Some moments are frozen in time. Even on a hot, humid August day, senior Kayin White has no problem remembering his first high school touchdown.
“I got in during the second half against Broadmoor,” White said. “That was my first game. The second time I touched the ball I went 60 yards and scored. It was great.”
That score was only the beginning. White had a breakout season to help Parkview Baptist finish as the Division II select state runner-up to district rival University High.
The notion that White came out of nowhere to run for 1,081 yards and average 11.4 yards per carry is correct. The route he took with his father, former LSU standout Lyman White, watching from the background wasn’t conventional.
It illustrates perseverance and what it’s like to capitalize on a long-awaited opportunity.
“I don’t really advertise that he’s my son,” Lyman White said. “I had my time, and now this is Kayin’s time. It’s not about me. He works very hard in his classes and at football.
“When he started playing football, he always wanted to be a running back. But he was bigger than other kids, so they made him a tight end or a lineman. They tried him at linebacker.”
The elder White was a Franklin High standout, an All-Southeastern Conference defensive end at LSU (1977-80) and a linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons for two years before a tumor on his right knee cut his career short. He knew his son wasn’t destined for a defensive role.
Those differences foster a playful banter between the father and son.
“He never made me play football,” Kayin White said. “The only advice he gives me is to stay low and run hard. And he always reminds me that if I had to go up against him he’d stop me on every play.”
Lyman White smiles as he talks about his son joining the South Baton Rouge Jaguars youth football team. The team had LSU freshman Derrius Guice, the former Catholic High star.
Dylan Moses, now a junior star at rival U-High, later joined the mix.
“He wanted to play running back, so I asked him if he wanted to try another team,” Lyman White said. “And he told me no. He stayed.”
Kayin White is 5-foot-10 and weighs 215 pounds. He has scholarship offers from Southern Mississippi, Southern University, Army and Navy. A year ago his move to Parkview amounted to a leap of faith. He attended McKinley High for two years, played junior varsity and got a few varsity carries.
The Whites moved to south Baton Rouge. Lyman White enrolled his son at Parkview after PBS Athletic Director Kenny Guillot advised him not to. Guillot told White his son would probably be ruled ineligible by the LHSAA and noted how complex the Eagles’ triple option offense is.
“I did talk to someone at the LHSAA,” Lyman White said. “We knew there were no guarantees. If he had been told to sit out (last season), he would have. This was about being in the best place for Kayin.”
Kayin White sat out one game while the LHSAA reviewed his eligibility request. By his second game he was a starter. He credits ex-teammate Houston Robert, now a freshman receiver at Rice, for showing him the ropes.
“What’s unique about Kayin is that he has the ability to put his head down and run you over,” PBS coach Jay Mayet said. “He also has the speed and quickness to make moves. He has both packages.
“On top of that he’s an exceptional kid. He’ll greet the freshmen who are being dropped off by their moms in the morning. He’ll say, ‘Hey man, good to see you today.’ Not many seniors do that.”
Kayin White learned about perseverance from his father. Lyman White’s promising NFL career was cut short. His right leg is stiff from 1985 surgery that fused bones together to halt the cancer.
“He’s taught me self-discipline and to respect everybody,” Kayin White said of his father. “He tells me to always treat people the way you want to be treated and to always plan ahead ... to look toward the future.”
Lyman White and his brother, Albert, operated a restaurant near LSU that specialized in buffalo wings in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Years later, he entered a guilty plea to Medicaid fraud charges involving an drug/alcohol counseling center he operated and served prison time.
“My life is an open book,” Lyman White said. “We’re all the sum of our experiences, the good and the bad. I’m blessed to have a son and a daughter, Samia, in high school who are bright and talented.
“Kayin loves football, but he knows academics is the key. I’m proof that football doesn’t last forever.”