No one can accuse Whiteland of softening up the nonconference portion of its football schedule.
At least not with a straight face.
Coach Darrin Fisher’s 12th Warriors squad opens the regular season Aug. 19 inside Lucas Oil Stadium opposite defending Class 5A runner-up New Palestine.
Whiteland then turns its attention to preparing for its home opener the following week against reigning Class 6A titlist Center Grove.
All these programs did last season was combine for 27 wins, 1,330 points and 13,011 yards of total offense.
It’s arguably the most-difficult Weeks 1 and 2 any of Indiana’s 327 teams will face this season.
Fisher knows neither his players nor his team benefits from lining up against equal or inferior competition every Friday night.
“The No. 1 goal is to always make sure we’re playing our best football in October,” Fisher said. “These two teams will show us what we need to get better at.
“The other thing is we want to win the Mid-State Conference, and these games help us get ready. That’s when high school football is really fun. When you’re playing for a championship.”
Since 2008, the Warriors have captured four league titles outright and shared another.
Fisher’s program prepared for each by emphasizing football fundamentals throughout June — “Our theme was, ‘Be Brilliant at the Basics,’” he said — and conditioning player’s bodies and minds in July.
Whiteland’s first official preseason practice is Aug. 1.
Eighteen days later the Warriors battle a program which over the past three seasons has won 41 of 43 games under Dragons coach Kyle Ralph.
“To me, that’s the best way we could open the season,” Fisher said. “Where the game is being played is not a critical element to our players. They’re excited about the challenge. This group of guys is very competitive.”
Aug. 19 – New Palestine*, 8:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 – Center Grove, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 – at Decatur Central, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 – Franklin, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 – Avon, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 – at Martinsville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 – Mooresville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 – at Plainfield, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 – Greenwood, 7 p.m.
*At Lucas Oil Stadium