By Angela Kelm
Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
The No. 5 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs with a 42-14 win over Bethel University at Perkins Stadium Saturday.
The Warhawks advance to face Wheaton (IL) in the second round. That game is slated for Saturday, November 25 at noon. The location is set to be announced Sunday afternoon. The Thunder defeated Mount St. Joseph 41-34 in their first round matchup Saturday.
UW-Whitewater scored early and never looked back. After the Warhawk defense forced a third-and-out, UWW had great field position with Tyler Vasey (Crystal Lake, Ill/Prairie Ridge) calling for a fair catch at the UWW 48 on the Royals’ punt. Facing a third and seven from the Bethel 49, Alec Ogden (Marshall, Wis./Monona Grove) dropped back, surveyed and found Steven Hein (St. Charles, Ill./North) in stride beating his defender down the right sideline for a 49-yard touchdown. Jeff Isotalo-McGuire sent the extra point through the uprights and the Warhawks held a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
Following three consecutive punts – two for Bethel and one for the Warhawks – UWW took over at their own 32 with just under five to go in the first quarter. Ogden opened the drive with a 34-yard scamper off the right side of the line. Two plays later, he extended the play and dodging defenders before hitting Nick Wind (Downers Grove, Ill./Montini Catholic) wide open in the end zone from 32 yards out. Another extra point had UW-Whitewater leading 14-0.
The Warhawk defense turned Bethel over on downs at the UWW 34 to bring the offense back on to the field. Ogden took off finding space down the right side once again, this time registering a 47-yard run to open the drive. On the next play, Tommy Coates (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle Institute) hauled in a great catch in the end zone from 19-yards out for the score and a 21-0 UWW lead.
Bethel capitalized on a Warhawk miscue for their first score of the game. A bad snap on a punt gave the Royals the ball at the UWW four-yard line. Bethel punched it in utilizing the wildcat formation to make it 21-7.
The Warhawks responded with Vasey weaving through traffic on the kickoff for a 39-yard return to set up the UWW offense at their own 42. After a few short gains, Ogden hit Coates on the tunnel screen, and he bolted up the near sideline for a 54-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 28-7.
UW-Whitewater scored on their first possession out of the intermission on Tamir Thomas’ (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) two-yard run. The Royals added to their total with their own two-yard punch in to make it 35-14 in the third. UWW wrapped up the scoring with a single touchdown in the fourth – a 32-yard Thomas run up the middle.
Ogden was 11-15 for 218 yards and four touchdowns. He added 71 yards on the six carries. Hein and Drake Martin (Rhinelander, Wis./Rhinelander) were the top targets with three catches each and a combined 109 yards receiving. Thomas led UWW in the rushing game with 156 yards on 13 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively, Hawk Heffner (Grafton, Wis./Grafton) paced the Warhawks with nine tackles. Matt Burba (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Huntley) added eight including a tackle for a loss of three yards. In the secondary, Egon Hein (St. Charles, Ill./North) was one of the most active breaking up three passes that would have gone for big gains.