Coppage, Leipold reap top awards

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Gazette Staff
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
— A national championship should earn national honors.

UW-Whitewater’s football team earned two elite honors Tuesday.

Levell Coppage was named D3football.com’s Offensive Player of the Year. Lance Leipold earned the Coach of the Year honor.

Neither Coppage nor Leipold are strangers to those honors.

Coppage earned the Player of the Year honor last season. Leipold has earned the top-coaching honor five straight seasons.

Four other Warhawks earned All-America honors. They were offensive tackle Logan Allemand, linebacker Greg Arnold, defensive lineman Casey Casper, and quarterback Matt Blanchard.

Coppage rushed for 2,120 yards and averaged 5.6 yards a carry while scoring 28 touchdowns this season.

It was Coppage’s third straight season with more than 2,000 rushing yard. He became the first running back in Whitewater and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history to accomplish that feat.

The senior out of Chicago also is the first back to have at least 1,000 yards rushing in four straight seasons.

In Friday night’s Stagg Bowl, Coppage gained 91 yards on 32 carries and scored a touchdown as the Warhawks defeated the University of Mount Union, 13-10, for their third straight NCAA III national championship.

Coppage finished with 7,795 career-rushing yards, second in NCAA DIII history and third in all levels of NCAA football history. Coppage’s career scoring total of 654 points (109 rushing touchdowns) is also second in NCAA III career totals.

He has a long line of honors, with four WIAC first-team berths, two WIAC Player of the Year (2010, 11) awards, and four total appearances on the D3football All-America team (2008 third team, 2009 first team, 2010 first team, 2011 first team) and also was named a 2011 All-American by the American Football Coaches Association.

Allemand also was a first-team selection, after earning honorable mention. The tackle was a first-team All-WIAC pick and earned honorable mention honors in 2010.

Allemand, a 6-foot-3, 311-pound senior, was part of an offense that averaged 221.3 rushing yards per game, and an offensive line that gave up just 14 sacks on the year.

The line’s play helped quarterback Matt Blanchard finish sixth in passing efficiency in NCAA III.

Arnold, a first-team selection, and Casper, second-team, were key contributors to a stingy defense that developed throughout the season.

The Warhawk defense was ranked third nationally in turnover margin (1.8/game), fifth in scoring defense (10.8 pts/game), and eleventh in passing efficiency defense (92.4) and rushing defense (87.8 yards/game).

Arnold was second in tackles (69), recorded four sacks, and intercepted three passes despite missing three games due to an injury. The 6-1, 240-pound senior contributed 7.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and fumble recovery, and a blocked kick.

Casper, a 6-3, 250-pound senior, was sixth in tackles (56) and had 9.5 tackles for loss with six sacks. He forced one fumble and had one recovery for the Warhawks.

Blanchard, a third-team selection, was also a first-team WIAC selection this year, his second consecutive honor. He was one of four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, the highest award given to a NCAA Division III football player.

Blanchard led the Warhawk offense to an average of 420.5 yards a game, and threw for 2,852 yards, completing 220 of 319 passes (.690) for 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He finished the season sixth in passing efficiency (165.35) nationally in NCAA III.

Leipold led the Warhawks to a 15-0 record en route to the team’s seventh WIAC championship and third straight NCAA III national championship.

He earned his third-straight WIAC Coach of the Year honor.

Kiesow repeats as honoree

Warhawk senior defensive back, Jared Kiesow, received the NCAA's Elite 89 Award last week.

The award is given to the student athlete with the highest cumulative grade point at the final event at each of the 89 NCAA championship events.

Kiesow is a senior elementary education major with a 3.89 (4.0 scale) cumulative grade point.

He is a Karl and Doris Zahn Scholarship recipient, has earned UW-W's Student Athlete Achievement Award three years, is a multiple honoree on the Dean's List, and been on the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll three years. Kiesow participated in the Souls for Soles shoe drive during the 2009-2010 school year, and is a Bible study leader.

Kiesow is a repeat honoree. He also received the award, then known as the Elite 88, at the Stagg Bowl in 2010. Earlier this month he also earned First Team Academic All-America recognition from the College Sports Information Directors of America, a project sponsored by Capital One. That selection, based on academic excellence combined with significant athletic performance and campus/community involvement, is chosen on a competitive national ballot.

Last updated: 7:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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