Univ. of Mary Hardin-Baylor Hosting Warhawks in Quarterfinal on 12/7

The No. 7 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team engineered a big first half and hung on in the second half Saturday for a 41-28 triumph over Wartburg (Iowa) in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship at Perkins Stadium.

The Warhawks (11-1 overall) advance to the national quarterfinals for the 13th time in the last 15 years and will face No. 1 ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor (12-0) (Texas) next Saturday, Dec. 7, 12:00 p.m. CST at MHB in Belton, TX.

UW-Whitewater held Wartburg (10-2) to 32 yards rushing and forced five turnovers in the contest.

Senior running back Jarrod Ware (Bradley, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) rushed for 58 yards, and junior tight end Jared Zausch (Saukville, Wis./Ozaukee) posted four receptions for 41 yards. Senior running back Ronny Ponick (Stanley, Wis./Stanley-Boyd) rushed for 31 yards and one touchdown and caught a 12-yard touchdown.

Senior linebacker Matt Anderson (Rockford, Ill./Lutheran) tallied a team-high eight tackles, including one sack, and one interception. Junior linebacker Kaleb Kaminski (Tomahawk, Wis./Tomahawk) registered four tackles, including one for a loss, and added one forced fumble and two interceptions.

The Warhawks’ special teams made several big plays during the game, including a punt return for a touchdown, five kickoff returns for 146 yards, two made field goals and five punts for an average of 41.6 yards, including three inside the Knights’ 20-yard line.

Senior defensive back Garrett Purdy (Naperville, Ill./Central) posted an interception on Wartburg’s first drive of the game, and UW-Whitewater took advantage of the good field position.

Five plays after a 26-yard completion from junior quarterback Max Meylor (Mt. Horeb, Wis./Mt. Horeb) to junior wide receiver Derek Kumerow (Bartlett, Ill./South Elgin), junior running back Alex Peete (Ringwood, Ill./Johnsburg) dove over the pile at the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown with 9:17 on the clock.

The Warhawks doubled the lead two minutes later, taking advantage of a forced fumble by Kaminski. Ware ran down to the Knights’ 12-yard line, and Ponick caught a screen pass for a 12-yard score.

After a three-and-out, UW-Whitewater added to its lead on a 36-yard field goal by junior kicker Wojciech Gasienica (Norridge, Ill./Ridgewood) with 2:37 to play in the first quarter.

After a Wartburg touchdown, the Warhawks responded. Junior wide receiver Ryan Wisniewski (Sparta, Wis./Sparta) returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards, then threw a 26-yard pass to Zausch on a reverse pass. Three plays later, Meylor ran around the right side for a 4-yard touchdown at the 11:32 mark.

Following a three-and-out by the Knights, senior Justin Prostinak (Milwaukee, Wis./Lake Country Lutheran) went untouched on the punt return 67 yards for the touchdown and a 31-7 advantage with 9:21 remaining in the first half.

UW-Whitewater was the first on the board in the third quarter as Gasienica knocked a 27-yard field goal through the uprights with 9:50 to play. The drive was keyed by Wisniewski’s 38-yard return to near midfield.

Wartburg scored on the next drive to cut its deficit to 34-14, but the Warhawks took advantage of strong field position again later in the quarter. Three plays after a key third-down completion from Meylor to sophomore wide receiver Tyler Holte (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward Central Catholic), Ponick pushed up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown and a 41-14 lead with 2:27 left in the period.

The Knights tacked on touchdowns on their next two drives and had the ball in UW-W territory just past the midway point of the fourth quarter, but Kaminski picked off Noah Dodd at the Warhawks’ 27-yard line.

After a UW-Whitewater punt to the Wartburg 9-yard line, Kaminski registered his second interception of the quarter and returned it to the Knights’ 14-yard line. From there, the Warhawks knelt out the final two minutes of regulation.

Next Saturday’s game against Mary Hardin-Baylor is a rematch of the 2018 national semifinal, which the Crusaders won 31-14 in Belton, Texas.
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Team Statistics

Total Yards382236
Pass Yards350101
Rushing Yards32135
Penalty Yards2-203-40
1st Downs2312
3rd Downs10-165-14
4th Downs0-11-1
09:17 – UWW – Alex Peete 1 yd run (W. Gasienica kick), 8 plays, 43 yards, TOP 3:4307
07:12 – UWW – Ronny Ponick 12 yd pass from Max Meylor (W. Gasienica kick) 4 plays, 31 yards, TOP 1:52014
02:37 – UWW – W. Gasienica 36 yd field goal 8 plays, 20 yards, TOP 4:07017
13:12 – WARFB – Brandan Childs 25 yd pass from Noah Dodd (Kain Eagle kick) 10 plays, 85 yards, TOP 4:21717
11:32 – UWW – Max Meylor 4 yd run (W. Gasienica kick), 4 plays, 40 yards, TOP 1:29724
09:21 – UWW – J. Prostinak 67 yd punt return (W. Gasienica kick)731
09:50 – UWW – W. Gasienica 27 yd field goal 9 plays, 39 yards, TOP 5:03734
08:26 – WARFB – Kolin Schulte 22 yd pass from Brandan Childs (Kain Eagle kick) 4 plays, 48 yards, TOP 1:181434
02:27 – UWW – Ronny Ponick 1 yd run (W. Gasienica kick), 6 plays, 44 yards, TOP 3:061441
00:11 – WARFB – Kolin Schulte 9 yd pass from Noah Dodd (Kain Eagle kick) 8 plays, 57 yards, TOP 2:102141
09:33 – WARFB – Lee Bonifas 12 yd pass from Noah Dodd (Kain Eagle kick) 11 plays, 84 yards, TOP 4:112841

Game Leaders

Choose a category:         Passing Leaders         Rushing Leaders         Receiving Leaders         Defense Leaders     


#7 Max Meylor

  • CMP 11
  • TD 1
  • YDS 75
  • INT 1

#6 Ryan Wisniewski

  • CMP 1
  • TD 0
  • YDS 26
  • INT 0

Players Mentioned

#56 Matt Anderson

LB 6′ 0″ 230 lbs Senior

#9 Wojciech Gasienica

K 5′ 9″ 175 lbs Junior

#18 Tyler Holte

WR 5′ 10″ 180 lbs Sophomore

#13 Kaleb Kaminski

LB 6′ 0″ 225 lbs Junior

#1 Derek Kumerow

WR 6′ 2″ 200 lbs Junior

#23 Alex Peete

RB 5′ 8″ 205 lbs Junior

#2 Ronny Ponick

RB 5′ 8″ 200 lbs Senior

#30 Justin Prostinak

WR 5′ 8″ 185 lbs Senior

#4 Garrett Purdy

DB 6′ 0″ 200 lbs Senior

#9 Jarrod Ware

RB 5′ 10″ 195 lbs Senior



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