WHITELAND — The New Palestine football program underwent a complete makeover since its sectional final loss to Pendleton Heights on Nov. 4 of last year.
15 seniors gone.
And much like last season’s opener against Whiteland, the Dragons were careless with the football Friday night against the Warriors. The 2011 team possessed the continuity and experience to slug its way to a 16-14 home triumph, overcoming four turnovers in the process.
But without that veteran moxie to save their skin, the current edition of the Dragons fell to the Warriors to open their 2012 campaign by the score of 26-20, largely due to five turnovers.
And yet, despite its shortcomings under the lights, NP had a chance to steal the game away late, but quarterback Blake Luker’s pass was picked off on the goal line by Whiteland’s Nick Woehler. The Warriors ran out the clock and handed the red-and-white its first regular season loss since Whiteland thumped visiting NP 23-0 to open the 2010 season.
“We made too many mistakes tonight. We turned it over too many times,” said first-year coach Charlie Hill. “Even with all the mistakes we had, we lose by six with the ball inside the 30 at the end of the game.
“So you take all that down and we survived through all those mistakes.”