UW-Whitewater clinches tie for fifth straight WIAC fooball title
That’s what former UW-Whitewater quarterback and current head Lance Leipold probably would have said if asked during his playing career if the Warhawks could ever win five straight conference football titles.
The dream is a reality.
The second-ranked Warhawks clinched a share of the WIAC title for the fifth straight season by blowing out UW-Oshkosh, 40-7, in the regular-season home finale here Saturday afternoon at Perkins Stadium.
Levell Coppage racked up 209 rushing yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns to help Whitewater (9-0, 6-0) remain perfect for the season.
Whitewater can clinch an outright championship next week with a win at UW-La Crosse or a UW-Stevens Point (6-3, 5-1) loss.
“You always dream about it, I think,” Leipold said of the five straight championships. “I think back when I was a player, we always thought there were some things in place that we always felt were on the upper end in facilities and things like that. But whatever the case was, we were not able to put it together.”
Whitewater used its tough ball-control offense to put it all together against the Titans (4-5, 2-4).
Coppage capped a grueling 12-play, 70-yard scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with 5:47 left in the first quarter.
Whitewater added another long 14-play, 89-yard scoring drive midway through the second quarter that was again capped by a 6-yard touchdown run by Coppage.
“They (the Titans) went with three high safeties, which is something that they hadn’t really shown,” said Warhawk received Jordan Wells, who finished with 12 catches for 90 yards. “They definitely took away the deeper pass, so underneath was a good little game plan.”
Whitewater continued to stick with the basics in the second half.
Jeff Donovan led another methodical 11-play drive in the third quarter with an 11-yard touchdown pass to John Novak, giving the Warhawks a commanding 23-0 lead.
After Jeff Schebler kicked a 39-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, Coppage finally broke the long-drive monogamy with a 66-yard touchdown run through the middle of the Oshkosh defense, giving Whitewater a 33-0 lead.
“We ran the same running play two times in a row,” Coppage said. “I missed the hole the first time, and they (the Titans) were yelling same play, and so I set it outside the second play and finally got one.”
Oshkosh finally got one late in the fourth quarter when Paul Coburn ran under a tipped Tyler Wegner pass and sprinted 75-yards for a touchdown.
C.J. Miller then finished off the Titans with an 8-yard touchdown run late in the final period.
WHITEWATER 40, OSHKOSH 7
First downs 12 31
Rushes-yards 22-71 43-277
Yards passing 238 243
Passes 21-32-0 30-35-1
Punts-avg. 6-35.2 2-45.5
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-34 4-25
Time of poss. 32:21 34:38
UW-Oshkosh 0 0 0 7—7
UW-Whitewater 7 10 6 17—40
W—Levell Coppage, 5 run (Jeff Schebler kick), 2:43.
W—Coppage, 6 run (Schebler kick), 5:34. W—FG, Schebler, 35, :02.
W—John Novak, 11 pass from Jeff Donovan (kick failed), 9:38.
W—FG, Schebler, 39, 13:57. W—Coppage, 66 run (Schebler kick), 9:57. O—Paul Coburn, 75 pass from Tyler Wegner (Andy Lindsay kick), 2:54. W—C.J. Miller, 8 run (Schebler kick).
RUSHING—Oshkosh: Nate Wara 8-34, Charlie Weissman, 6-21, Jeremy Roach 4-8, Duane Hartkopf 2-7, Jamie Braasch 1-3, Tyler Wegner 1/-2. Whitewater: Levell Coppage 27-209, C.J. Miller 4-28, Antwan Anderson 4-27, Jeff Donovan 5-11, Matt McCulloch 1-7, Matt Blanchard 2/-5.
PASSING—Oshkosh: Nate Wara 19-30-0-145, Tyler Wegner 2-2-0-93. Whitewater: Jeff Dononvan 29-33-1-229, Matt Blanchard 1-2-0-14.
RECEIVING—Oshkosh: Charlie Weissman 4-30, Jamie Braasch 3-48, Paul Coburn 2-77. Whitewater: Jordan Wells 12-90, Adam Brandes 5-60, David Leaf 4-33.