Madisonville, Texas, Madisonville High School squared off against Navasota High School in a game that featured two of the top junior athletes in the state of Texas.
With several quality prospects on the field, Chris Whaley of Madisonville and Dexter Pratt of Navasota were the headliners. The two junior running backs had the fortunes of their teams on their backs and on this night, it was Whaley and his three touchdowns that powered Madisonville to a 28-13 win.
But Whaley didn't do it alone.
At 6-foot-3 230-pounds, Whaley piled up a bruising 203 total yards of offense and ensured that the Navasota defenders would be feeling their Friday night on Saturday morning. But the majority of those yards came behind the equally bruising blocks of his older brother Alonzo Whaley.
Alonzo, a two-way player who was all over the field on the defensive end, did the dirty work for his brother on the offensive end, opening up holes for the big back. However, with a small halftime lead of 7-0, and no big plays from Chris, Alonzo decided to play the big brother role as well as
"We had a little brother-to-brother talk," said Alonzo. "I didn't get after him, but I told him 'Chris I know you're better than this.'
"I told him 'even though the linemen aren't blocking well, big players make big plays. I'm not going to let you be satisfied with just getting back to the line of scrimmage.'"
Alonzo can consider that message received. Chris came out in the second half and continued to pound on the Navasota defense, and with 5:36 left in the third quarter, he made that big play that his older brother had called for.
Lined up in the slot, Whaley caught a short pass in the flat and accelerated up field. One defender bounced off of his massive legs and after that it was a race to the end zone that ended with a 66-yard touchdown.
"I enjoy playing with (Alonzo)," said Chris. "We get along together pretty good and he picks me up when I need it.
"In the first half I know I wasn't at my best," he said. "But in the second half I came out with a blast and I was ready to go."
Whaley finished the night with 133 yards on 22 carries and 70 yards receiving while scoring three of Madisonville's four touchdowns.
While his brother's stern words at halftime may have provided some motivation for Chris, it was very clear that his showdown with fellow 2009 back Dexter Pratt gave him plenty of motivation as well.
"I was thinking about [the showdown with Pratt] the whole time we were getting ready to play them," said Whaley. "I was gonna show them who the best running back was. I think I did that tonight."