Undefeated Warhawks head to Bluegrass Country
Lance Leipold makes it clear that filling out the UW-Whitewater football schedule has become a headache since the Warhawks became a regular participant in the NCAA Division III national championship game.
“It’s been difficult for 30 years,” Leipold said. “Way back when I played, we played Division II schools. So it’s been there for a while.”
Leipold was a quarterback for the Warhawks from 1983-1986. Now the team’s head coach, Leipold will be in front of one of the buses that left Whitewater last night for the trek to Campbellsville, Ky. After an overnight stay, the team was scheduled to complete the nine-hour trip today and will play Campbellsville University at noon Saturday.
The Warhawks make their initial road trip of the season after running over Dakota State University, 70-7, last Saturday. The Warhawks scored 10 touchdowns, had three backs gain more than 100 yards and led, 63-0, with 5 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.
Despite the lopsided score, Leipold said his team’s intensity never wavered.
“We played at the level we needed to play at,” Leipold said. “We didn’t get sloppy.”
The Warhawks, 2-0 and winners of 17 straight games, take their No. 1 ranking in the D3football.com poll to Bluegrass Country. The Fighting Tigers are 2-1, falling out of the top 25 of an NAIA poll after their 33-21 loss to Cumberland University last week.
Campbellsville opened the season with a 34-7 victory over Kentucky Christian University and a 47-36 win over Union.
“This will be the best team we’ve played so far,” Leipold said. “They are the most athletic team we’ve seen. They have the best size and speed.”
Mark Terry leads the Fighting Tigers, a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, with 203 yards rushing. Campbellsville has used three quarterbacks, with Will Warf throwing for 305 yards and five TDs and Robert Hill running for 105 net yards and one TD.
The Warhawks, meanwhile, have averaged 567 yards of total offense in their first two wins.
Booker Stanley, the Warhawk Offensive Player of the Week, is averaging 10.2 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns. Levell Coppage has an 8.9-yard per carry average with two TDs, and Antwan Anderson is averaging 5.3 yards a carry with one TD.
Quarterback Matt Blanchard has completed 29 of 38 passes for 491 yards and five TDs. Adam Brandes has been his favorite target, catching seven passes for 207 yards and three scores.
The Warhawk defense, which held Dakota State to 204 total yards, will face a Campbellsville team that likes to use a spread offense.
Tackle Luke Hibner was named Defensive Player of the Week. He had four tackles, three of them for a loss. He also had two sacks and a forced fumble
Jaren Borland, a sophomore out of Fort Atkinson High, earned the Special Teams Player of the Week honor. He had three special teams’ tackles.
Leipold said the 18 hours on buses, plus all the other situations that will come up on the long road trip, should help the team bond.
“I’ve come to appreciate the time out guys get to spend with one another,” Leipold said. “It will help our team chemistry.”
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After a bye week next week, the Warhawks open Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at UW-Platteville. The game is Thursday, Sept. 30, and will start at 6 p.m.
The most interesting game to Warhawk fans last week was in Oshkosh. Mount Union—you remember that team, don’t you?—played the Titans, and Oshkosh was able to dent the Purple Raiders’ defense for 436 yards, including 198 yards rushing. The Purple Raiders built a 28-7 lead, and won, 45-28.
Leipold said WIAC rules prohibit teams from sending scouts to games, but he did know the game was being played.
“A retired couple from Mount Union stopped by Friday and looked around our place,” Leipold said. “That got my attention.”
Leipold pointed out the game was Mount Union’s opener, while Oshkosh had played a game the week before. Still, the Titans’ performance was worth noting.
“I’m a lot less worried about Mount Union than I am Oshkosh,” he said. “Oshkosh is on our schedule (Nov. 6 at Oshkosh), and Mount Union isn’t at this time. That is where our focus is.”