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Football Player of the Week: White County's Dalton Whitfield

Senior leads Warriors in rushing, tackles

POSTED: November 19, 2013 8:23 p.m.
Nat Gurley | The Times/

White County's Dalton Whitfield runs the ball against North Hall earlier this season.

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When Dalton Whitfield broke his jaw in White County’s Week 4 loss to Blessed Trinity last season, he was forced to sit out the Warriors’ final seven games.

He sat and watched as the Warriors were eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs by those same Titans. He was unable to lead, unable to help his teammates.

It’s a feeling Whitfield hasn’t forgotten, and it’s something that’s motivated him this season.

“The feeling of standing there and watching your teammates going through a game and knowing they can use you out there and just seeing your team can use you, it hurts to an extent,” Whitfield said.

“This year I’ve come back and I’ve tried to prove to the team that I was there with them on the sidelines and I was there with them emotionally.”

Whitfield has re-emerged as the do-it-all leader for a Warrior football team that is looking to make school history on Friday night when it faces off against Blessed Trinity again in the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs in Roswell.

Whitfield’s all-around skills were on display last Friday night in the Warriors’ 52-28 win over Adairsville in the opening round.

He led White County with 237 yards rushing and three touchdowns, while also playing a pivotal role in anchoring a Warrior defense that limited Adairsville to just seven second-half points and forced three turnovers.

For his efforts, Whitfield is The Times’ Football Player of the Week.

One of the few seniors on this year’s roster, there’s no questioning that Whitfield is the unsung captain at White County, a blue-collar team that has built itself on playing a physical brand of football. He leads White County in rushing yards and tackles this season, while also serving as the team’s punter.

“He’d drive the bus if you needed him to,” White County coach Bill Ballard said. “He’s a big part of our team. There is no question. He can do a lot.

“He’s an impact player for us and if he has a good game, we tend to have a good game. He’s an outstanding kid and an outstanding football player for us.”

Whitfield scored the Warriors’ first touchdown of the game against Adairsville on a 9-yard run that evened the score at 7-7. He scored again later in the half, breaking into the end zone to put the Warriors in the lead, 27-21, with eight seconds remaining before halftime.

It was a touchdown that swung the momentum in favor of the Warriors.

“Looking back on it now, it was (a very big touchdown),” Whitfield said. “If we don’t score going into the half, and we get the ball to start the (second) half and score, we would’ve just been up one touchdown.

“But, that two touchdown lead really put us ahead of them. It brought the team’s momentum up pretty well.”

Now, Whitfield is looking to use his all-around skills to lead White County to its first-ever second round playoff victory, while also locking in the school’s first 10-win season.

In order to do that, he and his team will have to face a Blessed Trinity team that has had their number the past two seasons. In three meetings since the start of the 2012 season, the Warriors are 0-3 against the Titans, which includes a 30-0 defeat at home in Cleveland earlier this season.

“Going against them three times, it’s become kind of a rivalry, I’d say,” Whitfield said. “But, we are looking forward to the game. We are going to put in a good week of practice and hope for the best.”

The hope, according to Ballard, is that by facing a caliber team like Blessed Trinity so many times in the past few seasons, the Warriors will be more prepared heading into Friday night’s playoff matchup.

“It’s one of those things where we went out and scheduled (Blessed Trinity) because, in order for our team to take the next step, we’ve got to beat a team like them,” Ballard said. “When you get into the playoffs, you’re going to have to beat a private school or a city school.

“In order for you to take that step into the third round or the fourth round, you’re going to have to beat somebody like that.”


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