UW-W football releases 2018 schedule

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Kolton Hegstrom, Sports Editor

After starting off the 2017 season with three straight road games the 2018 UW-W football schedule features a more balanced set of five home games and five road games, including two home games versus teams that defeated the Warhawks in the 2017 season.

“We’re excited, obviously we love playing at [Perkin’s Stadium],” Warhawks head coach Kevin Bullis said. “There’s truly no place more special than the Perk.”

The Warhawks kick off the 2018 season by traveling to the University of Dubuque (Iowa) to take on the Spartans who finished last season with a 6-4 overall record. Dubuque is coached by former Warhawks’ assistant coach Stan Zwiefel.

After opening the season on the road the Warhawks will return to Perkins Stadium on Sept. 8 for a revenge match against Concordia Moorhead (Minn.). The Cobbers were one of three teams that defeated the Warhawks last season when they topped the Warhawks 25-17 in Moorhead, Minnesota en route to an 8-2 season.

“Obviously it’s a revenge match for us,” Director of Athletics Todd Garzarelli said.

Late turnovers and poor execution on the road cost the Warhawks the game against the Cobbers last year.

You can’t play a good team like Concordia-Moorhead and turn the ball over,” Bullis said. “That’s the reality of it.”

The Warhawks will close out non-conference play on Sept. 15 with a home game against Middle Georgia State Knights who went 3-5 in 2017.

UW-W will kick off conference play on Oct. 6 with a revenge match in their biggest rivalry against the UW-Oshkosh Titans. The Titans defeated the Warhawks 37-20 in last season’s WIAC opener in Oshkosh. That would be UW-W’s final and only conference loss of 2017. The last time UW-O came to Perkins Stadium the teams set the record for the highest attendance in D-III Football history with 17,535 fans. The record was broken last year when Saint John’s and Saint Thomas played their 2017 season opener at Target Field. The Titans made it all the way to the national semifinal last season.

On Oct. 13 UW-W will travel to UW-Eau Claire to take on the Blugolds in their first road game of the conference schedule. The Warhawks topped UW-EC 36-3 in their season finale last season.

Following that game the Warhawks will host UW-River Falls for Homecoming. UW-W topped the Falcons 20-7 in the matchup last season.

On Oct. 27 the Warhawks will travel to Menomonie to take on UW-Stout whom UW-W defeated 14-0 in Whitewater last season.

The Warhawks host UW-Stevens Point for the regular season home finale and senior day on Nov. 3. UW-W beat the Pointer 35-7 in their lone game last season.

For the regular season finale the Warhawks will travel to Platteville to take on the Pioneers for the George Chryst Memorial Bowl on Nov. 10. The two teams will be playing for the Miner’s Axe which has been controlled by UW-W for the last years. Last season’s contest between these two teams went down to the wire as the Warhawks needed a stop on fourth down late in the game to come away with the 17-16 victory.

This was the first UW-W football schedule that was put together by new Director of Athletics Todd Garzarelli. Coming over from D-I University of Buffalo, Garzarelli has brought a couple of tricks typically used by D-I programs. The biggest Garzarelli has put into place is long term scheduling. Garzarelli has been implementing a three year plan for the scheduling and has said that, for the most part, the football schedule is put in place for the next three years to come.

“No one wants to play Whitewater, which is unfortunate, because the tradition and the history so it’s hard to get games,” Garzarelli said. “Strategically it’s nice to schedule three to five years out so you don’t have to worry about that year in and year out.”

This forward scheduling is key in making sure the Warhawk football team can continue to get a fair amount of home games and also to make sure the football team continues to play 10 games a season. Both these problems have only been made harder since the WIAC lost UW-Superior and became an eight team league because most other D-III conferences have nine teams meaning they start conference play one week earlier than those teams in the WIAC.

“We’re not geographically challenged, we’re competitively challenged and schools don’t want to come play us,” Garzarelli said.

The first schedule made by Garzarelli shows the start of a more balanced home and away schedule and gives the fans some interesting revenge matches next season at Perkins Stadium.

“Looking over the next three years we should have at least five home games,” Garzarelli said.  

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