WHITEWATER — A Whitewater win over rival UW-Oshkosh in any season is a feather in the Warhawks’ cap. Doing it in a shutout and avenging fashion — just icing on the cake.
The No. 8 Warhawks blanked the No. 10 Titans 20-0 in top-10 showdown of WIAC teams Saturday afternoon at Perkins Stadium in Whitewater.
The win avenges the Titans 37-20 victory over the Warhawks from last year.
“My biggest concern about this game was coming into it too emotional,” Whitewater head coach Kevin Bullis said. “We felt very good about our game plan, we felt very good about the players in place to execute the game plan. They handed it to us last year. It was a thorough thrashing. To be able to come back this year and not be emotional and stayed locked in on our process all week, and they did.”
The UW-W defense allowed just 18 rushing yards and 205 yards of total offense. Through five games this year, the Warhawk defense has not given up double-digits points in any contest and has pitched two shutouts.
“Everyone’s together, from the back to front,” said senior defensive lineman Harry Henschler, who recorded two sacks. “Everybody’s making plays. Everybody knows their job individually.”
Saturday’s statistics were a far cry for Oshkosh’s 2017 numbers. In last year’s Warhawk-Titan matchup, the Titans collected 589 total yards and 248 rushing yards.
“We wanted to get that one back this year,” senior linebacker Bryce Leszczynski said. “That was a good feeling.”
Offensively, Whitewater was sparked by the connection of senior quarterback Cole Wilber and sophomore wide receiver JT Parish.
Parish enjoyed a big day against the Titans with two trips to the end zone. The first touchdown gave UW-W a 10-0 lead and was an 82-yard catch and run with 7:04 in the second quarter. The second score was from 76 yards out and put the Warhawks up 20-0 with 9:58 remaining in the third quarter.
“Another thing we emphasized from last week is having big, explosive plays and really just taking it to them,” Parish said.
The two touchdowns came in similar fashion. Both times Parish ran down the right-sideline, caught the ball near midfield, and then took it to the house with blazing speed.
Parish nabbed three catches and accounted for 197 of Wilber’s 255 passing yards in the contest.
The Warhawk special teams’ unit also made its mark in the game.
The Titans faked a punt late in the first quarter in their own territory, but it was sniffed out by the Warhawk defense. Sophomore defensive lineman Mackenzie Balanganayi made the tackle on UW-O’s punter, Turner Geisthardt.
On Oshkosh’s next possession, Whitewater senior defensive back Bailey Breunig blocked Geisthardt’s punt to set up the Warhawks inside the Titans’ 10-yard line.
Sophomore kicker Wojciech Gasienica then cashed in on a 24-yard field goal to put UW-W up 3-0 early in the second quarter. Gasienica also drilled a field goal as time expired in the first half.
“The special teams were vital,” Bullis said.
Whitewater (5-0, 2-0) will look to keep the defense, offense and special teams rolling when the team takes on UW-Eau Claire (2-3, 0-2) next Saturday in Eau Claire. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
UW-WHITEWATER 20, UW-OSHKOSH 0
Titans 0 0 0 0 — 0
Warhawks 0 13 7 0 — 20
UW-W — FG Gasienica 24
UW-W — Parish 82 pass Wilber (Gasienica kick)
UW-W — FG Gasienica 27
UW-W — Parish 76 pass Wilber (Gasienica kick)
First downs — UW-O 13, UW-W 12. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — UW-O 36-18, UW-W 39-116. Passing yards — UW-O 187, UW-W 255. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — UW-O 19-37-0, UW-W 9-20-0. Fumbles-lost — UW-O 1-0, UW-W 2-0. Penalties-yards — UW-O 3-25, UW-W 2-14.
Rushing — UW-O Gerhartz 18-24, UW-W Peete 22-74. Passing — UW-O Radavich 19-37-187-0, UW-W 9-20-255-2. Receiving — UW-O Gerend 5-54, UW-W Parish 3-197.