/playoffs/2013/recharged-warhawks-ready-to-return

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. 

Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
Salve Regina 45, at Nichols 10
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Mount Ida 14, at Dean 7
Box Score
Final
at Thomas More 59, Waynesburg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Maine Maritime 34, Coast Guard 16
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Finlandia 27, Trinity Bible 21
Video Box Score
Final
Hamilton 28, at Bowdoin 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Olivet 47, Albion 26
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wesleyan 41, Bates 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Union 27, at Rochester 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Amherst 40, at Colby 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Western New England 41, Endicott 14
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Plymouth State 16, Framingham State 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at RPI 27, Ithaca 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Hobart 49, at Hartwick 27
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Ferrum 34, LaGrange 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Carnegie Mellon 42, Geneva 27
Video Box Score
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
DePauw 26, at Denison 17
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 42, Kalamazoo 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Washington and Lee 47, Guilford 26
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Husson 49, Castleton 0
Box Score Recap
Final
Gallaudet 35, at Alfred State 19
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
Video Box Score
Final
Brevard 41, at Methodist 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Lebanon Valley 31, Stevenson 24
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Buffalo State 24, at St. Lawrence 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Randolph-Macon 52, Emory and Henry 29
Video Box Score
Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 58, Apprentice 28
Video Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at N.C. Wesleyan 45, Greensboro 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Grove City 27
Video Box Score
Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 56, Crown 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 29, Iowa Wesleyan 7
Video
Final
at Knox 56, Grinnell 14
Video
Final
at Widener 31, Lycoming 17
Video Box Score
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 23, at Tufts 16
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 66, Earlham 7
Video Box Score
Final - 2OT
Ohio Northern 27, at John Carroll 20
Preview Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Baldwin Wallace 23, at Muskingum 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Rose-Hulman 44, at Manchester 13
Video Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Hanover 31, Bluffton 28
Video Video Box Score
Final
Defiance 45, at Anderson 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
Video Box Score
Final
Hiram 62, at Kenyon 56
Video Box Score
Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Williams 27, at Middlebury 26
Video Box Score
Final
at Westfield State 33, Fitchburg State 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Marietta 43, at Wilmington 33
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Curry 40, at Becker 0
Video Box Score
Final
TCNJ 20, at Rowan 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at SUNY-Maritime 51, Anna Maria 15
Video Box Score
Final
Salisbury 28, at Montclair State 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Huntingdon 28, Maryville (Tenn.) 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Austin 33, Millsaps 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington U. 55, Buena Vista 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Alma 27, at Aurora 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Rockford 29, Concordia-Chicago 14
Video Box Score
Final
Wisconsin Lutheran 22, at Concordia (Wis.) 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Lakeland 57, Benedictine 21
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 10, Chicago 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Olaf 22, at Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Bethel 24, at Gustavus Adolphus 3
Video Box Score
Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Eureka 30, Greenville 19
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Centre 27, at Trinity (Texas) 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Dubuque 42, at Nebraska Wesleyan 27
Video Box Score
Final
Central 30, at Coe 19
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Lake Forest 56, at Cornell 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Carthage 31, Elmhurst 8
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
Video Box Score
Final
Millikin 28, at Augustana 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Ripon 52, at Beloit 28
Video Box Score
Final
MacMurray 49, at Minnesota-Morris 13
Video
Final
Macalester 21, at Lawrence 18
Video Box Score
Final
at Monmouth 59, Illinois College 14
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 26, UW-Eau Claire 3
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wooster 38, Oberlin 28
Video Box Score
Final
Texas Lutheran 41, at East Texas Baptist 34
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Stout 21, UW-River Falls 16
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Sewanee 34, at Birmingham-Southern 13
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Hope 22, Adrian 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
Video Box Score
Cancelled
La Verne at Occidental
Video Live stats Audio
Final
Whitworth 17, at Pacific Lutheran 14
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at Cal Lutheran 42, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20
Video Box Score
Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Pacific 35, Puget Sound 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Pomona-Pitzer 45, at Whittier 23
Video Box Score
Final
at Western Connecticut 28, Massachusetts Maritime 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Scholastica 56, Martin Luther 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - 5OT
at St. John Fisher 39, Utica 36
Video Recap Live stats Audio
Final - OT
at Heidelberg 48, Otterbein 45
Video Preview Box Score Recap Audio Tickets
Final
at Shenandoah 38, Bridgewater 20
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Southwestern 60, at Belhaven 31
Video Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
Box Score
Final
at Louisiana College 52, McMurry 34
Box Score
Final
at Simpson 38, Luther 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Chapman 45, Redlands 26
Recap Box Score Video Video Photos Recap
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats
Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
Video Box Score
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
Video Box Score
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
Video Box Score
Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
Box Score
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats