’Hawks stomp Stout, Titans next

Saturday’s football game was the focal point of Hall of Fame Day for UW-Stout.

Unfortunately, the Blue Devil’s hall-of-famers could not play against the Warhawk football team, which pounded the Blue Devils, 41-7.

The ’Hawks found success in every facet of the game. Seniors Lee Brekke and Desmin Ward led the offense in the team’s most efficient game of the season.

“I was very happy with our day up there,” head coach Lance Leipold said.  “It was probably our best all around performance of the season.”

Brekke completed 12 of 17 passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Not only was the Warhawk quarterback efficient, but he also averaged almost 20 yards per completion.

Ward ran for 120 of the team’s 175 total rushing yards, averaging five yards per carry and scoring the first touchdown of the game.

“I was extremely pleased with the way we came out offensively, scoring on our first couple possessions,” Leipold said. “We were able to make some big plays passing, because we got the running game going.”

Defensively, the ’Hawks held UW-Stout to just six yards rushing. They surrendered one touchdown near the end of the first half but forced a punt or a turnover on the Blue Devils’ other 15 possessions.

“We take a lot of pride in stopping the run,” senior linebacker Cole Klotz said. “If you stop the run every week, you really limit what the other team can do on offense.”

Junior defensive back Andrew Keister intercepted Blue Devils quarterback Hank Kujak twice, accounting for two of the five turnovers forced by the Warhawk defense.

Another junior defensive back, Nick Miller, led the team with five tackles. Nine ’Hawks recorded at least three.

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Blue Devils were quickly forced to punt. The ’Hawks then methodically drove 59 yards in six minutes. Ward capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 7-0 lead, and the ’Hawks never slowed down.

“Coming into the meat of our schedule, we were kind of shaky on both sides of the ball,” Klotz said, “so to play a complete game like this before these coming weeks should be big for us.”

The success of the rushing game allowed the ’Hawks to adhere to their slogan of “pound the rock,” as the team ran the ball 46 times, compared to just 21 passing attempts.

This win improved ’Hawks’ Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record to 3-0 and overall record to 5-1, while the Blue Devils fell to 1-2 in WIAC play.

Up next for the Warhawks is a pivotal conference game against UW-Oshkosh in Whitewater. The WIAC coaches picked the Titans to finish second in conference behind the ’Hawks in a preseason poll.

The Titans are undefeated this season and coming to Whitewater after a pair of convincing home wins against UW-Eau Claire and UW-Platteville. Leipold said they will need another complete team effort against the Titans.

“We’re going to have to play our best football to date in order to have a chance to win this football game,” he said. “I know they’ve been thinking about this game since our game last year that was real close.”

The game on Saturday is also UW-Whitewater’s homecoming, which will draw even more attention to a marquee WIAC matchup.

“That’s a program that knows they can compete with us,” Leipold said. “They think they’re ready to win conference championships.”

The game will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Perkins Stadium. Klotz said a large homecoming crowd would help the ’Hawks bring a great energy level to the game.