FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The New England Patriots player who scored the winning touchdown at Super Bowl 51 is a South Florida native, and those who knew him as a high school standout are hailing him as a hometown hero.
Years before he won big in Houston, Sunday night, James White was a star running back at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale.
“It’s a real surreal moment,” said White as he spoke with reporters after the game. “It still seems kind of fake to me, but I’m still really excited. I don’t know when it’s going to actually hit me.”
St. Thomas Aquinas athletic director George Smith said it comes as no surprise that his superstar player is now a Super Bowl Champion. “Humble, great athlete in varsity baseball and football,” he said.
White, who grew up in Fort Lauderdale, scored three touchdowns at the Super Bowl, including the one at the very end that won the game for the Patriots in overtime. In fact, quarterback Tom Brady said White should have been the MVP.
White, a former fourth-round draft pick, also had a key two-point conversion late in the game.
Aquinas head football coach Roger Harriot said he has been watching White play football since he was just a little boy. He said White has one of the greatest football traits, something he called “forces.”
“Great things happen for good people who are devoted to the greater good, and James White is the epitome of what it means to be an extraordinary person” said Harriot.
“Me actually being in that moment, I was really excited. I just wanted to do whatever it took to get that ball in the end zone,” said White.
White was back in Florida on Monday to take part in a parade at Walt Disney World, as the reality of the Patriots’ win finally started to sink in.
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