Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Lakeside Panthers (6-3) have put themselves in a position to make the state playoffs for the second-consecutive season and Kendall White has played an important part in that.
Heading into Friday’s game at Evans, the senior defensive end was among team leaders in tackles with 54, accompanied by three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
White gave credit to the 3-4 defense the team started running this season.
“It gets more speed on the field and gives me more opportunities to make plays with my teammates,” White said. “It puts more speed at linebacker and makes them (offense) spread it out a little bit more, it gives me a chance to come off the edge and make the play.”
Relatively new to the game, he started playing football for his middle school team and CAYFA, and has quickly grown into a player that Lakeside head coach Jarrett Troxler has the utmost respect for.
“He’s one of the best leaders we’ve ever had since I’ve been the head coach of the program and he’s an awesome young man,” Troxler said.
“I can’t say enough about him, I love him to death. I love him like he’s one of mine.”
While White sees his role as leading by example and showing that if you put in hard work you reap the rewards, he credits teammates for helping the squad get to where they are now.
“We have great leadership in (senior) Daniel Cotty, Rashad Roundtree, being a junior he stepped up and started leading and everybody came together and that helped out a lot more,” said White. “We have a lot more leaders on our team, younger and older.”
That team-first attitude is a reason he doesn’t mind doing the work on offense, playing H-back and blocking for others.
“I think when they score everybody gets glory, that’s the best part,” White said.
While others may be fretting about their future after high school, the two-year varsity starter entered his senior season worry-free. He received an offer from the DI Southern Conference’s Western Carolina Catamounts over the summer and committed to them for a few reasons.
“I feel like they can bring out the best potential I have,” said White.
“I went up there for a visit and it’s like family up there, a brotherhood and something I’d like to be a part of. It’s not that far (Cullowhee, N.C.), it’s like four hours away, so my mom can still come see me play and that definitely played a role.”
First though, he has to make sure the scholastic side of things is taken care of, which can be difficult while playing a sport.
“It’s kind of hard to go home and you’re tired from practice and then you’ve got to study, and study film and study the game and make sure you’re balancing in your schoolwork
His experience of getting a scholarship was one of the reason he did his senior project on the effect of steroids and collegiate sports and how it affects high school athletes.
“Me being a senior seeing how hard it is to get an offer, that some people want to get a headstart or jump and they may take steroids or something and some people take them and not know the dangers of them like an enlarged heart or liver.”
He plans to study counseling/psychology at Western Carolina.
“I feel it can tie in to be a coach or something and having those skills to know what brings out the best in players and how I can be able to help people the most.”