A touchdown worth more than six points

When Joaquin White scored the last TD in the freshman team’s 60-6 victory over Lanier, his teammates erupted on the sideline in celebration


Madelynn Niles

Reserve running back Joaquin White is mobbed by his teammates after White scored a fourth-quarter touchdown. His touchdown drew an uproarious response from his teammates on the bench who rushed out to celebrate with him after he scored. Photo by Madelynn Niles.

Ez Guenther, guest reporter

The outcome of the freshman football game between McCallum and Lanier at Nelson Baseball Field on Oct. 10 had been determined long before a reserve running back from McCallum scored what seemed to be a meaningless fourth-quarter touchdown. To the casual observer,  it was just six more points added to a lopsided score, but to Joaquin White and his teammates and coaches, the rushing TD was worth a lot more than just six points.

“Joaquin works as hard or harder than anyone on the team,” said offensive left tackle Johan Holmes, who was blocking for White on his scoring play.

Judging from the reaction of Holmes and his teammates, who erupted on the sidelines in celebration, one might have thought that White had just scored the winning touchdown in next week’s Super Bowl.

Annabel Winter
As his teammates and coaches cheer behind him, freshman Tino Rodriguez awaits the arrival of teammate Joaquin White after White scored a touchdown in the Knights 60-6 victory over Lanier at Nelson Baseball Field on Oct. 10. Photo by Annabel Winter.

But team wasn’t really celebrating the touchdown but rather the character and heart of the teammate who scored it.

White attended every single practice, workout and football game the freshman team had throughout the season.

Joaquin works as hard or harder than anyone on the team.

— offensive left tackle Johan Holmes

“I can always count on seeing Joaquin at the early morning workouts and the practices” said Coach Brad Bernard, who coached the offensive line.

The 2018 season was White’s first year playing football. “I signed up for football because I wanted to try something new and meet new people,” said White, who has played baseball for most of his life.

On the morning of the game, White had no clue what was about to happen seven hours later.  The Knights hit the Lanier Vikings with everything they had. On offense, No. 20 Breyonn Wooley scored three rushing touchdowns, and quarterback Jaxon Rosales rushed for one and threw to Major Faught for another. Even reserve running back Demetrius Martinez found the end zone for a rushing touchdown. On defense, the Knights intercepted the Vikings three times with Peyton Bergeron and Faught each returning a pick for a touchdown.

[The touchdown] was special to me … for a week or so.

— Running back Joaquin White

The Knights led 41-0 at half, and by the fourth quarter, the only drama left involved White’s entry into the game at tailback. His first efforts to run the ball were repelled by a resilient Viking D. But on fourth-and-15 at the 50-yard line, Rosales scrambled for 40 yards to give the Knights and White a first-and-goal and one more chance for White to score.

White had no idea what was about to happen on the next play. The atmosphere in the huddle before the play seemed perfectly ordinary.

“The huddle was the same,” Holmes said, “a moment to relax.”

But then the team approached the line of scrimmage. When White got the ball, it looked like he was going to be tackled for a loss again, but White exerted a tremendous second effort and for the first time in his football career scored a touchdown.

Madelynn Niles
Joaquin White’s freshman teammates leap skyward to celebrate his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Lanier Vikings at Nelson Baseball Field. Photo by Madelynn Niles.

“I really didn’t think I would score,” White said. “But I just ran, and I broke the plain.”

Everyone on the sideline couldn’t contain their emotions.

“We all went crazy,” Devon Wald said. “Right after the play we rushed and jumped on him.”

The team wasn’t alone in its excitement. The coaches reacted to the touchdown in the same way.

“I saw the coaches, and they were smiling,” Holmes said.

It was a special moment for White and for his teammates, but only for a little while.

“Yes of course it was special to me,” White said, “for a week or so.”