Staff photo by Alexis Mansanarez
HERMISTON — Playing at the next level wasn’t on Eric White’s mind at the start of his senior season on the Hermiston football team.
White was more concerned with whether he would be able to play another quarter after sustaining an injury in the first quarter of the first game of the season.
During the 35-21 loss at Union (WA) on Sept. 1, White broke his collar bone and wouldn’t take the field for nearly two months.
“There were a lot of times where I thought, ‘Wow, is my last game really going the be the first quarter of my first game my senior year?,’ White said. “But I just kept thinking that maybe if I just keep trying, I (can) get back for maybe just another quarter, and that’s what the goal was to get back just to play one more time.”
White made a big enough impression during Hermiston’s playoff run, which eventually ended with a state championship, to garner the attention of Carroll College.
On Tuesday, alongside teammate Tyler Hunter, White signed a Letter of Intent to continue playing football in the fall as a Fighting Saint.
It’s not just the athletic program and coaching staff of the six-time NAIA National Football Championships that attracted White.
The private Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Helena, Montana has a nationally and regionally recognized pre-med and nursing program, a field of study White will pursue.
It also doesn’t hurt that Hunter will be joining him, and decision that White admits he pushed hard for.
“It’s nice having a friend (there),” White said. “Me and Tyler are super close and honestly, I was kind of the one trying to talk him into going. I kept telling him, ‘you know we could both go and play there.’
White recalled Hunter’s response: ‘I know, Eric, I know.’
Similar to White, Hunter was unsure if he would be continuing football after his final year as a Bulldog.
After the 38-35 win over Churchill to claim the OSAA 5A state title, he thought that my be the final time he stepped on the gridiron.
“It crossed my mind that yeah, that was one of the last times I’ll play football but I didn’t want it to be the last time,” Hunter said. “So, I filled out quite a few prospective student athlete forms.”
That’s when he caught the attention of the Carroll coaching staff, and after exchanging text messages planned a visit with White that would seal deal.
“I just fell in love with the campus and the people there, it’s a really great place,” Hunter added.
Hunter plans on majoring in accounting, which he’ll then turn into a career of being a CPA.
Contact Alexis at email@example.com or 541-564-4542. Follow her on Twitter @almansanarez.