UW-Whitewater Warhawks to face No. 21 Franklin
In its quest for a third straight NCAA Division III title, UW-Whitewater’s football team may not face a stiffer test than Saturday’s trip to Franklin College in Indiana.
Top-ranked Whitewater, which has won 31 straight games, will be facing a Franklin team that is ranked 21st and opened the season with an impressive 49-35 win over Valparaiso University.
Whitewater coach Lance Leipold, whose team pulled away for a 52-21 win over Franklin in the first round of the playoffs last season, knows the Grizzlies are a formidable opponent—especially on their home field.
“We’re very familiar with them and what they’re capable of doing offensively,” Leipold said. “This is going to be a big test for our defense.
“And it’s never easy going on the road. It takes you out of your routine.”
The Warhawks opened the season with a 26-7 nonconference win at UW-La Crosse. Eric Kindler was the offensive star for Whitewater. The sophomore place-kicker made four field goals and was named the WIAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Leipold was pleased to get the season off to a good start, but was quick to point out that his team has a lot to work on in preparation for the Grizzlies.
“The first thing that stood out on tape was that we went down and scored on our opening drive,” Leipold said. “But we ended up with four field goals, and we would like to make those three points, seven points.
“We had nine penalties, and a couple of them were unforced. We did some silly things that can be easily cleaned up with better attention to detail.”
Levell Coppage, Whitewater’s All-America running back, picked up where he left off last season, rushing for 108 yards. The Warhawks’ defense held La Crosse to nine first downs and only 119 yards of total offense.
The Grizzlies spread the wealth in their win over Valparaiso. Franklin rushed the ball 46 times for 221 yards, while sophomore quarterback Jonny West completed 32-of-51 passes for 448 yards as the offense erupted for 669 total yards.