Warhawk Football took on the UW-Stout Blue Devils at home at Perkins Stadium Saturday, Nov. 9, where they extended their win streak to 18 wins against the Blue Devils and proved the game to be more than advertised.
Both teams were very physical. Knowing the regular season is about done, they wanted to prove that they could each still play their best football this late in the season. Whitewater (9-0, 6-0 conference) and the Blue Devils (3-6, 2-4 conference) each proved they had a spark, but ultimately the Warhawks proved to be the better team Saturday.
Both teams were tied 3-3 heading into the second quarter, which was all both defenses allowed through the first 15 minutes. The Warhawks were able to break the tie when senior Zach Oles scampered 5 yards to score the first touchdown in the game with 14:51 left in the first half.
About a pair of fumbles by Whitewater, Head Coach Bullis commented, “We have to take all of these opportunities seriously, we knew this team played very physically. Every single game is like a playoff game for us and we knew this team was going to be better than advertised. We watched their film earlier and their record does not represent the team they are.” As the Warhawks were locked in tight with the Blue Devils they were able to produce 7 sacks but no immediate turnovers.
Switching out starter Zach Oles for backup quarterback Max Meylor, the Warhawks were able to improve and gain more momentum heading into the second half. With 13:27 left in the second half, a big play from the Blue Devils drew the game closer to 23-17. Meylor and the offense decided late in the second half that they were going to win this.
As Meylor put it, “Offensively we were not finishing, once we started getting in our groove they could not stop us. I was cold to start but once I started getting some completions the game started to slow down a lot more. Wisniewski was great, he was my primary read and I threw it up to him and he pulled it down.”
Meylor connected with junior Ryan Wisniewski 11 times for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns on the afternoon. That connection helped vault the Warhawks over the Blue Devils 37-17 as time expired in the fourth.
Stout was able to put forth a total of 292 offensive yards throughout the contest. Junior defensive linemen Mackenzie Balanganayi commented on the defensive effort against the Blue Devils, ”We got away from some of the fundamentals, a lot of us were lunging at him
instead of keeping our feet under us and ensuring a tackle. The effort plays are important late in the game like that and we can’t make those big mistakes. We bend but don’t break, we always try to keep our composure during those moments.”
Next week Whitewater wraps up its’ regular season heading to UW-Oshkosh where they will be facing the Titans at J.J. Keller field Saturday at 6 p.m. The Titans are 7-2 on the season, second in WIAC, and pose the only threat to the Warhawks chances their 38th Conference Championship.