Warhawk football earns share of conference

Tyler Job, Sports Editor


That’s the number of Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships the No. 5 Warhawk football team is striving for after clinching at least a share of this year’s title with a 40-10 victory over UW-Stout and the help of No. 10 UW-Oshkosh’s loss to UW-Stevens Point.

Whitewater in the process also clinched an automatic bid into the NCAA playoffs with an 8-0 overall record.

“It means a lot,” senior quarterback Cole Wilber said. “The reason I came here was to go to a program where winning is standard…We said the first goal was the WIAC and after we check that box off, we got to go to the next.”

The Warhawks after their win have now outscored opponents 314-36 on the season.

All of UW-W’s five touchdowns came on the ground, with sophomore running back Alex Peete scoring three of them.

Peete’s first score was Whitewater’s first on an 18-yarder in the opening quarter a little more than midway through.

Peete wasted little time scoring again in the second when he ran 56 yards to the house, which was his longest run of his career.

Even with the Warhawks up 27-3 after the third quarter, Peete scored one more time in the final frame from 20 yards out to give his team a commanding 33-3 lead. The sophomore running back has now surpassed 100 yards rushing for the fourth time this year.

Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Wisniewski cruised 81 yards downfield to open Whitewater’s second half scoring.

Senior running back Ronny Ponick had the final touchdown run that came five yards out midway through the fourth quarter.

The Warhawks put up 354 yards rushing on a day, and the offense posted 553 in total.

Head coach Kevin Bullis noted the team is confident in the running game.

“That’s something that ultimately we’ve been really excited about,” Bullis said. “We saw it coming.”

Throughout part of the season, takeaways were tough to come by for the Whitewater defense. But that has suddenly turned around as the defense forced three turnovers against the Blue Devils, giving the Warhawks eight in the last three games.

Junior linebacker Jacob Erbs and junior defensive back Luke Tegtman forced the two fumbles, while junior defensive back Jacob Frey caught the interception. Erbs’ forced fumble came in just shy of the Whitewater red zone after the Blue Devils chewed up over six minutes of the clock on their first drive of the second half.

Despite the defense allowing some long drives, senior linebacker Beau Martin said that not allowing points is what matters most.

“It’s all about bending, not breaking,” Martin said. “Other guys made some big plays down in the red zone when we needed them to and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Warhawks will come back to Perkins Stadium next weekend to host UW-SP, which will be their final home game of the regular season before the playoffs. If they win, they will clinch the WIAC outright.

“We don’t have any intent of sharing [the conference],” Bullis said. “Building on what we’ve done for most of the season is an important thing, but to accomplish that goal at the very least is exciting.”