D-III: Wis-Whitewater 13, Mount Union 3

Levell Coppage didn’t have to be superman this time for


The defense had that covered, and even set up Coppage to grab

some glory, too.

Coppage scored on a 1-yard run set up by the defense and the

Warhawks won their third consecutive Division III national

championship, and fourth in five years, beating Mount Union 13-10

on Friday night in the seventh consecutive title game meeting

between the schools.

”Easiest touchdown in my life, and I even got in there

untouched,” Coppage said about the run with 4:02 left in the third

quarter. It gave the Warhawks a 10-0 lead, and the defense did the


The victory was the 45th in a row for Whitewater (15-0), which

hasn’t lost since Mount Union beat them in the 2008 Amos Alonzo

Stagg Bowl. The Purple Raiders finished 14-1.

Mount Union has won 10 national titles in the last 16 years, and

once seemed to be the untouchable goliath atop the Division III

game, but the Warhawks have taken aim, if not the mantle.

”A lot of guys that I see around us are hungry,” Coppage said,

”and we’re going be whatever it takes to be the face of D-III. …

It’s just amazing to get here and do the things that we’ve been


Mount Union coach Larry Kehres, who lost for just the 24th time

in 26 seasons – his career record is 317-24-3 – said he couldn’t

think of anything to tell his team after the game. He said that

even when the Purple Raiders were winning everything, he never felt

that they were untouchable.

Whitewater, though, is approaching that level.

”Until somebody beats them, they’re untouchable,” Kehres


Coppage, the most outstanding player of the past two title

games, wasn’t nearly as dominant, but cashed in on his most

important opportunity after defensive end Loussaint Minett forced a

fumble and the Warhawks recovered it at the Mount Union 1. Coppage

took it in on the next play.

It was his seventh TD in the last three title games. He finished

with 91 yards on 32 carries, a far cry from his 299 yards rushing

and three touchdowns last season, but still enough.

The Purple Raiders, who had only 77 yards of offense at that

point, answered with a 71-yard drive, but had to settle for a

19-yard field goal when they couldn’t punch it in.

Whitewater answered that with Eric Kindler’s 30-yard field goal

with 5:34 to play, making it a two-score game again, but the team

from Alliance, Ohio, replied again.

This time, an eight-play, 72-yard drive ended with Matt Piloto’s

8-yard scoring pass to A.J. Claycomb with 3:20 to play, giving the

Purple Raiders a chance to hold on defense and score.

They held on defense, but then so did the Warhawks, stopping

Chris Denton after a fourth-down catch to win the closest Stagg

Bowl since Mount Union beat Bridgewater 30-27 in 2001.

The Warhawks’ defense was clearly the star of the night, setting

up Whitewater’s lone TD by sacking Piloto twice in three plays

after the Purple Raiders got the ball at their 16.

The first sack, by Ryan Cortez, was for minus 11 yards. On the

second, Minett stripped the ball away as Piloto was in the grasp of

two other Warhawks and Cole Klotz recovered at the 1. Minett was

honored as the game’s most outstanding player.

”I chased him down and ripped it out,” the sophomore said.

”It was a great feeling.”

Especially when, on the next play, Coppage scored, boosting

Whitewater’s lead to 10-0.

The Purple Raiders responded with a 16-play drive, and had a

first-and-goal at the 6. Jeremy Murray went for 3 yards on first

down, and 2 more on second, but lost a yard on third down and

Kehres settled for Tyler Almeida’s 19-yard field goal, making it


Earlier, the Warhawks seemed in complete control, but without

much to show for it.

Whitewater drove into Mount Union territory on each of its first

three drives, and came away with something the third time, helped

by a 15-yard pass interference call against Chaz Jordan. That put

the ball at the 32, and when the drive stalled, Kindler kicked a

45-yard field goal.

The Purple Raiders responded by driving into Whitewater

territory for the first time on their next possession, but Piloto’s

pass was intercepted by Chris Pendergast from the Warhawks 30. It

was one of two interceptions thrown by Piloto, who was 21 for 38

for 177 yards

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