Already assured one undefeated conference champion in football this season, Johnson County is in a position to have two.
A victory tonight would give Class 5A No. 6 Whiteland a 6-0 record against league opponents for the third time in Darrin Fisher’s 11 seasons as head coach.
Fisher’s 2008 and 2013 squads achieved Mid-State perfection; the 2010 and 2014 Warriors posted 5-1 records to share the title with Plainfield and Decatur Central, respectively.
Whiteland wraps up its regular season this evening at longtime county and league rival Greenwood, which takes the field with its own list of motivations.
The Woodmen have lost three straight games to the Warriors and 10 of the past 13.
Also, a win against Whiteland lifts coach Mike Campbell’s Greenwood program into no worse than a two-way deadlock for the league title. (Decatur Central could make it a three-way tie with a victory against Franklin.)
Center Grove coach Eric Moore last week watched his team finish off a 7-0 slate in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference by defeating visiting Lawrence North.
Moore, who guided Trojans teams to five first-place ties (2000, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013) before the program finally broke through with one all its own, insists conference championships never lessen in importance.
“Darrin and I are a lot alike. We want to win a state championship, but we want to win a conference championship, too,” Moore said. “I told my team being undefeated is hard. It wears you down. But it also means you played the best football of anyone in your conference those seven or eight weeks.”
Both of Moore’s Class 5A state finalists found themselves sharing the MIC title.
In 2000, the coach’s second season, Center Grove, Ben Davis and Carmel all finished with 6-1 records. The 2008 Trojans that would go on to claim the program’s lone state championship split the top spot with Carmel as both finished 6-1.
For Fisher, the parity within his conference — six of the seven teams have at least tied for the Mid-State championship once since 2000 — doesn’t dilute the experience if his Warriors have company at the top of the standings.
“For our kids it’s our No. 1 goal. Obviously you want to win them outright, but I don’t think it detracts from it at all because the level of competition in our conference is very consistent,” he said.
Fisher’s teams set out every season with three primary objectives. In no particular order, they are to defend home field (4-0 so far this season), play their best football in October (2-0) and win the Mid-State Conference.
Two down, one to go.