Warhawks light up game against Eau Claire

Whitewater victorious in first WIAC competition


Dane Sheehan

Senior defensive lineman Jordan Brand forces Eau Claire’s quarterback Jonathan Malueg to fumble the ball just three plays into the game Saturday at Perkins Stadium. Brand finished the game with two sacks and four tackles.

Ross Guyette, Assistant Sports Editor

The number three ranked Whitewater football team came home to torrential downpours and lightning delays at Perkins Stadium for their 24-14 victory over UW-Eau Claire, which took place after Family Fest on Oct. 5. The Warhawks scored their first touchdown two minutes into the game, and from there the floodgates opened.

Usually when that line is used in the context of Warhawk Football, it references a massive score differential, but we haven’t seen that from coach Kevin Bullis’ team as much this season. Rather, these floodgates held back a real flood, which proceed to pour down onto the Whitewater faithful at Family Fest.

The storm got so bad that the game was halted with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter, a 30-minute break due to lightning in the area. The score was 7-0 Whitewater.

Whiewater has now won 18 consecutive games against Eau Claire, also leading the all time season series with a 48-22 record, but the conference-opening game wasn’t going to be overlooked.

“We respect our opponent, we want to bring our best team,” said Bullis. “We have a team with tremendous talent and players at all positions who are willing to step up.”

Possibly due to some injuries still lingering on offense, the Warhawks haven’t put up more than 28 on an opponent since the first game of the season. With the entire WIAC conference season opening, the Blugolds present a difficult test.

“We have a tough division, a very physical division that takes its toll on our players,” commented Bullis. “We strategize with rotations to get more players opportunities, helping us all grow and stay healthier.”

After the kickoff, it didn’t take long for the Warhawks to put points on the board as junior Alex Peete was able to bust free for 45 yards for the first score of the game 7-0 with 13:03 still left in the first quarter. However, the offense stalled, possibly due to weather, which got worse and worse. Finally, the game was interrupted by a 30-minute weather break.

After returning to the field, the Warhawks added a Wojciech Gasienica field goal to their lead, a tough kick considering the  conditions.

The Blugolds answered with a  score of their own, moving down the field and capping their drive with a six-yard touchdown by Junior Conrad Bolz. Ending the first half of their first conference match-up by a score of 10-7.

Costly fumbles soon highlighted the second half, with one from Whitewater and three from Eau Claire.  QB Zack Oles claimed  fault for the Warhawks turnover, after a fumble late in the fourth quarter.

“I take full responsibility for those missteps. I gotta keep my eye on the ball,” Oles said.

Capitalizing off turnovers was crucial as 14 points came off of turnovers.

“The first one we bounced back real fast then our second fumble, that took a lot out of our sails,” said Wesley Beschorner.

After Oles fumble, Eau Claire was able to put together a drive where junior Austen Belot scored at 1:20, cutting the lead to 24-14.

Warhawks did just enough to hold them off as time ticked away, bringing Perkins Stadium its first conference win of the season.

For the Homecoming match-up next week, Warhawks will face the Platteville Pioneers Oct. 12 at Perkin Stadium at 2 p.m.