Whiteland Community High School senior quarterback Jace Carpenter figured luck finally smiled on his team.
“The football gods wanted us to win, because that was a crazy touchdown,” Carpenter said. “But we earned that.”
Edwin Cisneros scored on a 2-point conversion with 1.3 seconds left to lift host Whiteland to a 22-21 victory against Avon on Friday night. The Warriors improved to 2-3, while Avon fell to 2-3.
“There was no question we were going for two points,” Warriors coach Darrin Fisher said. “We had decided that with seven minutes to go.”
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The two-point conversion play was a sweep.
“We’re the fly offense; that’s our base football play,” Fisher said. “If we need three yards, that’s where we are going to go. I asked the players what they wanted to do, and they wanted to run sweep. Cisneros was able to stick in the end zone. He had great blocks on the edge.
“Bailey Watson had a great night at tight end. Didn’t catch a pass but had a great night against a really good football player.”
Carpenter hit wide receiver Joe Leistner on a 6-yard TD pass in the corner of the end zone just before time ran out.
“It was a great throw and great catch,” Fisher said.
A 19-yard screen pass to Ryan Hammond had put the ball on the 6. Hammond led the Warriors on the ground Friday with 112 yards on 19 carries.
Fisher said team kept fighting after getting down 21-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Cisneros scored on a 7-yard run with 7:10 left to narrow Avon’s lead to 21-14.
“We kept chipping away,” Fisher said. “We kind of hadn’t put that whole game together, and I think (Friday night) we did that. I thought our defense carried us in the first half.”
Avon led 14-0 at halftime, scoring twice in the final two minutes of the first half. Avon’s Bryant Fitzgerald scored a 5-yard touchdown run with 1:38 to go, and after forcing Whiteland to punt, Avon took over at the 30. On the next play, Cameron Misner connected with Corey DuPriest on a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Carpenter’s 1-yard QB sneak for a TD narrowed the deficit to 14-7 in the third quarter.
“The kids decided they were going to win the football game. That’s heart,” Fisher said. “It’s been difficult, being 1-3 with a group of guys that used to winning — even though, who the opponents were, it didn’t matter. It’s been a rough start.”
Yet Fisher said he was proud of the way his team didn’t get down and bounced back against Avon.
“We feel like we were disrespected, and we had something to prove,” Carpenter said.