Super Bowl hero White the go-to man

February 07, 2017
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (right) celebrates with James White after the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday 5 in Houston. The Patriots won 34-28 in overtime.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP):

James White was not the New England Patriots' featured running back when Super Bowl 51 started.

As White has proven before, that was irrelevant.

In 2009, White was a senior at St Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was a starter for the perennial state and national powerhouse but wasn't considered the go-to ball carrier. That role was held by Giovanni Bernard, now of the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Gio was more the tailback, and a lot of times we changed our sets so we could use both of them," said St Thomas Aquinas athletic director George Smith, the school's football coach when White was a senior. "But when Gio was hurt in his senior year and couldn't play, James took a whole different path. He became the deal."

When the Patriots needed him Sunday night, White was the deal again.

He set Super Bowl records by scoring 20 points and making 14 catches for 110 yards. He had two rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Patriots came back from 25 points down and stunned the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 for the franchise's fifth Lombardi Trophy.

"Isn't he great?" Smith asked.

Apparently, Tom Brady thinks so.

Before the Patriots left Houston for home yesterday, Brady suggested White should have been MVP the award that the Patriots quarterback received for a record fourth time.

"I think James White deserves it," Brady said. "It'd be nice for him."

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