WARHAWKS SHUT OUT EAU CLAIRE 63-0
All week the coaching staff emphasized the importance of “finishing” as the Warhawks prepared for Saturday’s homecoming game against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. They finished all right. Boy did they finish. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.” Bullis told a happy 5th Quarter crowd of Warhawks and supporters after the game. “We challenged them to finish. By finish we mean finishing blocks, finishing tackles, and finishing drives. They responded beautifully.” The Warhawks outgained the Blugolds in yardage 582 to 159.
All three phases of the team contributed to the overwhelming victory. After the defense forced a punt on Eau Claire’s opening possession, Jordan Gruettner blocked the ensuing punt, giving the ball to the Hawks offense at the Blugold nine yard line. It took two plays to score as QB Chris Nelson tossed his first of four TD passes and Marcus Hudson caught his first of two, giving the Warhawks an early 7-0 lead. In all, Nelson completed 11 of 14 passes for 291 yards and the four touchdowns. Hudson caught five passes for 152 yards and the two touchdowns. Jordan Ratliffe led the Hawks in rushing with 82 yards in 10 attempts and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Whitewater pitched its first shutout of the year. The Warhawks limited Eau Claire to only 39 yards passing. Justin Dischler and Kyle Schiedemeyer lead the defense with six tackles each. Dischler, John Flood, Andrew Mulshine, and Zach Franz each recorded sacks. Vince Mason intercepted his fourth pass of the year.
While Saturday’s victory was a complete team effort, Coach Bullis did recognize one group of players that deserved some special recognition. “Our seniors deserve a lot of credit for being where we are as a team today. Three weeks ago we lost a game. The seniors have done a fantastic job of leading through the adversity to the point we are now.”
The Warhawks played up-tempo most of the afternoon and the results were spectacular. Coach Bullis said in his weekly media conference call last week that an up-tempo offense is part of the identity of the 2015 Warhawks. “In the fourth quarter against Stevens Point, we had a drive that, in a traditional sense, would have been a time teams may try to work the clock. We made a decision to go up-tempo. The guys made it pay off when they drove to a touchdown. As we evaluate, the guys like playing that way and they are obviously good at it. You will see quite a bit of it moving forward,” said the Warhawk Head Coach. Eau Claire saw plenty of it on Saturday. Next up for the Warhawks is a trip to River Falls. Last year, the Falcons threw a scare into the Warhawks as they scored with 1:20 left in the game to take a 25-21 lead. The Warhawks scored with 26 seconds remaining to take back the victory 28-15.