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MacArthur White's football career at Lakeland College might technically have come to an end, but he's still finding ways to make history.
White, a senior from Zion, Ill., has been named to the American Football Coaches Association's Division III all-star team that will represent the United States against the Mexican National Team in the 2007 Aztec Bowl on December 8 in Chihuahua, Mexico.
He is the first player in Lakeland history to be named to the team, and one of only a handful in Illini-Badger Football Conference history. He is one of five players from Wisconsin college or university programs on this year's 50-player roster.
"I think it shows that my hard work paid off, and that when you do work hard, those are the kinds of things that can happen," White said. "I first heard about the game from (Lakeland head coach Kevin) Doherty, but never did I think they would pick me being from such a small school. It goes to show that our program is making progress."
Doherty, who recently wrapped up his first season as Lakeland's head coach, agreed.
"This is great recognition for him and our program, and I think it sets the bar or standard of achievement for future players a little higher," Doherty said. "The next person from our program named to play in the Aztec Bowl will say 'That's a pretty special honor because MacArthur White was on that team.
"It's a special privilege for him, our program and the whole Lakeland community. I wouldn't say I had to coach him too much this season - he's a very talented athlete that was already polished. It was fun to be a part of his senior year and recording-breaking season."
White, who transferred to Lakeland from Northern Illinois University three seasons ago, completed his three-year playing career for the Muskies with 2,254 career receiving yards, which topped the Lakeland record of 2,239 yards set by 2002 Lakeland graduate Calvin Thomas. White also finished fifth all-time in career receptions with 146.
He leaves for Mexico on Dec. 2 for a week of practice and preparation for the Dec. 8 game. He returns to the U.S. on Dec. 9, and isn't quite sure what to expect.
"Here I knew I was going to play, but in a game like this you don't know if you're going to play or how much you're going to play," White said. "I just want to play and do well."
White led the Illini-Badger Football Conference in receptions per game (4.8) and receiving yards per game (75.3) this season. He was third in the nation in kickoff returns averaging 31.7 yards per return. He caught 48 passes for 753 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Muskies and returned 12 kickoffs for 380 yards and two touchdowns.
White joins 50 NCAA Division III seniors from around the country who will make up this year's team. Former Widener, Delaware Valley and LaSalle Head Coach Bill Manlove will coach this year's team.
The Aztec Bowl is the traditional season-ending game for Mexico's college football season. The game has been played 36 times since 1947 with the last 10 contests featuring the United States-Mexico match-up. The United States is 9-1 in the series and defeated Mexico, 28-7, in the 2006 game in Aguascalientes.
Chitwood Sports Media of Jefferson, Texas, will provide a live webcast of the Aztec Bowl. Along with the game webcast on December 8, announcers Charlie Chitwood and Ned Fratangelo will provide 90-minute preview shows on December 5, 6 and 7. The preview shows will originate from the Team USA hotel and will begin each night at 6:30 p.m. CST.
The preview shows and game webcast can all be accessed via the AFCA's website at www.afca.com and via the Aztec Bowl website at www.aztecbowl.com. Postgame results will also be available at www.afca.com.
The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 10,000 members around the world ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to "maintain the highest possible standards in football and in the coaching profession" and to "provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football.