/playoffs/2011/scaling-the-mount

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.

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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Final
at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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at Union 28, Hobart 23
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at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
at Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17
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at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Final
Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Albion 31, Alma 28
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at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Final
Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
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Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
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RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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at Curry 46, Nichols 16
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at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
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Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
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Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
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Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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at Trine 50, Hope 14
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Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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at Franklin and Marshall 56, Dickinson 0
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Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
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John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
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Final
Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
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UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
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Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
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at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
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at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
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Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
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Final
Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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Final
at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
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Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
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Final
Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
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Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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at Benedictine 43, Olivet 37
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Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
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Final
Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
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Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
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at Aurora 28, Rockford 21
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at Concordia-Chicago 37, Concordia (Wis.) 17
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Final
at St. Olaf 29, Carleton 26
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at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Final
Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
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at Loras 44, Coe 38
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Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
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Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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Final
at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
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at Millikin 56, Carroll 35
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Final
at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
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at St. Norbert 38, Lawrence 6
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St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
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at Iowa Wesleyan 24, Minnesota-Morris 17
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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at WPI 41, Merchant Marine 7
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Final
at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
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Final
Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
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Final
at Chicago 55, Beloit 12
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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Final - OT
at Dubuque 28, Simpson 27
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at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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at East Texas Baptist 68, Louisiana College 35
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at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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Western Connecticut 27, at Bridgewater State 20
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Chapman 38, at La Verne 21
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Pacific 17, at Lewis and Clark 7
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Pacific Lutheran 27, at Willamette 14
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at Whitworth 38, Puget Sound 23
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Redlands 42, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25
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at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Sul Ross State 52, at Howard Payne 15
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at Castleton 17, Dean 14
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N.C. Wesleyan 21, at Averett 15
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at Otterbein 37, Baldwin Wallace 29
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Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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Carnegie Mellon 42, at Thiel 10
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at Illinois College 23, Knox 13
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at Cal Lutheran 60, Whittier 34
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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