Seminole football fans have a chance to catch up with one of the program’s best players this week before heading to Anadarko for a playoff game Friday night.
Since taking over the Seminole program in 1980, Mike Snyder has coached a lot of great players. In fact, his program qualified for the playoffs for 31 straight years before missing the postseason last year. Even with a team that has been hit hard by injuries, this year’s Chieftains ran up a 7-3 record and return to playoff action.
Before the fans head to Anadarko Friday, they have a chance to watch Papi White and the Ohio Bobcats take on Toledo on ESPN2 Wednesday.
“If Papi isn’t the best player I have ever coached, there aren’t any who are better,” Coach Snyder said this week. “Papi was a quality person and that helped make him the quality of player he was. He was very grounded and humble. He still is.”
Snyder has attended both bowl games White has played in with Coach Frank Solich’s Bobcats. In 2015, they played in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery Ala. And in 2016, they played in the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
This year, the team is already bowl eligible and still has its sites set on a Mid American Conference Championship. The Bobcats are 4-1 in conference play and 7-2 overall, leading the MAC East. That resume includes a win over Kansas University in the Big 12.
Ohio’s only losses have come to Purdue and Central Michigan. Wednesday’s opponent, Toledo, has only one loss this season and they lead the MAC West. Their loss was to No. 14 Miami University.
If the Bobcats are going to pull the upset and stay on track for a conference title game – which would probably be a rematch with Toledo – they will need help from White. White was a running back in high school whose highlight reel was impressive. He continued racking up highlights after redshirting for a season at Ohio. Last year, White’s catch and touchdown run, hurdling a defender in the process, on the first play of the team’s win over Buffalo was named the best play of the season for the Bobcats.
“That was the best play of my college career,” White said.
White has always been a team player and that led him to making the switch from running back to receiver for this year’s Bobcat squad. Despite missing a few games with a hand injury suffered against Kansas, White has been the leading receiver twice and has score two touchdowns.
He is looking forward to Wednesday night’s game.
“It is a big game,” White said. “We have to win these to make it to the conference championship game.”
Even with big things going on, White enjoyed reminiscing about his time at Seminole under Coach Snyder.
“Playing for a legend like Coach Snyder was great,” he said. “He had great confidence in me and that helped a lot. He helps his players with everything, but not because he had to, because he wanted to.”
Some of his favorite things about coach Snyder off the field were his traditions and superstitions. He ate at Boomerang every Thursday night and would wear the same socks as long as the team was winning.
“In 1996, I had to wear the same pair 14 times in a row when we won it all,” Snyder laughed.
White said as his team enters the last three games of the regular season he wants everyone in Seminole to know what they meant to him.
“Everything I am and everything I am doing up here is for all of my people back home,” White said. “I do everything for them. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Wednesday’s Ohio vs. Toledo game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 6 p.m.