Scouting the Class 5A football state championship

Class 5A state championship // Valparaiso (10-3) vs. Whiteland (12-1)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis

Admission: $15 (children 5 and under free). All ticket sales will be digital only.

Gates open: 10 a.m. (one hour prior to Class A championship game)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana

Webstream: ($15 for one game; $20 for all six championship games)

Radio: Whiteland Beat Sports Network

Recent history: This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Common opponents: None

Sagarin ratings: Valparaiso 81.71 (third in Class 5A, 29th in Indiana), Whiteland 91.58 (eighth/first)

Players to watch: Valparaiso — QB Justin Clark, RB Travis Davis, RB Thomas Burda, LB Alex Rodriguez, LB Ty Veen, DB Tyler VerSchure; Whiteland — QB Kevin Denham, RB Peyton Emberton, Swp/DB Nyrius Moore-Smith, Swp/DB Maalik Perkins, WR/LB Brady Stanifer, TE Cameron Cooper, DL Mason Darlington, LB/P Dalton Hughes

What to look for: A historic night for Whiteland football, which is making its first state title game appearance. The Warriors come in looking like the favorite on paper, but the Vikings took two of their three losses when they were without the services of Davis, who missed the last four weeks of the regular season with an injury but has returned with force, carrying the ball 43 times for 277 yards in last week’s 22-21 upset of No. 1 Fort Wayne Snider. Clark is also a run threat, having gained a team-high 950 yards on the ground. The Warriors will look to contain Davis, who coach Darrin Fisher likens to Franklin senior John Shepard, while also getting their own potent rushing attack going. Emberton figures to get a heavy dose of carries up the middle, while Moore-Smith, Perkins and senior Jonathan Crowley offer big-play potential on sweeps. Neither team throws the ball a ton, but both teams have done just enough through the air to keep defenses honest. Don’t be surprised if a big passing play or two end up making a difference in this one; Denham has two serious home-run threats to work with in Cooper and senior wideout Gunnar Hicks. Fisher likes to say that only Whiteland can beat Whiteland — if the Warriors can stay out of their own way and not make crippling mistakes, Saturday night could be their night.