NAIA play a breeze for Saints’ quarterback E.J. White
BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI For Sun-Times Media September 26, 2012 9:58PM
Updated: October 29, 2012 6:38AM
For E.J. White, Milwaukee was his childhood home, and St. Cloud, Fla., is where he played football in his middle school and high school years. But Joliet is his land of opportunity.
“Most of my family aside from my immediate family is still in Wisconsin, so it’s only a two-hour drive,” the junior quarterback said, explaining how a Florida prospect would up playing college ball for St. Francis. “I just came off of knee surgery and this school gave me the best opportunity to come in and work for a starting spot right away, which was exactly what I wanted. Just give me a chance to come in and play. They gave me that opportunity, so it was just the perfect match.”
White has made the most of that opportunity as the NAIA’s national leader in total offense. When the Fighting Saints (3-2, 1-0 Mid-States Football Association Midwest) thrashed Iowa Wesleyan (1-4) on Saturday in Joliet, White completed 27 of 39 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns and ran nine times for 110 yards and two touchdowns. For that, he was named MSFA offensive player of the week.
For the season, he leads the NAIA with 1,707 yards in total offense and 1,368 passing yards, while also leading the Saints with 339 yards rushing. He’s thrown a touchdown in 26 of his 29 career games and ran for 100 yards twice this year and eight times during his career.
That pass-run versatility is what he sees as his strength as the Saints try to defend their conference title, a quest that continues Saturday at Waldorf in Forest City, Iowa.
“I like to think that I’m a hard guy to get ready for because I feel that I can get around in the pocket and make plays with my feet, but I also feel like I have a good enough arm to make defenses stay back in coverage and not put too much pressure on us,” he said.
He hopes doing his bit can help his team stay on top after its first MFSA Midwest title last season.
“We still have the goal of winning conference after we won it last year,” he said. “To repeat as conference champions would be amazing for our school.”
Former Prospect high school star Grant DePalma, playing at Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute, Ind., was named NCAA Division III national player of the week after a 28-26 victory over Manchester. A sophomore linebacker, DePalma made 20 tackles, including 18 solos, with four sacks and six tackles for loss.