Hixson's Home-Schooled Kicker

Friday, August 02, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

Luke White has never played varsity football - or football at any level for that matter – prior this high school season and has 10 Friday nights this fall to convince some college football coach, somewhere, he is worthy of an athletic scholarship.

The football resume - four years of violin, two years of middle school soccer and three years of cross country with the Chattanooga Patriots - is a tad thin when it comes to gridiron experience.

A far flung idea one might think. But, desire, determination and hard work are not always found in a typed resume.

“It’s a dream of mine to be a college kicker and a big deal to earn an athletic scholarship,” said White who is an A and B student.

The 17-year-old senior who is home-schooled yet eligible to play for Hixson High School (lives in the Hixson zone) takes his first test three weeks from tonight (Aug. 23) as the Wildcats host Soddy Daisy in the season opener for both schools

“He came to me very raw, but has developed into a real good kicker,” said former U. of Tennessee kicker James Wilhoit who works with high school kickers all across the nation, including UTC’s Henrique Ribeiro and Baylor School senior Rafael Gaglianone.

“Luke understands the time he has to put in to be a good kicker and the potential is there.”

White was one of 45 of the top kickers from a seven state region at Wilhoit’s kicking camp in July and was graded about the middle of the pack by the ex-Vol kicker who was a high school All-American at Hendersonville (Tenn.) H.S. and All-SEC at Tennessee in 2006.

“I am excited to see how he does and the first time he runs on the field to kick an extra point or a field goal in that first high school game will, of course, be a big deal.”  

Working with his dad since last summer, as well as Wilhoit, White is now consistent from 35-45 yards.

If accuracy in practice can translate into productivity in game situations, White should be a vital part of the veteran Hixson offense.

The Black and Gold, which was 7-4 in 2012 and has 22 seniors this year, will be led by senior quarterback Gill Brown who threw for 1,300 yards and ran for an additional 200 a year ago and junior running back Marshall Cooper.

White’s father, Jon White, recalls the start of his son’s interest in kicking a football.

“We were watching some Tennessee games  a few years ago and after Luke noticed the kickers making field goals and extra points he said, ‘I can do that’ and for the last year he has put the time in to be a good kicker,” said the senior White who wrestled at Marion County High School in the early 1980s.

“I am pretty consistent from 45 yards out and on a good day I can make a couple from 50,” said the Hixson kicker who has a career practice best from 55.

The Wildcat coaches and players hope he has several “good Fridays” this fall. Good enough to be kicking at the next level this time next year.

 

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


Willerson, Georgia Northwestern Ready For 2014 Golf Season

Most second-year college golf programs are too busy laying a foundation to concern themselves too much with results. Jared Willerson isn’t thinking that way. In fact, the head coach of the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats is thinking in complete opposite terms when he talks about his team’s goals for the 2014-2015 season. “I don’t think I’m being unrealistic ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Splits Volleyball Tri-Match At Crown College

Head Coach Carrie Powell and the Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats volleyball team traveled to Powell, Tenn. on Saturday for a season-opening tri-match against Alice Lloyd College and host Crown College. The Navy-and-White lost their first match of the day to the home team in heartbreaking fashion, three games to one. GNTC claimed a 25-22 victory in the first set and had their ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Insurance Burden Should Not Fall On The Teachers

I have attended several Hamilton County School Board meetings over the past few months, including the recent special called meeting" to vote on teacher insurance changes. First, let me say I am very impressed with Superintendent Rick Smith and his staff at the Central Office.  Mr. Smith is a very dedicated public servant, working hard to provide services to our community ... (click for more)