Concordia’s running game forces Warhawks to 0-2 season start


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Junior wide receiver Jarrod Ware led the Warhawks’ passing attack with nine receptions and 123 yards receiving. Ware caught his first touchdown of the year with a 26-yard grab in the third quarter.

Jack Miller, Assistant Sports Editor

The No. 15 UW-Whitewater football team is 0-2 to start the season for the first time since 1999, following the Warhawks’ 25-17 defeat against Concordia College on Sept. 9 in Moorhead-Minnesota.

UW-W outgained Concordia 363 to 336 in yards, but committed three turnovers and 11 penalties in the process.

“You can’t play a good team like Concordia-Moorhead and turn the ball over, miss tackles and not execute on defense, that’s the reality of it,” head coach Kevin Bullis said.

The Warhawks’ offense was led by junior quarterback Cole Wilber, who completed 21-of-36 passes for 241 yards, and tossed two touchdowns.

Wilber’s primary target for the day was junior wide receiver Jarrod Ware. Ware snagged nine receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown.

Junior linebacker Bryce Leszczynski spearheaded the Warhawk defense with 17 tackles and one pass deflection.

The Cobbers first possession of the game was a 15-play, 75-yard drive, that resulted in senior running back Jason Montonye rushing for a 4-yard touchdown.

After UW-W fumbled on their own 26-yard line on their opening possession, Concordia junior kicker Tony Kostelecky drilled a 25-yard field goal to put the Cobbers up 10-0.

The Warhawks settled for a 23-yard field goal from freshman kicker Wojciech Gasienica with 12:35 remaining in the second to cut the lead to 10-3.

Just over two minutes later, UW-W sophomore defensive linemen Jordan Brand recovered a Concordia fumble at Cobbers’ 26-yard line.

The following play, the Warhawks gave the ball right back.

Wilber’s pass attempt was intercepted by Concordia in the end zone and was returned for a touchback.

Out of halftime, UW-W was met with a third-and-long at the 50-yard line.

Wilber connected with Ware for a 24-yard gain and a fresh set of downs. The next snap, the two reunited for a 26-yard touchdown and knotted the game at 10-10.

It only took one play from scrimmage for the Cobbers to retake the lead.

Senior running back Chad Johnson busted a 71-yard touchdown run and the Cobbers were successful on their two-point conversion to go up 18-10 with 12:15 remaining in the third quarter.

Leszczynski said the Cobbers’ quick-hitting running attack, which totaled 240 yards on 46 attempts, were the culprit of UW-W’s defense difficulties.

“I thought we did a pretty good job overall,” Leszczynski said. “There were a couple times we got hit with stuff that we weren’t prepared for. They used that and kind of exploited us.”

Less than eight minutes later, UW-W made it a one-point game. Wilber found junior wide receiver Mitchell Dess for his second touchdown pass of the day. The Warhawks elected to kick the extra point.

After a UW-W fumble in Warhawk territory at 10:30 in the fourth quarter, the Cobbers capitalized with a 4-yard touchdown run to put Concordia ahead 25-17.

UW-W had an opportunity to potentially tie the game with 33 seconds left in the contest. With third-and-goal at the Cobber 1-yard line, the Warhawks were stalled on consecutive running plays and turned the ball over on downs.

For the offense to have success in future games, Bullis said the team can’t be their worst enemy.

“Today, we were able to do somethings, get Jarrod Ware the ball, which was good,” Bullis said. “I felt like we could run the ball on them, and we did, but then we’d get penalties.”

Junior running back Drew Patterson led UW-W with 69 yards rushing on 3.6 yards per carry, a far cry from his 5.4 last season.

The Warhawks will have a lengthy road trip to St. Louis, Missouri, where the team will look to get into the win column against Washington-St. Louis on Sept. 16.