Senior staff writer
Center Grove showed it could move through the danger zone Friday with a dominating non-conference triumph over Johnson County rival Whiteland.
The Trojans, ranked No. 3 in Class 6A, showed a well-balanced attack on both sides of the football to dismantle the visiting Class 5A No. 7 Warriors 37-0.
Center Grove would have nothing to do with a repeat of its shaky 14-13 triumph last year at Whiteland, which was squeezed between the Trojans’ opening conference matchups against the three top-ranked 6A teams in the state.
The same scenario unfolded this year as the Trojans opened with an impressive win against Warren Central while Whiteland dominated South Dearborn 66-0.
Center Grove (2-0) is considered a threat for the 6A state title, and Whiteland (1-1) is expected to chase the 5A championship.
“The way we opened the season last year helped us this year,” Center Grove coach Eric Moore said before the 2015 campaign began. “We knew what it would be like so we were prepared for it.”
Center Grove faces No. 2 Carmel in a televised game Friday and then Ben Davis Sept. 11.
Center Grove’s defense was superb, holding Whiteland to only 13 yards and one first down in the first half. The Warriors wound up with less than 140 yards of offense.
Meanwhile, Moore’s wing-T offense racked up five touchdowns, a near-record 53-yard field goal by Michael Morgan and more than 400 yards of offense.
Running back Titus McCoy opened the romp with a 13-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. He finished with 156 yards in 22 carries (7.1 yards per carry), and his 3-yard run upped the score to 13-0.
Center Grove’s defense made sure there would be no threat from the Warriors in the second half.
The Trojans’ offense put more points on the board with a 17-pass from Joey Siderewicz to Trevor Hohlt, a 55-yard run by Jackson Hohlt and an 8-yard run by Tyler Watson. Jackson Holt carried the ball eight times for 125 yards.