Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Mistakes plague Warhawk football in loss

The warhawks, coached by Jace Rindahl, fell short to the eagles in the last second on Saturday afternoon

The No. 3 UW-Whitewater Football team (4-1, 1-1 WIAC) was narrowly defeated at the hands of rival No. 14 UW-La Crosse (4-1, 2-0 WIAC), 37-34 after the Eagles knocked in a 51 yard field goal as time expired. The loss was the first under head coach Jace Rindahl and the first to La Crosse since 2004. 

A record-breaking 20,113 fans filed into Perkins Stadium for Family Fest, a feat well worth celebrating as it is the first on-campus Division III game to ever exceed 20,000. Of course the results on the field put a damper on the history made. 

The Warhawks were struggling from the get-go. On the opening drive they marched down the field but a fumble at the goal line by running back Tamir Thomas prevented them from drawing first blood. That was one of three lost fumbles on the day, all of which led to touchdowns for La Crosse. 

The warhawks celebrate a touchdown by quarterback, Alec Ogden, against the eagles (Karstan Koelblinger)

“Ultimately we killed ourselves the whole game,” quarterback Alec Ogden said. “Fumbles here, me, Tamir, missed opportunities on throws that’s basically on me. Little bit of a frustrating game.” 

Allowing 21 points off of turnovers and leaving points off the board, not to mention a La Crosse field goal that could have been prevented if not for a penalty on a Warhawk interception, put the Warhawks in a bad spot.

The Whitewater offense battled through. They found themselves down by 10 or more points three times but managed to give their 20,000 fans hope.

“When we do make mistakes, any time we’re going to punch them back, no matter if it’s a pick, fumble, whatever. That’s what I like about this group, that’s what I trust about this group. Even if we did lose I have a lot of confidence in this team no matter the obstacles,” running back Alijah Maher-Parr said. 

Ogden was able to complete 10 of his 16 passes, good for 154 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a 64 yard play to Maher-Parr which was followed by a successful two point conversion pass to Steven Hein to tie the game at 34 a piece. Maher-Parr also ran for 115 yards to outgain the Warhawks starting rusher Thomas who had just short of 100 yards on 14 carries.

The Whitewater defense struggled to hold down a unique Eagles offense, which utilized two quarterbacks on the field for much of the second half. Keyser Helterbrand led the team in the first half, in the second half Zach Weir took the reins while Helterbrand was in at running back. They both threw two touchdowns and neither of them were intercepted. Helterbrand ran 25 times for 108 yards.

“Historically they’ve always kind of ran the two quarterback deal but we were not prepared for that,” Rindahl said. “I think what happened was their quarterback is probably the best player on their team and he was probably better than their starting running back so they wanted to just get him the ball and let him run downhill and get the yards. That’s what they did and it worked, we’ve got to be better on defense shutting the run down.”

Egon Hein making sure he’s insides before attempting to block a UW-Lacrosse field goal (Karstan Koelblinger)

Ryan Bartol and Jack Studer led the Eagles offense with 6 and 7 catches respectively. Studer was good for 150 yards, 84 of that coming on his lone touchdown catch. That long ball was one of five total touchdowns by either team which were on plays of over 40 yards. 

La Crosse finished having possession of the ball for around 13 minutes longer than the Warhawks did, plenty of time for Whitewater’s defense to find places in need of improvement. The lack of time on the field also gave the offense time to consider their own deficiencies, in having been held to three and outs.

“A loss like this really exemplifies the areas you need to improve, right?” Rindahl said. “Your deficiencies get magnified. Now we have a great opportunity to locate those deficiencies and attack them this week.”

Now that the Warhawks look ahead to their next game, against one of the top teams in the nation in UW-River Falls, Rindahl has one word that embodies how he sees what lies ahead of them: “Exciting.” Now is the time for the Warhawks to address their flaws and get back to it as they attempt to make a playoff push against the toughest conference in the nation.

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Parker Olsen
Parker Olsen, Managing Editor

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