WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KETK) — Just southeast of Tyler, in East Texas, is Whitehouse — a city that proudly displays its maroon colors for the hometown Whitehouse High School Wildcats.
But over the past few years, that Wildcat pride has been accompanied with more Kansas City Chiefs gear.
“If you drive through Whitehouse… you’ll see all of the Chiefs flags and everything else,” said Mahomes’ former teammate Keagan Smith. “We still have Whitehouse pride, but it’s like Whitehouse then Chiefs, and it’ll let you know where you’re at and what territory you’re in.”
“In the last four or five years, there has definitely been a red take over here with the Kansas City Chiefs in this area,” said Mahomes’ former head coach, and current Whitehouse athletic director, Adam Cook.
During his senior season at Whitehouse High School, Mahomes threw 50 touchdown passes. He would do the same thing in 2018, his first year as a starter with Kansas City, on his way to winning league MVP.
In Whitehouse, Mahomes and the Wildcats ran what’s known as the NASCAR offense, a spread, up-tempo attack, which consistently caught defenses off guard, and made Mahomes’ skillsets that much more effective.
“Sometimes he would make our jobs so easy because we would only be out there for maybe two plays, and then he’d score,” said former teammate Gustavo Garza.
In the league, he’s become known to improvise a bit when plays break down, a skill set he developed in high school that wasn’t always great for the coaching staff’s blood pressure.
“He had this keen sense of his surroundings to know where to go, what to do, and honestly probably gave his old coach a few grey hairs with his scrambling around, but I was glad he could do it,” said Randy McFarlin, who was Mahomes’ head coach through his junior year at Whitehouse.
But beyond accolades on the field, it’s Mahomes’ leadership and personality that has created fans worldwide.
“He would come up and try to pump us up during the games, you know, we’d be down he’d be like, man, it’s not over,” said Smith.
So what turned a maroon city, in the heart of Dallas Cowboys country, red? The winning helps, but they know the kind of person he is today is the same as the kid he was in East Texas.