Wow. I figured Mount Union and St. Thomas would beat their respective opponents, but I never figured they’d do it so easily. Yet, here we are. Let’s do this thing! Also, if you’re interested in St. Thomas vs Linfield, we recapped that as well.
BR-2 Mount Union 36, BR-3 Wis.-Whitewater 6
Not to sound blasé about the whole thing, but there’s not much to discuss when it comes to the Raiders shellacking of the Warhawks. I’ve talked all year about Whitewater’s offensive woes, but I thought the defense was tough enough to hang with Mount Union; or at least keep it close.
As Obi-Won would say, “I was wrong.”
The Raiders embarrassed a very good Warhawks squad; a team that averaged 42 points per game over its last eight games, and holding opponents to just 12 ppg during that same span; a team just one year removed from winning a second-consecutive championship … Hell, Whitewater put up 31 points against a ferocious Wis.-Oshkosh defense, and in turn held the Titans to just 29.
Yet, after one quarter of play, Mount Union had already put up two touchdowns. The first was a 31-yard TD pass from Taurice Scott to Roman Namdar at the 2:01 mark that put the Raiders on top for good, 7-6. The second came on the ensuing possession (after Warhawks QB Chris Nelson threw an interception and set the Raiders up at the Whitewater 24): on 2nd and goal on the one-yard line, after a series of Logan Nemeth runs, Scott rushed in the one-yard score to put the Raiders up 15-6.
The score remained 15-6 through halftime.
In the third period, on its second possession, Mount Union put together an 11 play, 80-yard drive that cumulated with Nemeth punching in a four-yard teeder at the 5:36 mark.
The Raiders defense forced a Whitewater punt to set the offense up at their own 34. Scott and Nemeth took turns rushing and eventually drove their team to the Whitewater 24. From there, Scott completed an 18 yard touchdown pass to Tim Kennedy and the rout was on — 29-6.
Mount Union scored once more in the fourth quarter on a six-yard rushing touchdown by Nemeth for the final 36-6 result.
All told, the Raiders put up 441 yards of offense against Whitewater’s stout defense. Scott completed 12-of-19 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns and added 45 rushing yards and another teeder on the ground.
Nemeth was a monster! The 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior pounded the Warhawks defensive line for 214 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on 32 attempts. Wow.
Receivers Tim Kennedy and Roman Namdar pulled down five and three catches apiece for 106 total yards and two touchdowns.
The Warhawks scored field goals on their first two opening drives, accumulating 124 yards of offense in the process, but mustered zero points and just 129 offensive yards the rest of the game. Nelson went 13-of-23 for 147 yards, no scores and two interceptions, while running back Jordan Ratliffe managed 99 yards on 24 carries.
Defensively, the Raiders managed three sacks for 21 yards and three interceptions (the third coming against backup QB Cole Wilber) for 36 yards. Durum Alarms and Tom Lally recorded the sacks, while Mike Furda, Will Hiteshue and Brian Groves each pulled down an interception.
Hank Spencer and Alex Kocheff led the team in tackled with 10 apiece.
Don’t feel too bad for the Warhawks. The team has six championships since 2007 and has lost just two games in three years. Despite losing longtime head coach Lance Leipold and starting QB Matt Behrendt in the offseason, the team was still just one win away from making its 10th title appearance in 11 years.
Still, Mount Union reigned supreme, as it has all season long. The team lost QB legend and two-time Gagliardi Trophy winner Kevin Burke in the offseason and rolled the dice on Scott, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior from Alliance, Oregon who had spent most of his career as a receiver.
In 2014, Scott had 82 catches for 1,112 yards and 12 touchdowns. This season he’s (so far) completed 210-of-319 passes for 3,004 yards and 39 touchdowns and an additional 800 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. He’s a regular Russell “Freaking” Wilson!
Credit must also be given to Nemeth, who really turned up his game in the playoffs. During the first nine regular season games, Nemeth accrued “just” 808 total rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. In the last five games (including the playoffs) … 929 yards and 10 touchdowns. Dayum.
Now it’s time to see if the Raiders can hold off St. Thomas and earn their first Stagg Bowl title since 2012 … when they beat St. Thomas in the big game 28-10.
The two teams will square off on Star Wars day—er—Dec. 18 at 7:05 pm. Not 7:06. 7:05.