Ethan White has endured the hard times of an upstart program. As a senior, he is looking to go out on a winning note.
As an eighth-grader, Ethan White was part of Beekman's inaugural varsity football team. Now a senior, he is hoping to help the Tigers to a breakthrough season.
White has been through some hard times with the upstart program. Just as the Tigers were beginning to become somewhat competitive in Class 1A, they were reclassified to 2A last season.
After going 0-9 in 2017, the Tigers are showing signs of improvement. A season-opening 40-34, triple overtime victory over LaSalle snapped a 13-game losing streak.
"We're a lot more disciplined and in a lot better condition this year," said White, a senior tight end/defensive end. "Everybody's working together. Everybody realizes if we stay with it and don't give up, we're going to come out with some good results."
White, Riley "Red" Faulkenberry and Jacob Crawford are the only holdovers from the Class of 2019 who played on the school's original varsity squad.
Despite the program's futility over the years, White says he never considered giving up football to be an option.
"I figured once we got all the bad games over with, we would end up with some good ones, and we have," White said. "We stuck it out, came together as a team and got a win."
First-year coach Joey Lee counts on White and a handful of others to set a positive tone in practice as well as the games.
"Ethan has been working hard every day," Lee said. "He is setting a positive example and being a leader."
White's work ethic has carried over to the field on game nights.
"Ethan's played well overall on both sides of the ball," Lee said. "He usually catches three or four passes at tight end and makes five or six tackles a game. He does a great job of blocking, which is something you have to do in the veer."
Like most of the Tigers' core players, White is a two-way starter.
"I try to be in the best condition possible because a lot of us are going both ways," White said. "We just try to do our best on both sides of the ball."
Though Beekman has made significant strides this season, the lack of depth has taken a toll.
Leading 12-0 at halftime, the Tigers eventually lost to Homer 28-12 in Week 2.
Last week, Beekman trailed only 14-6 at halftime before giving up three third quarter touchdowns in a 34-6 loss to Lakeside.
Fatigue was clearly a factor in both games.
To their credit, the Tigers have battled all the way through in every game.
"Just because somebody's bigger than us doesn't mean they are going to stop us," White said. "LaSalle was a lot bigger and a lot deeper than we were, but we never gave up and kept pushing. That's what we have to do every week."
Although White has had his share of personal highlights, he can't recall delivering a signature hit.
"I always try to hit as hard as I can any time I make a tackle or a block," White said.
On the other hand, a hit from last year's Ferriday game stands out for the wrong reason.
"I was playing defensive end and their guard pulled, and I got pancaked," White said. "I don't know his name, but it wasn't (Dare) Rosenthal, who is playing at LSU now. He always played tackle."
During the early years of the program, Beekman played its home football games at Delta Junior High. One of White's fondest memories is scoring the first touchdown at Keith Huntsman Field, the team's on-campus stadium. Last year in Week 3 against Lakeside, White hauled in a 64-yard pass from Brock Jenkins to give the Tigers a 6-0 first quarter lead.
"Scoring the first touchdown on our field is something I will always remember," White said. "Another thing I will always remember is the LaSalle game. You couldn't have asked for a better game. Playing all those overtimes and being able to walk off of our field with a win, that was a great feeling."
Now that he has experienced the thrill of victory, White is ready to repeat the process.
"We are going to try to win as many of the rest of them as we can and get in the playoffs," White said. "Then we'll see what we can do from there."