UW-W Football: Warhawks Fall in First Round of Playoffs; La Crosse Also Knocked Out

By Angela Kelm
Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

Warhawk Football Falls to Aurora in First Round of NCAA Playoffs

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team fell to Aurora University 33-28 in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs Saturday.  

The Warhawks have historically been nearly unbeatable in the first round — this loss is just the second for the Warhawks in the first round of playoff action and first since 1997. However, Aurora is one of the best first round opponents UWW has faced with one of the top scoring offenses and stifling defenses in the nation.  

Aurora won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick. They marched down the field and took an early 7-0 lead following a six-play, 66-yard scoring drive that took under three minutes.  

Later in the quarter, the Warhawks responded with Evan Lewandowski capping a 91-yard drive with a punch in up the gut from three-yards out.  

The teams traded touchdowns in the second with the Spartans reclaiming the lead on a 71-yard drive before UWW came back to tie it on a Lewandowski-Drake Martin connection.  

Aurora added another score before the half, capitalizing on a 16-play, 91-yard drive to take a 21-14 lead. They held the lead the rest of the way.  

The Spartans opened up a 33-21 lead in the fourth but the Warhawks put the pressure on. Lewandowski drove UWW 73-yards on six plays with a 28-yard strike to Tyler Holte hitting paydirt to pull the Warhawks within six, 33-28 with 4:10 remaining.  

On the third play of Aurora’s next drive, Kyle Koelblinger jumped a passing lane for an interception at the Spartans’ 32-yard line. The momentum seemed to be in favor of UWW. On the Warhawks’ second play of the drive, Lewandowski had an open receiver near the endzone but his pass was a bit short in the windy conditions and an Aurora defensive back jumped the passing lane for the interception.  

With 3:37 left to play, Aurora picked up a first down and was able to run out the clock for the final.  

Tamir Thomas led UWW’s rushing attack with 81 yards on 10 carries. Lewandowski was 21-36 for 262 yards with three passing and one rushing touchdown in the contest. Steven Hein was the favorite target on the day hauling in seven catches for 119 yards.  

Defensively, Ryan Liszka posted a game-high 12 tackles including five solo and a tackle for a loss. Luke Nelson registered a sack for the Warhawks.  

UW-Whitewater ends the season with an 8-3 mark after securing a share of the program’s 39th Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title and claiming the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division III playoffs.  

 Box Score


From the La Crosse Tribune:

WAVERLY, Iowa — The wind blew punts, kicks, passes and more at Walston-Hoover Stadium on Saturday, but none blew into the sails of the UW-La Crosse football with their season on the line.

The seventh-ranked Eagles fell in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs to the 12th-ranked Wartburg Knights 14-6, ending one of the most successful seasons in recent memory for this season’s co-WIAC champions.

Six points is the fewest the Eagles (9-2) have scored in a game since Oct. 31, 2015 — scoring only three points against UW-Stevens Point — as the Knights (11-0) defense helped them advance to the second round.

For the full article click here.

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