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Warriors capitalize on mistakes

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A driving rainstorm drenched the artificial surface Friday at Plainfield High School, but visiting Whiteland showered the football field with swagger when it emerged from its locker room following a brief postgame meeting.

“October football!” Warriors coach Darrin Fisher and several players shouted as they exited. So far, so good in the month for Whiteland, which took advantage of four lost Plainfield fumbles and converted them into 19 points while cruising to a 39-14 Mid-State Conferecnce victory.

The win dropped the Quakers to 3-2 in conference play and 5-3 overall, while Whiteland improved to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in Mid-State play.

Whiteland’s win helped Greenwood clinch an outright conference championship, but the Warriors wasted little time talking about their impending matchup next Friday against the Woodmen, even though there won’t be a conference title on the line.

“Our neighborhood rivals are important games. I’m not going to lie,” Fisher said. “The records don’t matter. We want to be playing our best football in October, and I’m sure Greenwood does, too.”

Whiteland’s victory Friday at Plainfield didn’t have much drama, although it might have if the Quakers hadn’t lost four fumbles.

Plainfield’s best opportunity to make the game competitive came late in the first half when it marched to the Warriors’ 1-yard line with five minutes remaining in the first half. The Quakers had covered 80 yards in 13 plays and eaten almost seven minutes off clock, but quarterback Jacob Jay fumbled at the 1. Cody Starnes recovered, and the Warriors marched 99 yards in 14 plays and 4:48.

Aaron Harris’ 1-yard touchdown run, his third of the game, gave Whiteland a 27-7 lead with eight seconds remaining in the first half.

“We stress ball security over the summer so much,” Warriors quarterback Adam Gutermuth said of his team, which recovered its only fumble late in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. “We’re getting our season back on track, and this was definitely one of our biggest wins of the year.”

Gutermuth threw for 78 yards and a touchdown and ran for 45 yards and another score, but his teammates helped dominate the line of scrimmage. Harris finished with 193 yards on 35 carries, and Whiteland amassed 307 rushing yards to Plainfield’s 106.

The Warriors’ last two touchdown drives combined for 26 plays, 150 yards and ate up 15:34.

“Brandon Gill and Jeffrey Wooten opened up great holes for our runners, and this was Adam Guthermuth’s best football game,” Fisher said. “He made great decisions and great reads.”

Chad Middleton scored both of Plainfield’s touchdowns and caught four passes for 76 yards. Austin Blevins led the Quakers’ rushing attack with 69 yards.

“I don’t know if our fumbles were due to sloppy mechanics, or there was a perfectly placed hand on the ball, but when you lay the ball on the ground that many times, they’re not all freaks,” Plainfield coach Brian Woodard said. “We had chances to get back in the game, but that fumble on the 1-yard line was a killer, and we got beat up front. That’s pretty much the tale of the game.”

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