By Cary Shuman
When Steffan Gravely scored the first touchdown of his football career in his Pop Warner days, his mother, Shenequa White, ran all 80 yards with him on the sidelines.
Though she’s still in attendance at every game, the proud mom now watches the games from the bleachers. She was at Breakheart Stadium in Wakefield for the annual Tech-Northeast rivalry game on Oct. 14, and the game couldn’t have ended better for Steffan and his teammates.
Steffan scored four touchdowns and was outstanding on defense as James Runner’s Tech Tigers defeated the Golden Knights, 47-26. Steffan received the prestigious Rick Drislane Award, named in memory of the former Tech star.
“It feels great to receive this award,” said Gravely, a 19-year-old senior.
Gravely has been a four-year starter for the Tigers. He’s been earning a lot of publicity this season as the leading rusher and scorer for the undefeated Commonwealth Athletic Conference champion who take a No. 1 seed in to the state playoffs.
“It’s been the offensive line,” said Gravely, when asked about his success. “They’re doing it. They’re pushing. They’re striving. Each week we’re trying to get better and get stronger.”
In the post-game huddle, Gravely took on another role, leading the team in the singing of “Happy Birthday” to coach James Runner.
“He’s a great coach and he’s a great father figure to me,” said Gravely.
Shenequa White said it’s been a joyous experience watching her son develop in to a high school football star and a nice young man.
“He’s just a phenomenal player and a wonderful son,” she said.
She said Steffan played one year in West Lynn Pop Warner before moving over to East Lynn Pop Warner. “I remember that first touchdown. I ran the entire field with him for 80 yards. I can’t do that anymore.”
Steffan is still running to end zones and his mother couldn’t be happier that he’s doing for coach James Runner.
“Coach Runner has been a huge influence in Steffan’s life,” she said. “I remember when my son was first coming in to high school. I simply told Coach Runner, ‘I want my son play football for you.’ He took Steffan under his wing and he has been a positive role model in his life from Day 1. He couldn’t have picked a better coach to play for.”