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Warhawk football ready for drive time

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Gazette staff
October 16, 2009
— Even the UW-Whitewater football team is feeling the effects of a struggling economy.

For the second straight week, in a combined effort by WIAC schools to eliminate the cost of an overnight stay, Whitewater’s kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday. The second-ranked Warhawks (5-0, 2-0) will travel to Menomonie to play UW-Stout (4-1, 1-1).


Whitewater hosted UW-Eau Claire last Saturday in a 3 o’clock start, but will have to board the buses early Saturday morning for the nearly four-hour ride to Menomonie.


In years past, the Warhawks would’ve arrived in Menomonie on Friday afternoon.


“It’s definitely a change in routine for us,” Whitewater coach Lance Leipold said. “We’ve got to get the guys up pretty early, get them fed and get on the bus.


“But it’s not like we’re the only ones doing it. Eau Claire had to do it coming here last week, and now it’s our turn. It’s an adjustment, no doubt about it, but it’s a move that makes sense.”


One Warhawk who won’t mind the long bus trip is Levell Coppage. The sophomore rushed 41 times for a school-record 382 yards in Whitewater’s 38-14 win over Eau Claire.


Coppage broke Justin Beaver’s school record of 286 yards, set against UW-La Crosse in 2006, and was only nine yards short of Andrew Mocadlo’s WIAC record of 391 yards, set when his UW-La Crosse team played Stout in 2003. Coppage averaged 9.3 yards per carry against the Blugolds and scored three times in running his season touchdown total to 12 in five games.


“It wasn’t like we were thinking about any records,” Leipold said of Coppage’s 41 carries. “By the second half, and with the lead, we were just worried about running time off the clock.


“And after watching film of the game, you could really pick up how hard and physical Levell was running the ball, but the offensive line, our tight ends, and even our wide receivers did a great job of sustaining blocks. We had some success early (running the ball), and we seemed to feed off that.”


The Warhawk offense has been unstoppable all season, but will be tested by the Blue Devils—the WIAC’s second-ranked defense. Stout has allowed only 20 points in two conference games. Whitewater comes in averaging 42.2 points per game.


“The one thing that sticks out about Stout is the fact that they don’t beat themselves,” Leipold said. “They’re very physical, and they do a lot of things very well.


“It’s another tough conference game where we better come ready to play from the minute we step on the field.”


Even if it’s a little later than usual.



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