WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KETK) — Just southeast of Tyler, in East Texas, is Whitehouse.
A city that proudly displays it’s maroon colors for the hometown Wildcats.
But over the past few years, that maroon has been accompanied with more red, as their native son, Patrick Mahomes, continues to lead the Kansas City Chiefs.
“If you drive through Whitehouse, just going through 110 looking left and right, 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.”
“Definitely tell you, 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, 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.
“That’s just one of the things about it you know, we’ve seen it before now the whole country is getting a chance to see it,” said former teammate Marcus Brown.
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.
“I was pretty confident calling plays with Patrick Mahomes in there, I’ll say that,” said Cook.
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.
“Unpredictability, you never know, you think you got him down you think you’ve got him down you think no receivers are open, and here he goes he comes out and does something crazy,” said Cook.
But beyond accolades on the field, it’s Mahomes’ leadership and personality that has created fans worldwide.
But if you ask those who know him best, they say that’s just how he’s always been.
“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.
“Even though he had a lot of weight on his shoulders, pressure on his shoulders, football season, basketball season, baseball season, he was a guy for everybody,” said Brown.
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.
“Proud of Patrick as just the type of man that he is, yes, he’s a winner on the field, but he’s a winner off the field,” said McFarlin.
“When we talk about how you’re here in East Texas, and now people in Longview, Kilgore, Henderson, all those people are excited because of what he does, the way that he does it, the way that he conducts himself,” said Cook. “People in Dallas want to know what he’s like, well, he’s just like you guys.”
Patrick Mahomes, he’s a champion, a record-setter, a Wildcat, and an East Texan.