Warhawks finally feel at home
Special to The Gazette
WHITEWATER--After dropping three out of four road games to open the season, the UW-Whitewater football team appeared to be suffering from coach-bus fatigue.
The road-weary Warhawks finally got their chance to return to Perkins Stadium and made the most of it with a 14-0 victory over No. 23 UW-Stout.
Warhawk junior quarterback Cole Wilber fired a pair of first-half touchdown passes to Tony Gumina and Delavan-Darien High product Marcus Hudson, while the Warhawk defense recorded seven sacks to post a much-needed victory.
“I felt consistently with our three losses, we were pressing,” UW-Whitewater coach Kevin Bullis said. “I finally just told the team to just go have some fun, and we came out with energy today and had fun.”
The fun began for the Warhawk offense late in the first quarter when Wilber took advantage of an aggressive Blue Devil defense and hit Gumina on a 28-yard touchdown middle screen pass for a 7-0 lead.
“We definitely like to throw a couple screen plays in every game and let myself and Drew Patterson take advantage of our vision,” Gumina said. “It definitely keeps defenses on their toes.”
Wilber caught the Blue Devils out of position again early in the second quarter when a miscommunication in the secondary led to an easy 20-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Hudson.
The worry-free Warhawks were in control for the rest of the half, and rode into halftime with a comfortable 14-0 advantage.
The Blue Devils finally got rolling in the third with a long drive inside the Whitewater 20. But linebacker Jacob Erbs then stripped Blue Devil quarterback Jay Alston and then recovered the fumble at 11 the stop the momentum.
“As the saying goes dynamite comes in small packages and that's exactly what Jacob is,” Bullis said of his 5-foot-10, 225-pound sophomore linebacker. “He's small but very strong.”
Stout had two more possessions inside Whitewater territory, but each time the Warhawks' pass rush helped turn away the Blue Devils.
“Sacks are huge as a defensive line and we got after them pretty well today,” said Janesville Craig product Harry Henschler, who had one of Whitewater's seven sacks. “We are getting better as the season go and I think we can get even more."
With the defense dominating play, the Warhawk offense ran out the clock in the fourth quarter and finally got their chance to enjoy a home victory.
“You can just tell with the atmosphere it brings us more up and makes us more energized to be home,” Wilber said. “It's just always good to play at the Perk.”
With three of their final five games at home, Wilber and the Warhawks look to turn the season around at Perkins Stadium.
WHITEWATER 14, STOUT 0
Stout 0 0 0 0--0
Whitewater 7 7 0 0--14
Scoring summary: W--Tony Gumina, 28 pass from Cole Wilber (Wojciech Gasienica kick). W--Marcus Hudson, 20 pass from Wilber (Gasienica kick).
Statistics: First downs--Stout 15, Whitewater 15. Rushing--Stout 44-72, Whitewater 41-80. Yards passing--Stout 149, Whitewater 141. Passes--Stout 24-13-1, Whitewater 24-11-0. Fumbles--Stout 3-2, Whitewater 0-0. Penalties--Stout 3-30, Whitewater 7-70.