December 17, 2011

Scaling the Mount

More news about: Mount Union | St. Thomas | UW-Whitewater | Wesley

By Keith McMillan
D3sports.com

SALEM, Va. -- It once seemed unthinkable that a program would knock the Purple Raiders off the mount.

Now that it’s happened, with UW-Whitewater winning Stagg Bowl XXXIX for its third straight championship, it’s also the flashpoint for every other Division III program on its way up. If Mount Union can be overcome, certainly some day so can the Warhawks.

Though the Warhawks’ bus hadn’t even pulled out of Salem Stadium by the time we started wondering who’d be in Salem next year, let’s be honest. UW-Whitewater gets to enjoy being champion. All the rest of us are envisioning the day we knock them off.

So coaches are making the high school rounds in recruiting. Players whose seasons have been over are running and hitting the weight room with designs on getting here. And though the goal isn’t realistic for everybody, it’s getting more and more believable that the purple powers’ streak can’t continue.

UW-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold and Mount Union’s Larry Kehres spent the week acknowledging the contributions of this year’s teams, and reminding the rest of us that there are fresh faces on each team who appreciate the chance to go to Salem for the first time. Players on both sides were hungry to take home the Walnut and Bronze, even though it was the seventh consecutive meeting for the Warhawks and Purple Raiders.

Few people on either side had been involved in all seven games. The feeling was new for some players, some fans and some of those who tuned in on TV for the first time.

Eventually, those experiencing their first taste of the Stagg Bowl will be wearing different jerseys.

That day is near. Though UW-Whitewater just played two close games in a 15-0 season, the 13-10 final against Mount Union, coupled with the Purple Raiders’ 28-21 win at home against Wesley the week before and the Wolverines’ 27-24 win at Mary Hardin-Baylor the week before that, remind us that the gap between the have-it-alls and the have-a-chances isn’t that great.

It’s a long road to Salem, and it’s not a mountain every D-III team can climb. But more than two can climb it.

We will see some fresh faces. But not seeing them isn’t nearly as boring as it’s made out to be.

Six of the seven Purple Raiders/Warhawks games were one-score games in the fourth quarter. Stagg Bowl 39 wasn’t filled with big plays or highlights, but there was a big-game buzz and prime-time, firework-filled atmosphere. Mount Union had the ball with a chance to drive for the tying field goal, and came up a few yards short on fourth down.

That gave the Warhawks the edge in the seven-game series, 4-3, and made it four out of five for UW-W. But none of Whitewater’s wins have been blowouts. Mount Union might well be kicking itself because it knows it’s capable of dethroning the champion.

The matchup hasn’t gotten boring for those who care enough to tune in. Some might claim disinterest as soon as the purple powers earn their Stagg Bowl spots, but Salem enjoys them, ESPN embraces them and they deliver exciting results each time.

Boring really doesn’t fit. It lacks variety, sure, but watching St. Thomas’s Glenn Caruso take in the atmosphere in Salem, seeing Franklin’s Mike Leonard in the stands, and hearing how Mike Drass is back on the recruiting trail for Wesley reminds me that as hard as Mount Union and UW-Whitewater work to get here, other D-III teams and coaches are working just as hard. Sometime soon they’re going reach that apex, the same way UW-Whitewater matched – and perhaps surpassed – the unparalled success Mount Union was having.

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 11: All times Eastern
Final
at SUNY-Maritime 31, Massachusetts Maritime 30
Box Score Recap Recap
Sep. 12: All times Eastern
Final
Worcester State 30, at WPI 17
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Fitchburg State 21, Curry 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Springfield 41, at Mass-Dartmouth 20
Box Score
Final
TCNJ 17, at FDU-Florham 13
Sep. 13: All times Eastern
Final
Hobart 28, at Endicott 18
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Buffalo State 60, at Manchester 32
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Montclair State 7, at Salve Regina 6
Box Score Photos
Final
at Western Connecticut 58, Nichols 0
Box Score
Final
Alfred 34, at RPI 31
Box Score Recap
Final
Brockport State 17, at Cortland State 14
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Plymouth State 30, Mount Ida 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Bridgewater State 29, at William Paterson 20
Box Score
Final
Rowan 31, at Framingham State 21
Box Score
Final
at MIT 38, Becker 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Western New England 17, Westfield State 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Stevenson 7, at King's 0
Final
Lycoming 26, at Albright 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at Muhlenberg 42, Franklin and Marshall 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Moravian 28, McDaniel 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Norwich 10, at St. Lawrence 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Elmhurst 33, at Olivet 27
Box Score
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 35, at Albion 28
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 35, Christopher Newport 30
Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 26, at Kalamazoo 12
Box Score Recap
Final
Widener 45, at Lebanon Valley 3
Final
at Adrian 40, Carthage 14
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Juniata 38, Dickinson 35
Box Score
Final
at Randolph-Macon 48, Averett 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 28, Millikin 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wilkes 41, Misericordia 7
Final
at Ursinus 31, Gettysburg 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Utica 23, at Union 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Concordia (Mich.) 23, Anderson 18
Box Score
Final
Morrisville State 43, at Hartwick 40
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
N.C. Wesleyan 27, at Lincoln (Pa.) 0
Box Score
Final
Greenville 44, at Minnesota-Morris 9
Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 27, at Susquehanna 20
Box Score
Final
Capital 54, at Earlham 20
Box Score
Final
Emory and Henry 14, at Maryville (Tenn.) 13
Box Score
Final
UW-Whitewater 42, at Franklin 13
Box Score
Final
Centre 34, at Defiance 7
Box Score Photos
Final
Thomas More 45, at Hanover 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hope 37, Augustana 27
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Waynesburg 35, St. Vincent 24
Final
Millsaps 30, at Mount St. Joseph 22
Box Score
Final
Oberlin 47, at Kenyon 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at Baldwin Wallace 32, Bluffton 20
Box Score
Final
at Simpson 22, UW-River Falls 6
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
St. Scholastica 41, at Iowa Wesleyan 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Platteville 26, Dubuque 21
Box Score Photos
Final
at Trinity International 49, Wisconsin Lutheran 22
Box Score
Final
Augsburg 55, at Concordia (Wis.) 45
Box Score Photos
Final
at Sewanee 21, Washington and Lee 19
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wartburg 31, Bethel 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Carleton 40, Knox 14
Box Score
Final
Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Lake Forest 9
Box Score Recap
Final
Luther 20, at St. Olaf 3
Box Score Photos
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 30, Buena Vista 9
Box Score Photos Photos
Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at St. Norbert 17
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Texas Lutheran 37, at Hardin-Simmons 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Ripon 24, Rockford 14
Box Score
Final
at Beloit 27, Grinnell 23
Box Score
Final
at Carroll 34, Benedictine 6
Box Score
Final
at Southwestern 27, Sul Ross State 20
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at MacMurray 42, Martin Luther 36
Box Score Recap
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 34, at Crown 13
Box Score
Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 48, at Eureka 16
Box Score Recap
Final
Marian (Ind.) 24, at UW-Oshkosh 20
Box Score
Final
at Occidental 34, Puget Sound 32
Box Score Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 46, UW-La Crosse 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Coast Guard 42, Merchant Marine 31
Box Score Recap
Final
Maine Maritime 42, at Anna Maria 12
Box Score Recap
Final
Howard Payne 27, at Wayland Baptist 21
Final
at UW-Stout 21, Loras 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Alcorn St. 52, Louisiana College 10
Final
Rochester 35, at Alfred State 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Pacific Lutheran 35, Cal Lutheran 28
Box Score
Final
Whitworth 30, at Whittier 17
Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
at Willamette 34, Trinity (Texas) 10
Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
at LaGrange 28, Berry 27
Box Score Recap
Final
Wesley 43, at Salisbury 5
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Geneva 42, Grove City 0
Box Score
Final
Washington and Jefferson 56, at Westminster (Pa.) 21
Box Score
Final
at Alma 31, North Park 7
Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 20, at Shenandoah 10
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Bridgewater (Va.) 43, Greensboro 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Guilford 52, Methodist 20
Box Score
Final - 3OT
at Rose-Hulman 74, Illinois College 68
Box Score Recap Recap Photos Photos
Final
Bethany 45, at Thiel 24
Final
at Hiram 37, Denison 26
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John's 31, at UW-Eau Claire 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Huntingdon 29, Birmingham-Southern 12
Box Score
Final
at Rhodes 46, Washington U. 22
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chicago 38, Concordia-Chicago 0
Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 36, Redlands 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Monmouth 28, at Central 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hendrix 24, Bacone 14
Box Score
Final
at East Texas Baptist 43, Austin 27
Box Score
Final
at Hamline 23, Macalester 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Coe 50, at Cornell 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Lawrence 59, Maranatha Baptist 0
Final
La Verne 47, at George Fox 33
Box Score
Final
at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 36, Lewis and Clark 14
Box Score
Final
Linfield 21, at Chapman 14
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Sep. 13: All times Eastern
Final
Wesley 43, at Salisbury 5
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 36, Redlands 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Linfield 21, at Chapman 14
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
Thomas More 45, at Hanover 16
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Whitewater 42, at Franklin 13
Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 27, at Susquehanna 20
Box Score
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 35, Christopher Newport 30
Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 26, at Kalamazoo 12
Box Score Recap
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 35, at Albion 28
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Lycoming 26, at Albright 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Thomas 46, UW-La Crosse 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Hobart 28, at Endicott 18
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Wartburg 31, Bethel 14
Box Score Photos
Final
Marian (Ind.) 24, at UW-Oshkosh 20
Box Score
Final
at UW-Platteville 26, Dubuque 21
Box Score Photos
Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at St. Norbert 17
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Pacific Lutheran 35, Cal Lutheran 28
Box Score

What We're Reading