Franklin to take on Warhawks

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When Franklin takes the field next fall, it will be without quarterback Kyle Ray, who was 40-for-72 passing in the teams' playoff meeting last November.
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Franklin has finalized its 2011 football schedule with one of the biggest NCAA Division III opponents it could have added.

The Griz will host defending national champion UW-Whitewater on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Stewart “Red” Faught Stadium with kickoff set for 1 p.m. The Warhawks lost an opponent off their 2011 schedule when Adrian broke its contract with UW-Whitewater for a game scheduled to be played at Adrian.

“Our whole program is very excited to be hosting the two-time defending national champions to Franklin College,” said Franklin head coach Mike Leonard. “I’ve developed a very respectful relationship with coach (Lance) Leipold, after having played them this past season in the playoffs.

“Our team knows that the Warhawks will again be a formidable opponent, but by hosting them here on our campus, we are excited about showing the Griz faithful what it will take to get to that level.”

UWW has advanced to the NCAA Division III national championship game for six consecutive years, winning the past two national titles and another in 2007. Whitewater (15-0) was ranked No. 1 in both national D-III polls the entire 2010 season and has rolled up a 30-game winning streak, including a first-round playoff victory over Franklin at home this past November.

The Grizzlies (8-0 HCAC, 9-2 overall) have captured Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference titles in three of the past four seasons and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs in each of those title seasons. FC was ranked 22nd in the final Top 25 poll for 2010 by

Franklin’s other non-conference opponent, Valparaiso, which is affiliated with the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, will host the Grizzlies’ season opening game on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. in a rematch. FC defeated Valparaiso 42-7 in Franklin in 2010 in the school’s first football meeting since 1989.

Franklin’s other home games will include HCAC opponents Defiance on Sept. 24, Mount St. Joseph on Oct. 1, Manchester on Oct. 15, and Anderson for Senior Day on Oct. 29.

The Grizzlies’ remaining road contests will be HCAC foes Bluffton in Bluffton, Ohio on Sept. 17, Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute, Ind. on Oct. 8, Earlham in Richmond, Ind. on Nov. 5 and the Victory Bell Classic at Hanover in Hanover, Ind. on Nov. 12. FC will have a bye on Oct. 22.

In 2012 and 2013, Franklin has a home-and-home slated with Mount Union, which has finished second in Division III football each of the past two years. The contract with UW-Whitewater is for 2011 only.