By Pat Coleman
|Matt Piloto got the call early on for Mount Union
in the semifinal win against Bethel and eventually got his feet
under him in the 34-14 win.
Photo by Dan Poel for d3photography.com
SALEM, Va. -- Two days out from the Stagg Bowl in 2009, there may have been doubt in fans' minds who would start at quarterback for Mount Union, but this year, the decision is even more up in the air. And it's up in the air for both teams heading into Saturday's Stagg Bowl XXXVIII.
Neal Seaman, the starter for the No. 2-ranked Purple Raiders
(14-0) all season, injured himself attempting to make a tackle on
an interception return early in last Saturday's semifinal win
against Bethel. He did not return. Matt Piloto took over at
quarterback, going 17-for-32 passing for 335 yards and four
touchdowns in a 34-14 win.
"Neal is trying to do what he can at practice, but he's limited, so if I had to guess right now, I think Matt Piloto will start the game," said Kehres. "But we still have two days to see how Neal responds and if I feel he can do the thing that he needs to do then he'll certainly start, because he's been our starter all year. But if not, we'll go with Matt Piloto."
The quarterback saga at No. 1 UW-Whitewater (14-0) has been going on a little longer, ever since before Lee Brekke took the field to open the playoffs against Franklin in the first round nearly four weeks ago. No. 1 quarterback Matt Blanchard has warmed up every week and has been described as being available, but has yet to take a snap in the postseason.
So when asked who would start on Saturday, coach Lance Leipold joked in response, "What did he (Kehres) say?"
"Right now we're going to look at today's practice," he continued. "Matt Blanchard has by far done the most that he has done in the four weeks. He's making all the throws and doing everything he has to. I know he's ready and wanting to get an opportunity. I feel very confident that he's going to see the field this week."
"Both of them are great players," said UW-Whitewater defensive lineman Wesley Hicks. "Both of them do their job. The second quarterback is just a little bigger, harder to take down. The first seven have to get on their horses and try to get him."
"Doesn't matter to me one bit," said Warhawks left guard Matt Weber. "It's not going to change one way how I block, not how hard I'm going to play the game, anything like that."