Same time next year?
|Mike Jorris threw for 246
yards in his first Stagg Bowl.
By Pat Coleman
We haven't seen the last of Mount Union or UW-Whitewater. Assuming the key components stay healthy and eligible, these teams should be preseason No. 1 and No. 2.
Of course, despite winning the WIAC with relative ease last year, there's no guarantee Whitewater will be able to do what it did this year -- run the table in the league, get a high seed, and parlay that into more playoff success. As the defending regional champ, the Warhawks would be in line for a No. 1 seed if they finish the regular season unbeaten.
Among the key contributors for UW-Whitewater, quarterback Justin Jacobs is a junior, running back Justin Beaver is a sophomore and fullback Travis Reuland is a junior, as is receiver Derek Stanley and tight end Pete Schmitt. Third and fourth receivers Lance Douglas and Neil Mrkvicka are a junior and sophomore. Across the front line, left tackle Max Sakellaris (junior), left guard Brady Ramseier and center Brent Allen (sophomores) return. On defense, linebacker Robb Widuch, and three-fourths of the secondary departs, but the entire front line are juniors or younger, as is linebacker A.J. Raebel and safety Andy Murray.
In Mount Union's case, quarterback Michael Jorris is a junior, running backs Nate Kmic and Aaron Robinson are a freshman and junior, respectively. Pierre Garcon is a sophomore and extra receivers Anthony Antonucci and Brandon Boehm are a junior and sophomore. Thomas Manning and Jeff Goodwill are seniors, as is tight end Scott Campbell, but the rest of the offensive line returns. Robert McDavid is a senior but the other safeties are sophomores, as is cornerback Cameron Rose. Linebacker Mike Gibbons, cornerback Ross Watson and defensive tackles Jesse Wells and Buddy Wolf are seniors, as are ends Greg Brauer and Justen Stickley, though Stickley has a redshirt year available to him and told D3football.com he has yet to decide whether to use it.
Warhawk coach Bob Berezowitz said after the game, "this is a very young football team. Whether or not it will happen again will be what they decide to do between now and next season and how other people progress and whether or not we're fortunate to (again) be in the position we were.
"There have been many years in our program where we've won championships and we've been to the playoffs and we've never been able to make that run."
That's the key, putting it all together. Mount Union has done it for years on end, and in 12 months we'll know whether Whitewater can do it for the second year in a row or fall prey to seemingly inevitable WIAC upsets.