UW-Whitewater football collects honors
The accolades continue to pile up for UW-Whitewater’s football team.
The second-ranked Warhawks steamrolled their way through the WIAC this season en route to a fifth straight title and have been rewarded for their efforts by dominating the all-conference selections.
Ten Warhawks have been named to the first team, including quarterback Jeff Donovan, the WIAC Player of the Year.
Lance Leipold is the George Chryst Coach of the Year after leading Whitewater to a 10-0 regular season.
“That’s a program award,” Leipold said of his honor. “It’s the result of a lot of hard work put forth by these young men and my coaching staff.
“And being named Player of the Year is well-deserved for Jeff, but it’s much bigger than that. It tells you that our defense made stops to give our offense a chance to score points. You can’t have one without the other.”
Donovan, a senior out of Wauwatosa East School, has thrown for 2,576 yards and 22 touchdowns in 11 games. He has completed 73.5 percent of his passes and has thrown only four interceptions in 255 attempts.
Whitewater now has had the Player of the Year four of the last five seasons, and Donovan’s selection marks the ninth time a Warhawk has been picked.
“Jeff has made great strides for us,” Leipold said. “Last year was kind of a learning experience for him, both on and off the field, and he’s used that as a motivational tool this season.”
Making life easier for Donovan has been first-team repeat selections Levell Coppage at running back and Jeff Schebler as the place-kicker.
Coppage has rushed for 1,590 yards and owns the WIAC season touchdown record for most touchdowns with 27.
Schebler, a three-time All-American, became the NCAA (all-division) all-time scoring leader for kickers last weekend and enters Saturday’s second-round Division III playoff game against Illinois Wesleyan with 92 points this season.
“As good as Jeff is as a kicker, I always tell people he’s an even better person,” Leipold said.
Three Warhawk offensive linemen on the first team include Evansville High graduate Garth Coats. The 6-foot-2, 282-pound senior has started all 11 games despite a foot injury.
“It’s always nice to see a local guy like Garth, who was voted one of our captains, get recognized,” Leipold said. “He’s battled a high ankle sprain for most of the season, but he’s gutted it out and played very, very well.”
Whitewater junior wide receiver Aaron Rusch also is on the first team, along with offensive linemen Robbie Ustruck and Matt Weber.
Rusch has caught 47 passes for 632 yards and six touchdowns.
Whitewater senior defensive back Troney Shumpert is a repeat selection on the first team, and is joined by teammates Kyle Supianoski at linebacker and Anthony White on the defensive line.
Taylor Edwards, a Janesville Parker High School graduate, is on the second team at running back. The UW-River Falls sophomore rushed for 1,116 yards and scored nine touchdowns.
UW-La Crosse offensive lineman Kyle Schulz, an Evansville High graduate, also is on the second team.
Milton High graduate Randy Langer has received honorable mention as a defensive lineman.