Whiteland’s football program entrusted Anthony Schantz with 36 carries during the 2013 season.
It’s 36 times more than he had anticipated.
Inserted into the Warriors’ offense for the second half of a Week 6 Mid-State Conference home game against Martinsville, Schantz, then a freshman, remembers the moment vividly.
“My eyes just got so big,” said Schantz of the 60-42 triumph. “I started getting all nervous, but we did win.”
A 5-foot-10, 188-pound running back, Schantz teams with senior quarterback Jace Carpenter, a three-year starter, to lead the Warriors offense this season.
Carpenter is coming off a season in which he completed 32 of 61 pass attempts for 484 yards. He had eight touchdown throws compared to only one interception.
Close numerically — Carpenter wears No. 8, Schantz No. 9 — and as longtime friends, the seniors look forward to the weeks of preparation ahead. Whiteland opens its season inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Aug. 19 against defending Class 5A runner-up New Palestine.
A week later, the Warriors host reigning 6A titlist Center Grove.
Schantz, whose career rushing totals are up to 234 carries, 1,262 yards and 16 touchdowns, realizes his role is about to change. After all, former Warriors’ backs Shaw Cloud and Brandon Patterson have moved on to Hillsdale College and Tiffin University, respectively.
“In the past I was more of a situational football player. I’m best on third-and-2’s, fourth-and-2’s and plays like that,” said Schantz, whose powerful legs — he squats 410 pounds — will be called on to do more work than ever before.
“I’m unbelievably excited to play my senior year. It just feels different having more responsibility.”
This includes possessing the ability to lead younger teammates who might be as uncertain about a certain call or situation as Schantz was prior to his first carry as a ninth-grader.
Schantz remembers senior back Jeff Wooten patiently working with him during the 2013 season.
In fact, the first 100-yard rushing performance and touchdown of Schantz’s varsity career came that season in a 28-7 victory against Greenwood.
Carpenter isn’t counted on to throw the football often in Whiteland’s deception-based Fly offense, but is proficient. He is a capable runner having toted the pigskin on 43 occasions for 135 yards and four scores as a junior.
Like Schantz, the more he played the better Carpenter became.
“It’s been kind of humbling, actually. I learned how good I had to be to face that kind of competition,” Carpenter said. “At first I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s been cool to see things come full-circle.
“Just the growing and maturity that I’ve gained.”
Carpenter in two seasons as the Warriors’ starting quarterback has completed 42 of 108 attempts for 777 yards and 11 TDs.
Whether throwing the football or placing it in the gut of Schantz and other Warriors’ backs such as senior Edwin Cisneros and 210-pound junior Ryan Hammond, he knows the Warriors offense is once again stocked with potential playmakers.
“I’ve known Anthony since elementary school. We’ve played football together since bantam league,” Carpenter said.
“He’s a tough, downhill runner and he’ll block the biggest, baddest guy on the other team. He’s kind of soft-spoken, but once he’s on the field he’s a tough kid.”
THE SCHANTZ FILE
Name: Anthony Schantz
Family: Parents, Tony and Jene’; brother, Kyle, 16
Favorite TV show: “Practical Jokers”
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans”
Favorite athlete: Andrew Luck
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts
THE CARPENTER FILE
Name: Jace Carpenter
Born: Columbus, Indiana
Family: Parents, Tom Carpenter and Julie Dyer; brother, Cole, 19; sisters, Adi, 14, and Khloe, 6
Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite movie: “The Sandlot”
Favorite athlete: DeShone Kizer
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts