By: Aaron Morse 9/29/2022
The Eagles have built their program back up over the years for a matchup exactly like this. Last season, they made huge progress. It was their most wins since 2006 (9) and made their first playoff appearance and collected their first playoff win since that same 2006 season, they scored 58 points in that game (most in program history for a playoff game), and finished 11th in the D3 rankings. The end to their season? A 34-20 loss to the top team in the country.
They return nine All-Conference players, including three first-teamers, and were ranked tenth in the preseason rankings picked to finish second in the WIAC. Needless to say, there are high expectations for UWL this season.
Of course, the team picked ahead of them in the WIAC is perennial powerhouse, UW-Whitewater. UWL has never beat the Warhawks (0-8) and average just over eleven points per game. But, the Eagles are closing the gap losing the last two matchups by four and six points. Last year’s game saw UWL drive 77 yards in just over two minutes but ran out of time 18 yards away from winning the game. Point is, it has been close. The Eagles know. The Warhawks know it. And everyone knows this is a chance for the Eagles to prove they are a real threat to win the National Championship. UWL Head Coach Matt Janus knows that turns that from an important game to a program-changing game:
He is not worried, though. He knows his guys are ready for the challenge:
He also knows Whitewater is a different animal and they have to be ready for the best offense and defense they will see all season long:
UWL runs a true dual-quarterback system, something that hardly ever works at any level of football. Hence the saying, if you have two quarterbacks, you actually have none.” But the Eagles have made it work and work well. Here is one of those quarterbacks, Keyser Helterbrand on the system:
Whitewater’s history of success is not lost among the UWL locker room, which Keyser says makes it more exciting:
So how does a team that clearly is talented enough and well-coached get over the hump and finally beat a Warhawks team that has been a thorn in the side of nearly every team in Division 3 for years? Helterbrand shares:
With a win, UWL will take its #8 ranking and move into the top-five in the entire country. Talk about a program-changing victory.
If you would like to listen to the full interviews with Head Coach Matt Janus and/or BOTH UWL quarterbacks, go to our podcasts page!