Warhawks start new winning streak
WHITEWATER As UW-Whitewater’s football team sprinted onto the Perkins Stadium turf before its clash with UW-Stevens Point, it clearly had some explaining to do.
Was last week’s stunning 7-6 home loss to Buffalo State a fluke or a painful sign of a struggling season?
Much to the delight of the home crowd, the three-time defending NCAA Division III national champion Warhawks provided a decisive answer.
UW-Whitewater (2-1) scored two touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game and cruised to a dominating 34-7 victory over the Pointers in nonconference action here Saturday afternoon.
Warhawk quarterback Lee Brekke fired three touchdown passes, including a pair to Warhawk receiver Jake Kumerow, to help answer doubts about the Whitewater passing game.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Warhawk coach Lance Leipold said. “There were some unknowns coming into this week with how they are going to respond, especially when you’re dealing with this age group.”
Some of the biggest questions coming into the week surrounded the Warhawk offense, which managed just six points in last week’s loss.
But the Warhawk offense clearly took that next step, compiling 465 total yards, including 306 on the ground.
“Our physicality, our get-off (the ball), and our intensity try to finish some things were a lot better and it’s a step in the right direction,” Leipold said. “And it’s the right momentum heading into conference play.”
Warhawk running back Desmin Ward got the momentum rolling in Whitewater’s favor with a 4-yard touchdown run early in the first. Ward finished with 167 yards on 21 carries.
Then following a Steven Point fumble deep in its own territory on the ensuing possession, Brekke drilled Kumerow on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Kumerow, who replaced injured All-American receiver Tyler Huber, racked up three catches for 75 yards and left his coach impressed.
“Jake is a talented kid, who impressed in fall drills while Huber was initially injured,” Leipold said. “He sort of hit a plateau when Huber returned from injury, but now he was asked to step up and played well.”
Stevens Point eventually cut the lead to 14-7 in the second on a Mitch Beau 4-yard touchdown run.
The Warhawk defense shut down the Pointer passing game from there and left it the hands of the offense.
Brekke took advantage hitting Kumerow on a 37-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter to make it 24-7.
And just like that, the defending champions looked the part once again.
Brekke capped the Warhawks opening drive of the second half with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Bernie Tamsett to make it 31-7 Whitewater.
Eric Kindler later put the finished touches on the scoring with a 35-yard field goal late in the third to build the lead to 34-7 and send the fans home on a much better note.
“We had a great week of practice this week after having too many mental mistakes last week,” Ward said. “I think we played really well today.”