Seven UW-W Football Players Earn All-Region Honors

By Angela Kelm
Asst. Athletic Director for Sports Information

Seven Warhawk football players represent the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on the 2023 All-Region 6 teams announced by Wednesday. UW-Whitewater’s contingent consists of five First Team selections, one Second Team honoree and a Third Team pick. 

Senior defensive back Egon Hein became a three-time All-Region selection with First Team honors this season. A two-year team captain, Hein is a semifinalist for the 2023 Gagliardi Trophy and William V. Campbell Trophy. The First Team All-WIAC pick returned from injury to appear in seven contests. A lockdown defender frequently tasked with shutting down top receivers, Hein registered 22.0 tackles including 2.5 for losses while adding a pair of interceptions and five pass breakups this season.

Also representing the Warhawk defense with First Team honors this season, linebacker Joey Antonietti received his first All-Region nod. The sophomore led UWW in total tackles (90) and interceptions (4) while adding 5.5 tackles for a loss on the season. He ranked among the top ten in the WIAC in interceptions per game and tackles per game in 10 regular season contests.

Tamir Thomas was one of the top running backs in the nation all season. Through regular season games, Thomas ranked eighth in rush yards per carry (7.29) in Division III. In 10 games this season, Thomas averaged just under 100 yards per game, adding 12 rushing touchdowns including an 85-yarder. He added 75 yards on seven receptions with one receiving touchdown. On average, Thomas was responsible for 7.8 points per game in the regular season. The junior became the third fastest Warhawk back to reach 1,000 rushing yards hitting the milestone on his 139th carry (11th game this season) – the fastest since 1997 for UWW.  

Bolstering the Warhawks’ lucrative run game were offensive guard Alex Pethan and center John Pekar – both were First Team All-Region 6 selections this season. The pair helped UWW post phenomenal numbers in the ground game with 2,595 rushing yards, averaging six yards per carry for the regular season. In 706 drop backs, Pethan and Pekar combined to allow just one sack. Through the 10-game regular season slate, UW-Whitewater led the WIAC and ranked eighth nationally in rushing offense (259.5 yards per game). UWW also led the WIAC in fewest sacks allowed (.90 per game) while holding second in total offense (464.4 yards per game). In conference contests only, the Warhawks averaged 1.7 yards more per carry and had 528 more rushing yards than any other team. 

Matt Burba, a junior defensive tackle, earned Second Team All-Region 6 honors this season. In 10 games played, Burba registered 30 tackles including 7 for losses. He added 2.5 sacks for a total loss of 33 yards while forcing one fumble on the season. The 2023 First Team All-WIAC selection helped lead the league’s top defensive team (293.1 yards per game allowed), top scoring defense (18.0 points allowed per game) and best fourth-down defense (36.8 conversion percentage). 

Mason Stepanski added Third Team All-Region 6 honors for special teams play. The sophomore was a Second Team All-WIAC pick this season. Stepanski tallied 27 tackles, the majority coming on special teams coverage. He helped lead the WIAC’s third-best kickoff return defense (16.22 yards per return allowed). 

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