Daleville running back Jalen White continued his stellar season on Friday, Sept. 27, by breaking the Daleville single-game rushing record as he helped lead the Warhawks past the Straughn Tigers 50-35 on the road.
White rushed for an eye-popping 419 yards and five touchdowns on just 18 rushing attempts, which breaks former Warhawk Brandon Burks’ record of 411 yards set in 2011 against Bullock County. That total is also the 10th highest total in state history, according to the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s website.
“Going into that last drive I got word that he was hovering around 398 (yards) but truly I just didn’t want to have him out there and get him hurt or anything,” Daleville coach Desmond Lett said. “We also wanted to play some younger guys there, but we got a false start (penalty) and it put us behind the chains, so I decided to put him in so that we couldn’t get too far behind the sticks.”
After hearing of Burks’ record earlier in the week, White said that he would break it this season.
“That kid is just determined and he’ll also be the first one to tell you that he isn’t the only one out there getting it done,” Lett said. “He’ll be the first guy to give credit to all of those players around him. He just works hard and does everything the right way.”
Burks – who is currently playing for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts – also responded to White’s big game.
“Records are made to be broken,” Burks said. “I hope he breaks them all!”
Straughn jumped out to an early lead as the Tigers marched down the field on a 16-play drive to open the game. Running back Nick Lawson closed out the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to give Straughn a 7-0 lead, after the PAT, with 4:01 left in the opening period.
White then set Daleville up at the Straughn 38-yard line after a 44-yard kickoff return. After a quick loss, Daleville quarterback Robert Dees found running back/receiver Sincere McKenzie wide open for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 3:00 left in the first quarter. The two-point try failed and Daleville still trailed 7-6.
After a Straughn three-and-out, White got going as he broke off a dazzling 77-yard touchdown run on the Warhawks’ next play. McKenzie cashed in the two-point conversion and Daleville led 14-7 with 32 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Daleville would take that lead into the second quarter.
On Straughn’s first play of the second quarter, Daleville defensive lineman Casey Moore stripped a Straughn ball carrier of the ball and linebacker Myles Parris jumped on it.
The Warhawks then drove inside the Straughn 15-yard line, but a pair of penalties and a sack pushed Daleville all the way back to the Straughn 42-yard line where White punted the ball into the end zone.
Straughn then got back on the scoreboard when quarterback Adam Anderson found running back Demetric Toney for an 87-yard touchdown pass with 5:51 left in the first half. Straughn attempted a two-point conversion but Daleville rejected it and held on to a 14-13 lead.
White then scampered for a 56-yard touchdown run on Daleville’s next drive and also converted the two-point try to put the Warhawks ahead 22-13 with 4:25 left in the half.
Straughn and Daleville exchanged punts to close out the half and the Warhawks held on to the 22-13 lead at halftime.
Daleville opened up the second half in style as McKenzie put the Warhawks back in the end zone on an exciting 45-yard touchdown run with 9:20 remaining in the period. White bulled his way into the end zone to convert the two-point conversion and Daleville lead 30-13.
Straughn wasn’t ready to pack it in just yet, however, as fullback Donald Strickland raced to a 46-yard touchdown run with 7:40 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion cut Daleville’s lead to 30-21.
Daleville answered again when White burst through the Tiger defense on a 64-yard touchdown run with 5:41 left in the third quarter. The two-point try failed and Daleville led 36-21.
After another Straughn punt, White once again found the end zone on a 72-yard touchdown run with 1:59 left in the period. This time, White lined up in an offset I-formation as a fullback, while McKenzie lined up at tailback. A confused Tiger defense was watching White scamper into the end zone before they knew what had hit them. The two-point try failed and Daleville led 42-21.
As the fourth quarter began, Warhawk fans may have felt a sense of impending doom as once again Daleville’s opponent began to creep back into the game.
A pair of Daleville fumbles led to a two-yard touchdown run and 17-yard touchdown run for the Tigers as they cut the lead to 42-35 with just over five minutes remaining.
At that point, White took matters into his own hands.
White danced around and then ran through the Straughn defense on his way to a 61-yard touchdown run with 3:52 remaining in the game. McKenzie scored on the two-point try and Daleville led 50-35.
McKenzie then made another big play as he took the ball away from a Tiger receiver for an interception to seal the win.
McKenzie had 118 total yards and two touchdowns on offense along with three tackles and an interception on defense to come up large for the Warhawks.
“Sincere has played really well for us,” Lett said. “He and Peanut (Bloodsaw) have turned out to be the guys that we want to get the ball to get some of the eyes off of Jalen.
“If you just keep all of your attention on Jalen then Sincere can really hurt you and the same with Peanut. Sincere played big for us on both sides of the ball. He’s an undersized kid but probably has one of the biggest hearts on this team.”
The Warhawks piled up 498 yards rushing and 542 total yards in the win, while giving up 332 yards to Straughn.
Along with his big day on the ground, White also averaged 42.5 yards per punt and returned two kickoffs for 67 yards. On defense, White totaled three tackles and a pass breakup, as well.
The Warhawk defense was led by Parris who had 9.5 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.