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White goes back under center to lift Malvern Prep to first win

READING >> Without Lonnie White Jr. at quarterback for a full game, Malvern Prep’s offense struggled during an 0-3 start against top-caliber opponents.

White was back behind center for the Friars Friday night at Berks Catholic, and he made quite an impact.

He accounted for 329 total yards and five touchdowns as Malvern Prep routed the Saints 42-7 in a non-league game.

“Oh, it’s fantastic,” Friars coach Dave Gueriera said. “Our offense is just different when we him at quarterback. He’s just an explosive athlete. He just saw the field so well tonight.

“He embraced our game plan in practice this week. He ran well and I thought he threw well.”

White carried 12 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns and completed 5-of-12 passes for 127 yards and three scores. He suffered a concussion in the opener against McDonogh School, missed a game against La Salle College and returned to action at wide receiver last week against Imhotep.

He impressed the Saints’ Rick Keeley, who has coached high school football for almost four decades.

“He’s as good as anybody I’ve had to defend,” Keeley said. “He can just take over a game. He’s able to pass it. If nothing’s there, he’s more dangerous running than passing. He’s a nice kid to build an offense around.

“He sees the whole field. He can throw a pinpoint pass. He can make something out of nothing. He makes you miss. He runs through tackles. He’s an amazing talent.”

With White taking snaps, the Friars piled up 474 total yards, including 347 on the ground. They held Berks Catholic (2-3) to 94 total yards.

White connected with D’Angelo Stocker on a 24-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Early in the second quarter, White showed off his running ability in spectacular fashion.

On first down from the Berks Catholic 47, he faked a handoff, burst through the line, cut left and outran the Saints’ secondary to the end zone. A few minutes later, he dropped back to pass on third-and-3 from the Friars’ 13, took off downfield, broke several tackles and finished his second touchdown run, an 87-yarder.

“It’s tough to stop him the way he runs,” Berks Catholic safety Christian Cacchione said. “I couldn’t catch him. He’s pretty good.”

Down 21-0, the Saints fought back by forcing three turnovers in the final five minutes of the first half, interceptions by Cacchione and Owen Wolfe and a fumble recovery by Wolfe.

Berks Catholic needed three plays to score after the fumble, CJ Carwll reaching the end zone from the 1 to make it 21-7 at the half.

“The kids kept playing and kept coming back,” Keeley said. “We had a nice little answer right before halftime. We had a little momentum. The they went right down and scored on the first drive of the second half.”

White threw a screen pass to Isaac White, who turned it into a 58-yard touchdown. Late in the third quarter, Steven Rose Jr. sprinted around left end on fourth-and-1 and scored on a 32-yard run.

Rose carried 14 times for 107 yards. He had transferred from Exeter to Berks Catholic in January and hoped to play for the Saints, but the PIAA denied his athletic eligibility for this season and he transferred to Malvern Prep, a non-PIAA member.

“First and foremost, he’s just a fantastic kid,” Gueriera said. “I just love his presence. He’s a do-gooder. He’s a hard worker. He doesn’t say a lot. When he does talk, it’s very impactful. He’s a very physical runner. I think we need that.”

White left the game after throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Maguire with 10:48 to go, but not before making a lasting impression on Berks Catholic and its fans.

“He’s just a special talent,” Keeley said. “He’s a good athlete. He can make things happen. You can try your best to stop him, but sometimes you get out-athleticized in this game. That kid was truly a man playing among boys tonight.”

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