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High School Digest

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK : Crespi's White Hints Actions Will Do His Talking

November 25, 1987|STEVEN FLEISCHMAN

Even Russell White might have run out of things to say about himself. At least, Crespi's junior running back is considering withholding comment from the press.

"I'm not sure about it, but I think this is probably the last I'll talk until it's all over," White said, indicating that he will not grant interviews to reporters until Crespi is eliminated from the playoffs or successfully defends its Big Five Conference championship.

"I just want to be able to concentrate on football," White said Monday night while watching his uncle, Charles White, play for the Los Angeles Rams on television.

"When you lose a game, it's like all the reporters ask you questions and it's your fault if you didn't do good. And when you win, you're on top of the world. I just want to leave it alone, until it's all over."

Crespi Coach Bill Redell said he didn't suggest the silent treatment but thinks it might be a good way to take pressure off the 16-year-old.

"I wasn't aware that he had done that, but I believe with all the attention he's getting it's a good idea," Redell said. "He's 16, he's got exams and Thanksgiving coming up. All the media have been calling this week. Someone wanted to do a three-hour photo session with him.

"We realized early on that he would be getting a lot of recognition, but we thought it would be a lot more his senior year. But he's received a lot of good advice from his mother and Kermit Alexander, to keep his eye on school."

Alexander, the former UCLA and San Francisco 49er standout, is White's cousin and a volunteer coach at Crespi.

White, who rushed for 1,515 yards in 142 carries (a 10.7 average) during the regular season, opened the playoffs last week with a career night--so far. In Crespi's 38-32 victory against Riverside Poly, White broke his school record, rushing for 348 yards and five touchdowns in 28 carries. This season, he has 1,863 yards in 170 carries (10.9 average).

White has rarely seen the end of a game this season because Crespi (9-1-1) frequently holds a big lead by halftime. Against Santa Clara, for instance, White rushed for 240 yards and 4 touchdowns in 9 carries, a 26.7 average, in Crespi's 56-14 rout.

"Now we know what he can do," Redell said.

"I always knew that I could go 300 yards in a game," White said. "If the line holds up, I can have as many yards as I want. I just go out and every time I get the ball, try to break it. You may see a 500-yard game."

Said Redell, no stranger to hyperbole: "As we get into his senior year, I think he might become the most highly recruited high school football player of all-time."

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