SALISBURY — Livingstone linebacker Kenneth White Jr. was a standout running back in high school at South Brunswick, and he still knows what to do when he finds the ball in his hands.
White, now an All-CIAA linebacker, returned a fumble forced by Hillman Evans 35 yards for a touchdown to provide a highlight in Livingstone’s 32-25 home loss to Virginia Union on Saturday.
That scoop-and-score made the 6-foot, 233-pound White the CIAA Linebacker of the Week.
Well … that scoop-and-score, plus 14 bruising tackles did.
“Kenny makes a large number of tackles every week,” Livingstone head coach Daryl Williams said. “He does what needs to be done. He’s talented and he’s consistent. He’s the leader of our defense.”
White has run to daylight before in Rowan County. He was a standout fullback when his South Brunswick squad made the long ride from the Southport/Long Beach area and battled East Rowan in a tense 2009 3A first-round playoff game in Granite Quarry.
White’s TD run and 2-point conversion gave South Brunswick an 8-all tie at halftime. He rushed 15 time for 121 yards in that game, although the Mustangs ended his season 14-11 in overtime.
White was stellar in a lot of areas back in Brunswick County. Stellar in football, baseball and basketball. Stellar in band. Stellar in choir. Stellar in science. The stellars could go on for a while.
If you’re wondering how Livingstone was able to entice such an all-round phenom to leave the beach, family ties provide the explanation. White’s father, Kenneth Sr., was a Blue Bear, and White’s uncle JoJo White is one of the legendary figures in Livingstone’s football history.
JoJo wasn’t anywhere near as big as Kenneth Jr., maybe 5-10 and maybe 175 pounds, and Chowan cut him without even giving him a chance. He eventually wound up at Livingstone, and the rest is history. He led the CIAA in rushing in 1982 and 1983 and was the 1983 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year.
In other words, Kenneth Jr.’s gene pool is good. His stats also are good.
He was the CIAA’s leading tackler last season, and he was Livingstone’s lone preseason All-CIAA pick.
We’d hoped to interview Kenneth Jr. Wednesday morning at the weekly Blue Bear press conference, but he was scheduled to introduce a speaker at an assembly.
“Kenny’s talented in that area too,” Williams said with a smile.
Williams was upbeat Wednesday despite the CIAA loss to Virginia Union, which arrived at Alumni Stadium winless.
Williams saw more progress, more building. The Blue Bears (2-3) didn’t win, but they did a lot of things right on the stat sheet. They made a much more favorable impression on fans and administrators than they had in a blowout loss to Catawba on Sept. 14 in their previous home appearance.
“We actually beat Virginia Union all over the football field, and I couldn’t have been more proud of how the guys played,” Williams said. “We came up 1 yard short of winning. We might have been one more second in the weight room short. It was that close.”
Livingstone moves on to Saturday afternoon’s 2 p.m. game at Raleigh’s John H. Baker Stadium against CIAA opponent St. Augustine’s. The stadium is named for the John Baker who was an NFL defensive lineman from 1958-1968.
Like the Bears, St. Augustine’s is 2-3.
“St. Augustine’s is a very tough team,” Williams said. “But we’re looking for a signature win. That’s what we need right now.”
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