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Whiteland football team playing for its town this season

Whiteland football playing for community this fall

WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — The Whiteland Warriors have set the bar high for the upcoming high school football season after finding unprecedented success.

The Warriors played in the program’s first-ever state championship game last year.

They ultimately lost to Valparaiso 35-31 in the IHSAA 5A State Championship Game last November. The players say that loss is motivating them heading into this year.

“Everybody just gets behind one another and then everybody plays for one another,” Whiteland offensive tackle Jaxon Fleming said. “It’s not a selfish team. You can’t be selfish with Whiteland.”

The Warriors though do not only have a championship on their minds when they hit the field this fall. They will also be thinking about their town when they put on the pads.

Since that championship game inside Lucas Oil Stadium, the town has experienced events no town hopes to go through.

For instance, tornadoes have hit the area this year, impacting many families.

“When that all happened, almost the entire football team was there to help the communities around us, and help them clean up their houses and whatever was destroyed,” Whiteland defensive lineman Scott Harden said.

That is just a small example of how the community came together during that difficult time.

“The thing that’s most impressive to me is the way we rally,” Whiteland football head coach Darrin Fisher said. “The way this whole town rallies when help is needed, when it’s necessary, everybody in this town rallies. And I’m so proud to live here and work here.”

The tornadoes though were not the only major event that impacted the town of Whiteland.

When Indiana State Trooper Aaron Smith was killed in June, it had a major impact on Whiteland as well, since Smith was a graduate of Whiteland High School and a former football player at the school.

“You want all the young men that graduate from your program to be those kind of people,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a lot, a lot of guys that have gone on from here and done wonderful things. Great family men, great employees, great bosses, great service to their country and their community.”

Smith made an impact on so many people during his life. And that’s a message Fisher hopes gets through to his current players: Make an impact.

“We always say, ‘Play for your town, play for your school, play for your teammates,’” Fisher said. “That’s always been important in the 19 years I’ve been here. And obviously, it’s really important right now.”

The Warriors begin the regular season on Friday night at Jeffersonville.