December 18, 2013

Recharged Warhawks ready to return

More news about: UW-Whitewater

Cole Klotz is the leader in the middle of the UWW defense.
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com 

By Joe Sager
for D3sports.com

Refocused, recharged and ready.

That sums up the UW-Whitewater football team this season.

One year removed from a 2012 campaign that saw the Warhawks’ 46-game winning streak snapped and the team out of the postseason with a 7-3 record, Whitewater is back in a familiar place – the Stagg Bowl. The Warhawks (14-0) meet Mount Union (14-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. in Salem, Va., for the NCAA Division III national championship.

“After a disappointing season last year, it’s good to be back,” Warhawks senior linebacker Cole Klotz said. “There’s a lot going on and it feels great. It’s been a blur. I don’t think it’s set in yet. Once we get down there, it’ll all settle in. The goal of every D-III program is to play this close to Christmas. So, we’re excited.”

It marks the eighth time in nine years the two programs battle for the national championship. Whitewater claimed four of the past seven, including titles in 2007, ’09, ’10 and ’11.

“Mount Union has been there as long as I can remember. We have been there, too, over the years,” Klotz said. “It really feels good to play them again.”

Overall, the Raiders are in the Stagg Bowl for the ninth straight season and 17th time in the last 20 years. They have won a record 11 national championships.

“That really is awesome. You have to give credit to Mount Union. They’ve been there so many years. They always give us a great matchup,” Whitewater junior quarterback Matt Behrendt said. “We love playing them in the championship. Both teams earned it, so it’s awesome we keep coming back together.

“It’s so exciting. We’ve worked so hard in the offseason and during the season. To finally get back is the main goal. We’re excited to play this Friday.”

The Warhawks are eager to make up for an uncharacteristic 2012 season. Injuries, a lack of focus and a grueling schedule spelled disaster for Whitewater last year after an unbeaten run from 2009-11.

“What we found out is that streaks can end if you don’t take care of business,” Whitewater coach Lance Leipold said. “Last year, we showed we didn’t earn our way. This year, we played some more good football programs that gave us everything we could handle.

“I don’t want to say there is just one thing that happened (last year),” he continued. “Teams are going to give you their best shot and you have to match that intensity and desire, whether in the weight room or on the field. I don’t like the word ‘complacency.’ We maybe lost our edge? Maybe, like they say, it’s tougher to stay on top than to get there.”

The Warhawks brought in some new assistant coaches and changed the duties of some others to help reignite a spark.

“It helped us, especially on offense. We have a bunch of new assistant coaches and a new offensive coordinator. They’ve come in and done an amazing job,” Behrendt said. “We still have pretty much the same offense; we just do a couple things differently. Really, we’ve blossomed as a team. I give the coaches the credit for that.”

Whitewater’s players helped make the turnaround possible, too. They used last season as a wakeup call.

“It really was a down year. That’s not how Warhawk football is. We knew we had to come in this offseason with a different attitude. We came in with more energy and excitement and a better attitude. That’s what got us to this point,” Behrendt said. “It doesn’t get handed to you. We didn’t come out last year and play like we needed to. We know that, coming into every year, everyone circles us on their calendar, especially teams in our conference. With the great conference we have, we have to earn the wins and play our best football to come out on top.”

Once again, the Warhawks’ foundation is defense. Whitewater ranks first among D-III teams in scoring defense (8.7 points allowed per game) and third in total defense (237.5 yards allowed per game).

“The defense has been outstanding the entire year. It really is awesome knowing that, when they are out there, we will get great field position,” Behrendt said. “On offense, we know we have to do our job and score points. It’s awesome watching the defense and knowing they will get the job done and we’ll get the job done for them also.”

Klotz knows it works both ways. He’s happy to see the Warhawks’ young offense improve.

“Both offensively and defensively, we do rely on each other. It’s great being able to trust our offense to put us in a position to play our best and we can put them in position to do their best. We’ve been doing a good job all year on both sides of the ball. It’s been great.”

Whitewater’s defense faces another formidable test this week. Mount Union owns D-III’s top scoring offense (49.0 points per game).

“For the past two weeks, we’ve played two of the highest-scoring offenses in the nation (Linfield and Mary Hardin-Baylor),” Klotz said. “They all run similar zone read-type schemes. We just have to focus on doing our jobs. Hopefully, we will be able to pull it off again.”

The Warhawks hope to get off to a better start this week. They trailed at halftime in their last two battles and rallied for victory.

“It’s a spot we don’t like to be in. We know we have to do a lot better job this week,” Behrendt said. “We know what Mount can do on offense. We’ll have to pick it up a notch in the first half and really come out fast and try to put up as many points as we can.”

After sitting out last year’s playoffs, Whitewater is raring to go. 

Sep. 30: All times Eastern
Final
Randolph-Macon 24, at Shenandoah 19
Box Score Photos
Final
at Washington and Lee 49, Emory and Henry 23
Box Score
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
Final
Massachusetts Maritime 30, at Fitchburg State 0
Box Score
Final
Becker 42, at Gallaudet 18
Box Score
Final
at Hobart 38, Merchant Marine 35
Box Score
Final
RPI 51, at Rochester 13
Box Score
Final
Endicott 21, at MIT 9
Box Score
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Juniata 17
Box Score
1:00 PM
Montclair State at William Paterson
Live Stats Audio
Final
at Wesleyan 34, Hamilton 6
Box Score
Final
at Tufts 12, Bates 7
Box Score
Halftime
31 Wabash
14 Hiram
Video Live Stats
Final
Middlebury 35, at Colby 14
Box Score
Final
Amherst 31, at Bowdoin 10
Box Score
4th - 15:00
17 Frostburg State
18 Kean
Video Live Stats
4th - 05:06
28 Kenyon
48 DePauw
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
Final
Ferrum 30, at Greensboro 0
Box Score
1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Methodist
Video Live Stats
4th - 15:00
26 FDU-Florham
28 Wilkes
Video Live Stats
4th - 03:38
7 Anna Maria
23 Castleton
Video Preview Live Stats Tickets
4th - 06:51
30 Moravian
32 Ursinus
Video Preview Live Stats
Final
Stevenson 48, at Misericordia 0
Final
at St. Lawrence 42, Springfield 14
4th - 15:00
31 Thomas More
25 Westminster (Pa.)
Video Live Stats Audio
4th - 06:45
49 Alma
26 Kalamazoo
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
Final
Franklin and Marshall 20, at Dickinson 10
4th - 08:18
63 Wesley
9 Southern Virginia
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio
4th - 05:31
21 Adrian
21 Albion
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
4th - 02:00
33 Husson
5 SUNY-Maritime
Video Live Stats
Final
Apprentice 24, at Alfred State 8
Box Score
Final
at Salisbury 41, TCNJ 6
Box Score
HALF
17 Buffalo State
14 St. John Fisher
Video Live Stats Audio
Final
Salve Regina 47, at Curry 14
Box Score
4:29 4th
23 McDaniel
31 Gettysburg
Video Preview Preview Live Stats
HALF
21 Delaware Valley
0 Lebanon Valley
Video Live Stats
2:14 4th
14 Ohio Wesleyan
21 Denison
Video Preview Live Stats
Final
at Ithaca 23, Utica 14
Box Score
Final
Alfred 49, at Morrisville State 24
Box Score
10:01 3rd
29 Western New England
14 Nichols
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
King's at Albright
Video Live Stats
Final
at Guilford 59, Catholic 0
Box Score
4th - 03:26
33 Muhlenberg
30 Susquehanna
Video Live Stats Audio
4th - 06:33
31 Huntingdon
38 N.C. Wesleyan
Video Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at MacMurray
4th - 03:24
34 Birmingham-Southern
31 Chicago
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Crown
Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Oberlin at Allegheny
Video Live Stats Audio
4th - 08:11
7 Mount Ida
14 Norwich
Video Live Stats
4th - 10:26
38 Trinity (Conn.)
6 Williams
Video Preview Live Stats
3rd - 7:54
42 Baldwin Wallace
42 Marietta
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
4th - 07:58
17 Muskingum
20 Heidelberg
Video Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
4th - 06:16
14 Union
21 WPI
Video Live Stats
3rd - 04:32
24 Maine Maritime
36 Coast Guard
Video Preview Live Stats
4th - 12:26
46 John Carroll
0 Wilmington
Video Live Stats Audio
3rd Quarter - 1:55
35 Mount Union
14 Ohio Northern
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
3rd - 04:30
41 Franklin
13 Manchester
Preview Live Stats
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Hanover
Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Widener at Lycoming
Video Live Stats Audio
3rd - 05:44
46 Defiance
14 Earlham
Video Preview Live Stats
Start of 3rd
7 Concordia-Chicago
12 Trine
Video Live Stats Audio
3rd (14:00)
20 Capital
21 Otterbein
Video Live Stats Audio
Half
7 Plymouth State
0 Westfield State
Video Live Stats
3rd - 14:48
31 Wittenberg
0 Wooster
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
3rd - 13:39
7 Anderson
27 Rose-Hulman
Video Video Preview Preview Live Stats
3rd - 12:49
13 Hampden-Sydney
31 Bridgewater
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Waynesburg at Grove City
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Cortland at Hartwick
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Centre at Hendrix
Video Preview Live Stats
3rd - 07:47
20 Eureka
6 Greenville
Video Live Stats
Halftime
7 Northwestern (Minn.)
5 Iowa Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
Halftime
7 Concordia (Wis.)
8 Lakeland
Video Live Stats
2nd - 00:15
15 Rockford
30 Benedictine
Video Live Stats
3rd - 14:45
21 Aurora
7 Wisconsin Lutheran
Video Preview Live Stats
2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Luther
Video Live Stats
3rd - 14:41
30 Rhodes
7 Sewanee
Video Preview Live Stats
HALF
7 Lake Forest
28 St. Norbert
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Gustavus Adolphus
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
3rd - 11:17
21 Hamline
16 Carleton
Video Live Stats Audio
7:22 - 3rd Qtr.
35 St. John's
7 Bethel
Video Live Stats Audio
2nd - 13:06
10 UW-Whitewater
7 UW-Platteville
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
3rd - 06:22
13 Buena Vista
17 Loras
Video Live Stats
3rd - 14:40
21 Sul Ross State
26 Hardin-Simmons
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at UW-Eau Claire
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lawrence
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Cornell at Monmouth
Video Live Stats Audio
HALF
10 Wartburg
17 Coe
Video Live Stats
half
28 Dubuque
17 Central
Video Live Stats Audio
HALF
17 Wheaton (Ill.)
24 Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
HALF
3 McMurry
24 Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Augustana
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Macalester at Ripon
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Grinnell at Illinois College
Video Live Stats
HALF
7 Howard Payne
14 Louisiana College
Audio
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at UW-La Crosse
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Belhaven
Video Live Stats
End of 2nd
7 Augsburg
27 St. Thomas
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Thiel
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Morthland
Video
3:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Martin Luther
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
Carthage at Carroll
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
Video Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
4:00 PM
Willamette at Puget Sound
Video Video Preview Live Stats Audio
4:00 PM
Whittier at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Pacific at Pacific Lutheran
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Live Stats
4:30 PM
Lewis and Clark at Linfield
Video Live Stats Audio
5:00 PM
Framingham State at Mass-Dartmouth
Video Live Stats
5:00 PM
Averett at LaGrange
Live Stats Audio
5:00 PM
Whitworth at George Fox
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Olivet at Hope
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
6:00 PM
Bethany at Carnegie Mellon
Video Preview Preview Preview Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
St. Vincent at Case Western Reserve
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
6:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Western Connecticut
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Berry at Washington U.
Video Video Preview Preview Live Stats Live Stats Audio Audio
7:00 PM
North Park at Millikin
Video Live Stats
10:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Chapman
Video Preview Live Stats Live Stats Tickets
10:00 PM
La Verne at Cal Lutheran
Video Preview Live Stats
10:00 PM
Occidental at Redlands
Video Live Stats Audio
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
Final
at Hobart 38, Merchant Marine 35
Box Score
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Juniata 17
Box Score
Final
at Salisbury 41, TCNJ 6
Box Score
4th - 15:00
31 Thomas More
25 Westminster (Pa.)
Video Live Stats Audio
Halftime
31 Wabash
14 Hiram
Video Live Stats
HALF
17 Buffalo State
14 St. John Fisher
Video Live Stats Audio
Final
Stevenson 48, at Misericordia 0
Final
at St. Lawrence 42, Springfield 14
4th - 06:33
31 Huntingdon
38 N.C. Wesleyan
Video Video Live Stats
4th Quarter - 15:00
35 Mount Union
14 Ohio Northern
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
3rd - 04:30
41 Franklin
13 Manchester
Preview Live Stats
3rd - 14:48
31 Wittenberg
0 Wooster
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
HALF
17 Wheaton (Ill.)
24 Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
2nd - 13:06
10 UW-Whitewater
7 UW-Platteville
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
7:22 - 3rd Qtr.
35 St. John's
7 Bethel
Video Live Stats Audio
HALF
3 McMurry
24 Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live Stats Audio
3rd - 14:40
21 Sul Ross State
26 Hardin-Simmons
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Belhaven
Video Live Stats
half
28 Dubuque
17 Central
Video Live Stats Audio
End of 2nd
7 Augsburg
27 St. Thomas
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
Video Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
4:30 PM
Lewis and Clark at Linfield
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
Video Live Stats Audio Audio