Highlands’ Brock White feeling stronger after injury-shortened freshman season

Thursday, August 15, 2019 | 4:55 PM

Before last season began, Highlands coach Dom Girardi had high hopes for a freshman running back who displayed a lot of potential throughout summer and training camp.

But when the Golden Rams took the field in their Week Zero matchup against Plum, those high hopes quickly changed to positive thoughts for a quick recovery. Within the first few plays, freshman tailback Brock White tore his right meniscus.

“I was really disappointed for him because he is a very hard worker,” Girardi said. “He puts a lot of effort in during the offseason, with training and everything. You feel bad for anybody when they have an injury like that, especially someone who has put in a lot of time.”

White missed a majority of the season, but with a strong mindset and motivation to return quickly, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound running back played the final three weeks of the season. He finished with 18 carries for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

Now, White is fully healthy for Highlands, and he said he feels stronger for his sophomore year.

“I feel like I can do more now,” White said. “Last year, I didn’t try to jump or cut as much, but this year, I can do more, way more.”

White will be the workhorse of an offense that wants to get back into the practice of winning games in the trenches.

“We just want to do a better job of imposing our will, blocking and running the football,” Girardi said.

Although they are young, with one senior in the starting mix, the Golden Rams have an experienced offensive line. They also have size. Jeremiah Nelson, Wahkeem Roman, Darren Hildebrand, and Max Weston started last year.

Weston, Nelson and Hildebrand stand between 5-foot- 8 and 6-0. Roman, a junior, towers over his linemates at 6-5, 286. Running behind a line like that can help a young running, but White also has a connection with his line he believes will be beneficial.

“We have a pretty good connection, so I think it should work pretty well for us,” White said.

Although he will play a big role in the offense, White figures to be a key component on the defense. Girardi said White made an impact as a linebacker during his freshman season.

Girardi said White is a “natural football player,” and he believes White’s instincts as a running back translate to defense.

“He’s very quick, and he’s got good instincts for the ball,” Girardi said. “I think it’s one of those things that fits very well. If you as a running back know how to find holes and how to get through them, then you as a linebacker should be good at finding holes to fill them. He’s done that for us this summer.”

The Golden Rams are looking to bounce back from a 2-8 season. After losing their starting quarterback and a few other pieces, Highlands will rely heavily on players such as White, who is ready for the challenge.

“I think I can bring a lot to this offense,” White said. “They are going to depend on me to run the ball a lot this year. So I think I am going to have to put in that work and step it up.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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