DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
The biggest takeaway from Whiteland’s 66-0 demolition of South Dearborn Friday is probably the fact that when the Warriors have a chance to rout an opponent, they will take it.
The high-water mark for the Knights was their attempt at an onside kickoff to start the game. The decline began when Whiteland’s Ricky Ramey recovered the attempt at midfield.
After that, the Class 5A No. 7 Warriors put on a clinic in power football, running the ball at will en route to seven scoring drives in the first half (six touchdowns and one field goal). Even a lost fumble on one drive was only a temporary respite, as South Dearborn returned the favor two plays later, with Ramey again making the recovery.
Warriors’ coach Darrin Fisher spread the ball-carrying duties among a number of players. Touchdowns came from Shaw Cloud, Jace Carpenter and two each from Brandon Patterson and Chris Richardson. The most spectacular first-half scoring play came from Richardson, who went on a 58-yard touchdown jaunt in the second quarter.
Whiteland’s defense was equally dominant, holding South Dearborn to 25 total yards, as a front four of Brandon Perry, Ryder Emberton, Joe Corbin and David Hammond were continually in the Knights’ backfield, holding the visitors to just one first down in the opening 24 minutes.
Fisher saw some bright spots and also a few areas to improve upon.
“Our defense played phenomenally. That was positive number one and I think our kicking game was really solid,” he said. “It’s hard to practice the kicking game early in the season but they got a lot of good reps tonight and did well with that.
“We have some things to work on and we’ve seen in the past that the biggest improvement in a team usually comes between week one and week two.”
The second half began with more of the same for Whiteland. Patterson broke loose on a 46-yard touchdown run. Even as Fisher began substituting more liberally, the Whiteland defense was shutting down the Knights at the line of scrimmage.
A mishap on a punt deep in South Dearborn territory gifted Whiteland possession at the Knights’ 20, and Whiteland’s second team offense took the field and three players later, Jackson Vanette scored from the 15 to make it 59-0. Will Prine threw a 41-yard scoring pass to Alex Hillman, as the reserves continued to impress and take the margin past 60.
Only a late 15-yard run on a fourth down reverse put South Dearborn over 50 yards of total offense for the night.
Fisher applauded the reserves’ effort.
“We wanted 106 guys engaged in this game tonight and I think we got it. We were pretty precise in our execution and communication and we just want to improve on that,” he said. “I don’t know if we got all 106 (on the field) but it was pretty darn close.
“We wanted all of our guys to go out and be sharp and I thought for the most part we were able to do that. When everybody got in they did their part.”
The Warriors rolled up nearly 400 yards in offense, most of it on the ground.
Whiteland plays at Center Grove on Friday.