Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Football wins home opener

Karstan Koelblinger
UWW takes down No. 4 seed SJU at Perkins Stadium.

A battle between two powerhouse football programs met on Saturday, and the game met the expectations. Entering the game, the UW-Whitewater men’s football team was ranked number eight in the country. Their opponent would be the number four-ranked St. John’s University. The Warhawks would prevail in a battle, winning the game 56-28 after a dominant second-half performance from both the offense and the defense.

With 15,000 fans attending the Warhawks’ home opener, Perkins stadium was ready to watch the Warhawks play. The scoring would start early, with UW-Whitewater marching down the field after a good starting field position. However, the Warhawks, starting quarterback Alec Ogden, would be forced out of the game with an injury. Backup quarterback Jason Ceniti would punch the ball in to score the opening touchdown.

Running back Tamir Thomas says, “Jason is always one step ahead and always thinking about what’s next, so when he stepped in, it was seamless.” Ceniti would rise, throwing for 175 yards and three touchdowns.

Head football coach, Jace Rindahl, leads the Warhawks to a 56-28 win against #4 SJU on Saturday, September 9th at Perkins Stadium. (Karstan Koelblinger)

UW-Whitewater would show its toughness and team culture as the team would rally behind Ceniti. They would score first in the second quarter when Ceniti found Drake Martin for a 45-yard touchdown. Ceniti would continue showing poise in leading the team with a touchdown on the next drive. The touchdown was a 59-yard rush by Tamir Thomas to secure his first of four touchdowns on the day. The Warhawks would falter to end the half with a costly interception in Warhawk territory, allowing for a St. John’s touchdown. Followed by another St. John’s touchdown to end the half all tied at twenty-one. “We know the game will have its highs and lows, but managing and finding a way to overcome those hurdles,” Rindahl said about his team’s performance at the end of the half and beginning of the second.

Coming out of the break, the Warhawks task would become more challenging as St. John scored on the second half’s opening drive. 

“Toughness is something we intentionally build into this team every time we practice hard,” Rinhal says about his team after going down early in the third.

QB, Jason Centiti, runs 175 total yards scoring 3 touchdowns at Perkins Stadium on Saturday, September 9th. (Karstan Koelblinger)

The team would get this message, dig their heels in, and dominate the rest of the game on both sides of the ball. The Warhawk offense would respond immediately, with Ceniti throwing a touchdown pass to receiver Hein for 35 yards. The Warhawks wouldn’t look back for the rest of the game. With another Tamir Thomas rushing touchdown late in the third quarter.

The Warhawks wouldn’t be stopped for the entire second half of play, showing brutal efficacy on the offensive side of the ball. The Warhawks would score a touchdown on every drive in the second half of play. 

“We just leaned on them, and they couldn’t stop the run in the second half,” Rindahl said of his offense’s performance in the second half. With the offense’s performance, the defense would also step up in the second half.

#8, Tamir Thomas, celebrates after scoring against #4 SJU on Saturday, September 9th (Karstan Koelblinger)

The defense would come to life in the second half, holding St. John’s to only 124 yards and six first downs.

 Sophomore defensive end Lucas Salder says, “We put pressure on the quarterback, so  our secondary can stand out and force turnovers and three and out.” This rang true as late in the fourth quarter, Sophomore Joey Antoniettie would come up with an interception to help seal the game for the Warhawks. 

The Warhawks will look to continue a hot start and prove themselves as the season goes on. Their next matchup will be away against a tough University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. UMHB is ranked number twelve in the nation. The game will kick off at noon on September 16th. The Warhawks beat UMHB last season in a thrilling 28-24 game at home.

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About the Contributor
Dan Emary
Dan Emary, Men's Sports Editor

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  • J

    John RabeSep 16, 2023 at 12:37 pm

    Well done Hawks! Good Luck today at UMHB. Bring home 2023’s third win! GO WARHAWKS! E. J. Rabe

  • C

    Cher MattranSep 14, 2023 at 6:15 am

    Great pics Karstan Koelblinger!! Congratulations on the W!