Warhawks Clinch 33rd WIAC Title with Win over Point
The UW-Whitewater football team clinched a share of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title with a 17-7 win over UW-Stevens Point Saturday afternoon in Stevens Point. This is UW-W's 33rd WIAC Championship in program history and the eighth in the last nine years.
Cole Klotz (Elm Grove /New Berlin Eisenhower) and Josh Williams (Milwaukee/Mukwonago) led the Warhawk defense as they held the Pointers to 14 rushing yards on 24 carries for an average 0.6 yards per rush Klotz led UW-W with 7.5 tackles, including one tackle for a loss, while Williams recorded six tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss.
In a first quarter dominated by defense with a combined total offense of 61 yards, Justin Howard (West Bend/Homestead) returned a punt 45 yards to the Pointer's four yard line to set-up a touchdown pass from Matt Behrendt (Westchester, IL/Nazareth Academy) to Jake Kumerow (Bartlett, IL/South Elgin) to put Whitewater on top, 7-0.
Point got on the board in the second quarter when quarterback Mitch Beau ran for 13 yards and the Pointers only TD. This was the longest drive by UW-SP, spanning 52 yards in five plays. On the ensuing kickoff, Howard had another big, game-changing return, taking the kickoff back 99 yards for a TD to give UW-W a 14-7 lead. This is the longest kickoff return in school history; the previous record was 97 yards by Greg Montgomery in 1973.
UW-W extended their lead to ten early in the fourth quarter when the offense drove 21 yards in seven plays, aided by 28 rushing yards from Ratliffe, and Eric Kindler (Germantown/Germantown) kicked his 13th field goal of the year to put Whitewater on top, 17-7.
The Warhawk defense took care of the rest, holding UW-SP to 38 yards of total offense in the second half. The offense held the ball for nearly 20 minutes in the second half, tiring out the Point defense and allowing Ratliffe to run the clock out to secure the victory.
Matt Behrendt (Westchester, IL/Nazareth Academy) was 16-23 for 86 yards, one touchdown and an important zero interceptions on the day. Ratliffe rushed the ball 24 times for 85 yards with a long of 15. Jake Kumerow (Bartlett, IL/South Elgin) was the leading receiver, with five receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Kindler played a key role in this defensive match-up. He punted the ball 11 times for 311 yards, downing the ball inside the 20 yard line four times and allowing only one return for nine yards. Kindler is now 13-16 on field goals on the season and 43-43 on points after touchdowns.
UW-Whitewater will return to Perkins Stadium to wrap-up the regular season when they host UW-River Falls on Saturday, November 16 at 1:00 pm. A win by the Warhawks would clinch an outright WIAC Championship and a berth into the NCAA Tournament.