Friday Night Hero: Carson’s Zach White
By Ronnie Gallagher
firstname.lastname@example.orgCHINA GROVE ó As soon as Mark Woody took over as head coach at Carson in 2006, he knew he had to sell his program.
He did so to Zach White and now Carson is sold on its talented senior linebacker.
White had two interceptions and helped Carson shut out North Rowan 32-0 on Friday. Three seasons ago, no one would have envisioned White making those plays.
That was the first time Woody made contact with White. He may have done his best selling job ever ó not on the field but in the Carson parking lot.
White was a ninth grader then. He had long hair and he figured his future would include skateboarding.
“My mom wanted me to play football,” White recalled. “I didn’t feel like I was in shape to play so I decided not to.”
Undaunted, his mom pulled the van up to the school. He wouldn’t get out.
“She got Woody and he got in with me,” White said. “He told me they needed me. He liked my attitude. I thought he was telling the truth.”
The rest is history ó and a really good story.
“You could write a book on the kid,” Woody said.
White’s performance against the Cavaliers proved how far he has come. Both interceptions were in the fourth quarter, but the first is the one he’ll always remember.
Going into the game, White had never picked off a pass. But he read the quarterback’s eyes and realized it was a hitch pattern. He intercepted the throw.
“It was amazing, it was unbelievable,” White said, remembering what he heard as he ran off the field:
“You got one, Zach. You finally got one.”
You could almost hear White say to the North quarterback, “Thank you sir, may I have another?”
“It was the same deal,” White said. “I was on the strong side. I saw the hitch on the other side. I ran over and picked it. I ran about 10 yards before they got me.”
When Woody got him as a freshman, he was a defensive end. Switching to linebacker changed his life.
“I had some fun at defensive end, but when they moved me to linebacker, that’s when I started showing my skills,” White said.
“He fits the bill of a linebacker,” Woody added. “He runs well. He’s tough. He’s a strong leader on the field. It was a natural place to put him.”
Now, White’s mom has a hard time getting him to go home.
“Every day since we got him out of that van, he’s been here for everything,” Woody smiled. “You have to run him out of here.”
White weighs only around 150 but power cleans 225. And he is focued on the field.
“I think about hitting, making a forced fumble or getting an interception,” he said.
That’s a far cry from the the unsure freshman Woody used to call “Tony Hawk.”
“He has fun, he keeps us stirred up around here,” Woody laughed. “He’s a kid you want to see good things happen to. You’d be crazy not to want a guy like him.”
Woody saw something in the shy kid back in 2006. And because of it, White is a Cougar football player ó and proud of it.
“I feel really good about Carson this year,” White said.
Of course he does. And all it took was taking that first step out of Mom’s van.