No looking ahead: Warhawks can't take winless Falcons for granted
WHITEWATER UW-Whitewater football coach Lance Leipold acknowledged last Saturday that this regular Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football season would not be a series of walkovers that Warhawk fans have grown to expect.
The seven-time defending WIAC champion Warhawks were pushed to the limit last Saturday at UW-Platteville, having to overcome a 14-0 deficit and stopping a two-point conversion attempt with 13 seconds left to come away with a 27-26 victory over the No. 13-ranked Pioneers.
The Warhawks (1-0 in WIAC, 3-1 overall) now take on the only winless team in the league, UW-River Falls (0-1,
Leipold will not allow his team to take Saturday's home game for granted.
"This is a team that you can't judge a book by its cover," Leipold said. "Their record says they are 0-4, but they are playing hard and doing some good things.
"Last week, they held a UW-Oshkosh team that had scored 70 points the week before to 19 (in a 19-7 loss). They are slowly putting it together."
The Falcons have evolved into a passing team after years of using the Wishbone offense. Quarterback Ryan Kisilek is third in the WIAC in yards passing, averaging 221 yards a game.
Nathan Brandt leads the league with 32 receptions for 274 yards.
River Falls will be going against the league-leading Warhawk defense, which has allowed an average of just 10 points a game. The Falcons are last in scoring offense, with 11.8 points a game.
The Falcons' defense has allowed an average of 28.2 points a game. Elkhorn High graduate David Scaro, a senior linebacker, has 26 solo and four assisted tackles, including five tackles for loss and one sack.
The Warhawks' offense features the WIAC leading rusher in Desmin Ward, who is averaging 107 yards a game. Quarterback Lee Brekke ranks seventh in passing, averaging 148 yards a game.
Leipold has warned his team about overlooking the Falcons.
"We had an emotional win last week," Leipold said. "We can't have a hangover from that."
UW-Whitewater Family Fest will be part of the gameday festivities. The event provides activities for students and their families to participate in on campus.
In addition, the school will collect funds through raffles and a bucket collection to help defray medical expenses of Tom Pattison, long-time radio announcer for Warhawk football and basketball games. Pattison is battling colon cancer and has no insurance.
Kickoff time is 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on WKCH, 106.5 FM.