WHITEWATER (WKOW) -- Ending their season at the Stagg Bowl was an annual event for the UW-Whitewater football team. The Warhawks made the trip to Salem, Virginia every December for six straight seasons, winning the DIII championship in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The Warhawks rode the nation's longest active winning streak into 2012, but in the second week of the season, Whitewater fell for the first time in 47 games. Two more losses followed and the team that had dominated the DIII football year after year, missed the postseason at 7-3.
2013 brings a new excitement to the Warhawk program. They're not necessarily out for redemption, but Whitewater is out to claim what it sets out for at the start of every new season, a WIAC Championship.
"Our standard's really been, we want to win the conference championship that's always been our focus," Whitewater head coach Lance Leipold said. "We feel so strongly about our conference. If we can win our conference we'll be in the playoffs and if we get into the playoffs we like our chances when the second season begins."
Whitewater will start junior Matt Behrendt at quarterback, who started under center in the final three games of the 2012 season after an injury to Lee Brekke. Though the team plans to rely heavily on the defense, which has a starting group of seven seniors.
"We know what it feels to have a good D and what it takes to be a good D so yeah our defense is rumbling," senior defensive end Loussaint Minett said.
The way the program explains 2012, is that it was just a stick in an incredibly successful path the team rode for six seasons. Every streak must come to an end, and for UW-Whitewater that time was last season.