The closest competition of the game was between Dempsey and Whitten regarding who would have the most yards. Whitten finished with 219 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, and Dempsey racked up 151 and one score on 21 carries.

“We’ve always competed for yards,” Whitten said. “In eighth grade, we would do hitting drills, and we would always go against each other to see who could hit harder.

“It’s just been like that since we were little, seeing who’s better than who. I don’t want to say that I was better today, but it kind of showed,” Whitten added with a laugh.

The game was scoreless after one quarter. The Warriors nearly scored on their second possession; they drove to the Trojans’ 8-yard line, but quarterback Owen Barry threw an interception to MDI’s James Carroll. That was the first and last pass Wells attempted in the game. From there until the final siren, it was run and only run for the Warriors.

Whitten broke the scoreless tie with a 10-yard run a minute into the second quarter. Fullback Nolan Potter scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to make it 14-0 for the Class A South champions.

That deficit forced the run-oriented Trojans to throw the ball. On a flea flicker, receiver Drew Rich tried to throw to quarterback Andrew Phelps, but Wells’ Michael Wrigley stepped in front of the pass and returned the interception 39 yards for a score with 20 seconds remaining in the second half.


“We were told not to take it for granted, but all of us, we knew we were going to come out and dominate these guys,” Whitten said. “We said all week, (Class A) North is nothing like the South, and obviously it showed, 44-0.

“Wells, we got everything.”

The Warriors kept rolling after the break. On the third play of their first drive of the second half, Whitten ran 40 yards for a score that put the lead at 28-0.

MDI managed only 57 yards total offense and picked up only three first downs in the game. After forcing a turnover on downs at their own 7-yard line, the Trojans went three-and-out and had to punt. The snap went over punter Colby Lee’s head and out of the end zone for a safety, and their deficit was 30-0.

Six plays later, Dempsey scored his touchdown on a 32-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Wells’ lead was 37-0, and mercy appeared in the form of a running clock for the remaining 9:41 of the game.

Whitten added his final touchdown, and the final score, a 45-yard scamper that grew the advantage to 44-0.


“It was their season, no doubt about it,” MDI coach Mark Shields said. “Truth of the matter is sometimes it’s a simple game, and they were just stronger than us up front and they pushed us around, and we just had a hard time stopping them.”

The Warriors finished with 377 yards of offense, all of those coming on the ground. Whitten made a point to give credit Wells’ offensive line.

“I’ve got to thank those guys so much,” Whitten said. “They were the best guys I could ask for to block for me. They created the holes, and whenever I needed to cut back the other way, they created holes again. Couldn’t ask for a better group of guys.”

Whitten and Dempsey are part of a successful class of seniors that is going out on top.

“They’re so much fun to be around,” Wells coach Tim Roche said. “I’m going to miss them. That’s the only part that stinks about winning the state championship is you don’t get to do it again. I don’t get to go out on the field Monday and practice with them again.

“I’ll take it, though.”

Shields said the Trojans recognize their accomplishments. They were making the school’s first appearance in a state title game.

“Our goal was to win a regional championship this year. First time in school history, and we’re extremely proud of that,” Shields said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.