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Cody White rescues Walled Lake Western on opening night

Al Willman
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Walled Lake Western senior receiver Cody White had two days to prepare for Thursday’s start as the team’s quarterback in Western’s 41-14 win over Farmington at Michigan Stadium.

White finished 10-of-13 for 171 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried three times for 33 yards and another touchdown. He was replaced to start the second half by Dylan McGorsk.

“I haven’t had five (touchdowns) in a game, let alone five in a half,” White said with a laugh.

Western coach Mike Zdebski said the athletic performance is what he’s come to expect from White.

“He’s such a smart kid,” Zdebski said. “He’s got a great football IQ. He’s going to blow it up at (Michigan) State. He just knows what everybody’s supposed to do. One, God blessed him with athletic ability. He had a great upbringing from his parents in terms of being a student of the game and working hard.

“Cody knows what the split ends do, (what) the slot (receivers) do, (what) the tailbacks do and he knows what most of the offensive linemen do, too. Because he’s moved around to so many positions, and the fact that he plays defense — he can play safety, he can play corner … because he gets it, how kids fit and where they’ve got to be. He just gets things real quick. In terms of football, he’s like a Ph.D.”

White said he prefers to play receiver over quarterback, which he played regularly as a freshman.

“It was amazing, coming out to play on a Division I field with a high school team,” he said.

White, who is a Michigan State commit as a receiver, said he expects to play at the Big House some more before his football days are over.

“I guess it just gets me ready for college, playing up here,” White said, laughing. “I’m going to play here twice, maybe three more times. It’s a good experience.”

He threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jack Dodge 19 seconds into the game — after a Farmington fumble put Western in good field position. He then ran for a 23-yard score two drives later.

“That was kind of textbook for me,” White said. “That was fun.”

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White, Western’s No. 1 receiver, started for another senior, Johnny Tracy — who transferred from Birmingham Brother Rice prior to this season. Tracy was out with what Zdebski described as something different from what it appeared.

“Johnny was a little sniffly, and all that kind of stuff,” Zdebski said, then redirecting the question back to White. “You know, Cody’s a pretty darn good athlete, and we were like ‘It’s alright, take it easy Johnny. We’ll bring this guy in and see what he can do.’ ”

However, Tracy was seen on the sideline with a non-moving right arm, which would be more in line with White’s assessment of the starter’s malady.

“I think he had a hurt shoulder,” White said, pointing to his own right shoulder. “He went out to California to get it checked out by a doctor, and then he (the doctor) told him (Tracy) that he wasn’t playing.”

White said he expected Tracy to be back next week, when Western plays at Farmington Hills Harrison, while Zdebski had a different answer.

“We’ll have to wait and see how our other guy’s feeling,” he said, referring back to Tracy.

Al Willman is a freelance writer.