Friday night’s season opener can’t get here fast enough for Alvord’s Jaylon White.
After suffering a season-ending injury last year and then being held out of practice to start this year with a medical scare, White is grateful for the opportunity to get off the sidelines and back in the action.
“Friday is going to be great going out there,” White said. “It makes you want to play more, knowing it could’ve been taken from you.”
White will start on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs Friday against Nocona, in front of a home crowd.
Last year, on the first play from scrimmage against Henrietta with his team in the hunt for a playoff spot, Jaylon White’s season came to an abrupt end.
“It was the first play after the kickoff on a jet sweep,” he recalled. “I ran the ball around the left side and a helmet went into the side of my knee.
“I felt it and heard it pop.”
The hit left the then-sophomore with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He was forced to watch the Bulldogs drop their final two games by three points each as they missed the playoffs.
“It was bad. I felt weird watching the team and knowing I couldn’t help them,” White explained.
He underwent surgery Dec. 21 and began his road back to the field.
“[Rehab] was tough at first,” White said.
But after putting in the hard work, he was released June 21.
“[The knee] is better than it was,” White said.
While the knee was healthy enough for him to rejoin his team, something new popped up during his preseason physical.
“During the physical they heard a clicking in my heart,” White explained. “They told me I had to get an EKG. My grandma was freaking out.”
Diagnosed with a heart murmur, White had to wait nearly a week for his medical tests to come back. He was then released to play.
“For four to five days, I was wondering if I was going to get to play football again and what else would I do,” White said. “I was then told it wasn’t anything major and I could play.”
Since he rejoined the team, Alvord coach Pete Hart said White continues to improve.
“Last week he was back full time,” Hart said. “We’ve been rotating a lot of people in the secondary but when Jaylon has been in, he’s been effective.”
White picked off two passes last year and knocked down three more.
“He can be a clamp-down corner,” Hart said. “He can shut a person down and he’s got enough speed that they are not going to get behind him.”
White is also fearless from his cornerback spot, not backing down from any receiver.
“I like the challenge,” he said. “You have to have quickness and be able to react and read the offense.”
On offense at receiver, White caught 18 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns last year. He added 115 yards rushing.
He actually prefers playing receiver to cornerback.
“I like being able to make good catches and helping the team out,” White said. “But I’m starting to like defense more.”
No matter where he’s playing, White is just grateful for the opportunity to once again be on the field.