North Webster running back Devin White soaked in an ice bath following a bruising 389-yard rushing performance in a 51-47 quarterfinals comeback against Patterson.
White, who is also one of the top prospects being courted by LSU and Alabama among others, probably doesn’t have a hard time finding dates, especially after a huge game with historical significance.
Now he and offensive lineman Dallas Lay have a date. White promised Lay before the season that if he ever rushed for more than 350 yards, he’d take Lay out to Outback Steakhouse.
“I didn’t realize I had that many yards until (Lay) came up to me after the game and said, ‘Man, you owe me Outback,’” White said. “He said, ‘Man, you rushed for over 350 yards for real.’
“I told them that whenever he could drive us over there, we’d go. We’ll wait until after the season because we have business to finish.”
That unfinished business comes in the form of a Class 3A semifinals trip to No. 3 Amite (11-2) on Friday. Amite eliminated North Webster in the quarterfinals in 2013 with a 34-19 win.
“(Amite) has great team team speed, a great defense and an offense that takes what you give them,” said North Webster coach John Ware. “Both defenses are very good, and I’m expecting a possession-type game that will revolve around moving the chains.
“We’ve been in a war the last two playoff games, so I am worried about us being emotionally spent (after a 23-point comeback in the fourth quarter) after such a big moment for us. But what else can you ask for but to play in the Dome for the first time (as North Webster)? I don’t think there will be a letdown because of that.”
The No. 15 Knights (10-3) join No. 15 Acadiana as the highest seeds left in any LHSAA class or division in the playoffs. North Webster has already made history with its semifinals appearance, the furthest the program has advanced in the fourth year after its consolidation with Cotton Valley, Sarepta and Shongaloo.
White, who stands at 6-feet, 253 pounds, is preparing for a physical Amite defense by taking daily ice baths after practice and soaking in Epsom salt.
He’s earned it after rushing for a combined 799 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in three playoff games – the first two against No. 18 Marksville (49-18 win) and No. 2 Church Point (21-16 win).
Against Patterson, who had a 23-point lead in the fourth quarter, White added 53 receiving yards and a touchdown and a 45-yard kick return – totaling 487 all-purpose yards in the quarterfinals.
White also plays the majority snaps on defense at linebacker, participating in 24 of the 35 defensive snaps Friday.
“He had some plays in there that were all him,” Ware said. “He had some blocks, but he also made some stuff out of nothing.
“The offensive line graded higher in the fourth quarter than in the first three quarters, but he had a magical night, too … He was completely exhausted after (39 carries). He’s also a phenomenal player on defense, and we try to spell him on defense rather than offense.”
Three of White’s five touchdowns – a 55-yard run, a 54-yard reception from quarterback Kolby Cooper and a 14-yard run – pulled North Webster to within one score of Patterson.
The defense made a fourth-and-1 stop near midfield before White’s 14-yard run to cut the Patterson lead to 47-44.
North Webster, who’s comeback was helped by what Ware recalls as four recovered onside kicks off the foot of kicker Conroe McMullan, got the ball back.
White converted a fourth-and-16 but had to leave the game with exhaustion only to return the next play.
Whenever defenses key too much on White, somebody else gets the call. Jalen Smith scored the go-ahead, 9-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left.
“When we were down, the only thing going through my mind was to keep everybody up,” White said. “We had put ourselves in this position with some early turnovers and mistakes … but it wasn’t like we couldn’t handle them, and we had to get back in it.
“Everybody knew I was getting the ball (on the last touchdown) … but when your name is called on this team, you make a play. (Jalen) made that play.”
White has rushed for at least 150 yards in the last six games, gaining 1,321 of his 2,213 rushing yards in that span to go with 34 total touchdowns. He’s also the leading receiver with 213 yards.
But he usually has a running mate when defenses pour all their focus onto No. 40. Smith has 837 rushing yards while Lyntravious Gipson adds another 664.
Smith gained 125 yards to pair with White’s 224 against Marksville in the first round.
“(White’s) definitely the real deal,” Marksville coach J.T. Dunar told the Alexandria Town Talk. “He’s big, he’s physical, he’s fast. We watched him return a couple of kickoff returns, too.”
Amite’s defense has allowed just 20 combined points in its last two playoff games – a 31-7 win against No. 11 Jennings and a 33-13 win against No. 14 Port Allen.
BTW’s 18 points in a first-round loss is the most scored on Amite since a Week 5, 39-13 loss to Class 4A No. 3 Franklinton that preceded in eight-game winning streak.
“We learned a lot from last year’s playoff loss – like you can’t just be happy where you’re at,” White said. “They’re a good team … but we’re going down there with a chip on our shoulder.”
If White tops the 150-yard mark for a seventh straight game and North Webster makes its first Dome appearance since Springhill won the 1985 title, maybe steak mates White and Lay will be joined by a host of Knights at the Aussie-themed restaurant.