Manuel White is getting better. So is Valencia High.
White, the Valencia running back, had been slowed by a viral infection that cost him 15 pounds, but he appeared to be rounding into shape Thursday night against Silverado.
White rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns in 22 carries as Valencia pounded Silverado, 49-7, in a nonleague game at Canyon High.
White said he's still not fully healthy--"I wasn't popping my knees like I should," he said--but his return to form after a modest 72-yard performance last week against Highland is nothing but good news for Valencia (2-0), ranked No. 3 by The Times in the region.
Or, as an assistant coach said when White returned to the sideline after a swiveling, spinning, 28-yard touchdown: "Welcome back."
Valencia can't get too thrilled about the victory against Silverado, a school in Victor Valley that is in its second year of varsity competition.
The Vikings had problems in the secondary and the game would have been less of a rout if not for seven dropped balls by Silverado receivers.
Silverado (1-1) committed six turnovers--three fumbles and three interceptions.
Valencia put the game out of reach on White's touchdown on the opening possession of the second half.
On the seventh play, he took a pitch to the left, spun through a tackle, bowled through another and went 28 yards for a 35-7 Valencia lead.
"I felt better this game, but I'm not where I should be," said White, a junior. "I'm not in football shape yet."
Valencia Coach Brian Stiman was pleased.
"You can't go through what he went through and expect to just come in and start rolling," Stiman said. "His decision-making process is well intact, it's just his legs aren't under him yet. Another week of practice and he'll be there."
Last season against Silverado, White ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns in only 14 carries and became a conversation piece several times during the off-season for Hawk Coach Mark Lenz.
"Everywhere I've gone, especially for coaching clinics, I've been asked about him by Division I [college] coaches," Lenz said. "I've sat down with a number of college coaches when they find out we played against him, and they immediately know him by name and number. I've been coaching football for 22 years and he's certainly one of the best backs I've coached against."
Rali Mosley, who started at running back last year at Silverado, arrived late for two-a-days and has not participated in the mandatory number of practices to be eligible.
His backup, Brian Jones, was slowed by a hip flexor injury, but rushed for 57 yards in 15 carries.
The story of the first half was six turnovers, four by Silverado.
Valencia might want to clean up its mistakes before heading to Serra, a traditional powerhouse in Gardena, next Friday.