East upset by Whiteland 26-20 in opener

Columbus East headed into the high school football season as the Class 5A defending champion, but the nostalgia from last season ended quickly when the Olympians hosted Whiteland on Friday night.

The top ranked Olympians had a slow start after a 30-minute lighting delay that resulted in a 26-20 loss to the Warriors.

Whiteland jumped out to a 14-0 lead after a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Iyan Pelfree in the first quarter and a 19-yard run by Jake Perry in the second.

Mark McDonald put East on the board with 5:27 left in the first half with a 9-yard run to cut the Whiteland lead to 14-7. Pelfree squeaked in another keeper right before halftime to put the Warriors up 20-7.

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Whiteland racked up 230 yards in the first half to the Olympians’ 132. Perry had 139 first-half yards.

“Whiteland flat outplayed us in the first half,” Gaddis said. “That’s one the coaching staff, that’s on the players, that’s on everybody. They came out and played a lot harder than we did early. We told them they would.”

Gaddis said he felt the Olympians held their own in the second half. East outscored Whiteland 13-6 in the final two quarters.

Pelfree got his third rushing touchdown of the game to put the Warriors up 26-14 before Lance Greiwe scored on a 19-yard run.

Jacob Crouse kept the game alive with 4:31 left to play when a high Whiteland snap landed in the end zone, and he fell on it for the score. East had a shot to get the ball back with 2:50 left to play, but Perry converted on a close fourth-and-2. Referees had to call for a measure, and the Warriors ran the clock out to close the game.

McDonald led East with 174 yards and a touchdown. Greiwe added 87 yards and a touchdown.