Faced with the task of replacing its two glaring holes on offense, University High showed Friday it had the answers.
The Cubs filled in the blanks by turning to a senior quarterback D.J. White, who hadn’t played football in several years, and freshman running back Mike Hollins.
U-High was replacing longtime starters Manny Miles at quarterback and Nick Brossettte at running back.
White, a member of U-High’s back-to-back Class 3A state championship basketball team, directed the Cubs on three straight scoring drives, while Hollins piled up a team-high rushing total in a 21-0 jamboree victory Friday over Livonia at Richard Gill Stadium/Jeff Boss Field.
“D.J.’s experienced in big moments with what he’s done in basketball,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “He’s just getting his feet back into it. I wish we had some easier starts for him, but he’s going to have to learn on fly. I thought he did a nice job executing.”
The 6-foot-5 White accounted for a pair of touchdowns, while Hollins added the other — all of them were 9-yard scoring plays — to help the reigning Division II select state champion turn back Livonia, the Class 3A nonselect state champion.
U-High’s lone second-half possession in the 12-minute second half resulted in a 21-0 lead with 6:38 remaining after Brennan Boudreaux blocked a punt.
White finished the six-play, 23-yard drive with a nice back-shoulder pass to wide receiver Chris Raymond, son of LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, for a 9-yard score. Aidan Gayle added his third successful extra point.
White was 5 of 8 passing for 43 yards, while Hollins led the Cubs with 45 yards rushing and a TD on 12 carries and White added 29 yards and a TD on four attempts.
“They were much more physical than I expected — White in particular,” Livonia coach Guy Mistretta said. “I knew he was a big, athletic guy. I didn’t realize he was that physical, especially being out of football for a couple of years. They’re going to go a long way.”
U-High scored on both of its first-half drives to lead 14-0 at halftime.
The Cubs converted three times on third down, including a key 10-yard run from White, who scrambled out of the pocket and lowered his head to reach the Wildcats’ 14-yard line.
White kept two plays later up the middle to score at the 7:16 mark and cap the 14-play drive. Hollins came back on the next series to make it 14-0 with a 9-yard sweep with 3:37 left.
Livonia threatened to score on its final possession of each half behind quarterback Cee Jay Powell, who completed 6 of 11 passes for 78 yards with Nick DeRogers leading the way with three catches for 56 yards.
The Wildcats reached the Cubs’ 9, courtesy of a personal foul and offside penalty, but U-High defensive back Adam Lewis broke up Powell’s pass in the end zone on the final play of the opening half.
Stanford cornerback commitment Malik Antoine stopped another potential scoring threat with an interception of Powell at U-High’s 17 with 1:32 to go.
“I thought it was a good start tonight,” Mahaffey said. “We played very hard and physical on both sides. We knew that going in it would be a physical game.”