Friday, September 6, 2019

Metamora's Stott Earns Spot on 2019 UW-Whitewater Football Roster

Metamora's Stott Earns Spot on 2019 UW-Whitewater Football Roster, Metamora Herald


WHITEWATER, WI (09/05/2019)-- Merritt Stott, a native of Metamora, IL, and graduate of Metamora Township High School, will compete for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team during the 2019 season, which begins this Saturday.

Stott, a senior at UW-Whitewater, is majoring in Finance.

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team begins its 2019 season next week as it seeks an unprecedented 37th Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.

The Warhawks earned conference title No. 36 last season - the program's 11th in the last 14 years - after completing a 10-0 regular season. The team reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Playoffs before falling at eventual national champion Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) to finish the year with a 13-1 record.

UW-Whitewater is ranked fourth by D3football.com and is the favorite of WIAC coaches and athletic communications personnel to repeat as conference champion.

UW-Whitewater begins the new campaign next Saturday, Sept. 7, by hosting Dubuque (Iowa) at 2 p.m. A free concert featuring national recording artist Jesse McCartney will take place across the street from Perkins Stadium starting at 12 p.m. The team will also honor its seniors on the field approximately 30 minutes prior to kickoff.

The Warhawks close the non-conference slate with back-to-back road games, visiting Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) on Sept. 14 at 12 p.m. and St. Xavier, an NAIA opponent from Chicgao, on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.

Following a bye week, the WIAC season starts with consecutive home games. UW-Whitewater welcomes UW-Eau Claire to Perkins Stadium on Oct. 5 for a 2 p.m. kickoff as part of Family Fest on campus. The team hosts UW-Platteville on Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. for Homecoming and Hall of Fame Day.

The Warhawks travel to UW-Stevens Point (Oct. 19) and UW-River Falls (Oct. 26) before returning home Nov. 2 to take on UW-La Crosse. The team closes out the regular season by hosting UW-Stout on Shriners' Day (Nov. 9) and by heading to UW-Oshkosh on Nov. 16.

Head coach Kevin Bullis, who enters his fifth season at the helm, returns nine of 11 starters on offense, three starters on defense and both specialists.

OFFENSE

UW-Whitewater returns four of its five starters on the offensive line in 2019, including seniors Matthew Saager (Lodi, Wis./Lodi), Bryan Behrendt (Westchester, Ill./Nazareth Academy), juniors Kyle Gannon (Waukesha, Wis./West) and Quinn Meinerz (Hartford, Wis./Hartford Union).

Meinerz, a 2019 D3football.com second-team Preseason All-American, was named first-team All-WIAC and second-team All-West Region in 2018. Saager and Gannon were each selected second-team all-conference last season.

Senior Julio Perez (Watertown, Wis./Kettle Moraine) and junior Jared Zausch (Saukville, Wis./Ozaukee) also return at the line of scrimmage as tight ends. Zausch caught five passes for 50 yards, and Perez caught one touchdown last fall.

Junior Alex Peete (Ringwood, Ill./Johnsburg), a D3football.com first-team Preseason All-American, spearheads a deep group in the backfield. Peete garnered second-team All-America, first-team All-Region and first-team All-WIAC accolades in 2018 after rushing for 1,368 yards and 22 touchdowns. He is joined by senior Ronny Ponick (Stanley, Wis./Stanley-Boyd), the team's second-leading rusher last fall with 890 yards (6.4 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns.

Senior Jarrod Ware (Bradley, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais), who was granted a medical hardship last year, returns to the backfield after his role as a wide receiver in 2017. He has rushed for more than 1,000 yards during his career. Junior Preston Strasburg (Fort Atkinson, Wis./Fort Atkinson), who totaled 285 yards and one score, also returns.

Juniors JT Parish (Cambridge, Wis./Cambridge) and Ryan Wisniewski (Sparta, Wis./Sparta) return as starters at wide receiver. Parish earned first team All-WIAC honors in 2018 after posting 25 receptions for 576 yards and seven touchdowns, while Wisniewski was named to the second team after collecting 36 receptions for 696 yards and eight touchdowns through the air and 337 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Other returners at wide receiver include junior Derek Kumerow (Bartlett, Ill./South Elgin), who finished with 10 receptions for 102 yards and one score, and senior Nathaniel Osterloo (Mt. Horeb, Wis./Mt. Horeb), who tallied nine receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown.

The Warhawks look to replace three-year starter Cole Wilber (Mission Viejo, Calif./Dana Hills) at quarterback. Junior Zach Oles (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) is the lone returner under center, passing for 268 yards and five touchdowns last fall.

Meinerz and Ponick will serve as two of the team's four captains.

DEFENSE

UW-Whitewater returns several experienced defensive linemen despite losing all four 2018 starters due to graduation. Seniors Jordan Brand (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita), Justin Hansen (Beloit, Wis./Turner), Vince Klim (Bettendorf, Iowa/Bettendorf), D'Angelo Lux (Paris, Wis./Westosha Central) and Merritt Stott (Metamora, Ill./Metamora Township) are among returners.

Brand was selected second-team All-WIAC last season after recording 25 tackles, including three for a loss and one sack, and one fumble recovery. Hansen garnered honorable mention after registering 23 tackles, including 6.5 for a loss and three sacks, and recovering two fumbles.

Junior Mackenzie Balanganayi (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) finished last season with 25 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss and 4.0 sacks. Klim and Stott combined for 26 tackles, and Lux appeared in eight games.

Senior Jacob Erbs (Reedsburg, Wis./Reedsburg) leads the linebacker corps. He led the team with 75 tackles, including 10 for a loss, and added two forced fumbles in 2018 on his way to second-team all-league accolades. Senior Matt Anderson (Rockford, Ill./Lutheran) and junior Kaleb Kaminski (Tomahawk, Wis./Tomahawk) also played key roles. Anderson finished third on the team with 58 tackles and was strong against the pass, totaling one interception and four pass breakups. Kaminski finished with 27 stops, including 3.5 for a loss.

Senior Graham Hevel (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) registered 27 tackles, including 2.0 sacks.

Senior Nate Tranel (Lancaster, Wis./Lancaster) and junior Garrett Purdy (Naperville, Ill./Central) return as starters in the defensive backfield. Tranel, a second-team All-WIAC pick, led all defensive backs in 2018 with 48 tackles to go along with six pass breakups, one interception, and two fumble recoveries. Purdy, who also earned second-team all-conference honors, totaled 41 tackles, one interception, and eight breakups.

Senior Jacob Frey (Milwaukee, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran HS) recorded 32 tackles, two interceptions, and five breakups, and junior Mark McGrath (Lisle, Ill./Lisle) tied for the team lead with three interceptions and added 36 tackles. Junior Tommy Matoska (Pleasant Prairie, Wis./Kenosha Tremper) played in 13 games and collected 10 tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Warhawks return junior kicker Wojciech Gasienica (Norridge, Ill./Ridgewood), who was one of 10 national finalists for the Fred Mitchell Award in 2018. The honorable mention all-conference selection totaled 116 points on 16-of-22 field goals and 68-of-72 extra points.

Senior punter Andy Cooper (Munising, Mich./Munising) averaged 38.4 yards per punt last season, tied for the ninth-highest average in one season in program history. Cooper also handled kickoffs in 2018, averaging 54.7 yards and putting 11 in the end zone for touchbacks.

Senior Justin Prostinak (Milwaukee, Wis./Lake Country Lutheran) was named honorable mention All-America and first-team All-West Region by D3football.com and first-team All-WIAC last season after a breakout season on special teams. In addition to his 12 tackles, Prostinak finished with 303 return yards, including 266 on kickoffs.

Senior Josh Ringelberg (Greendale, Wis./Greendale), a two-time honorable mention All-WIAC selection, led the team in return yardage last season with 566 yards, including 233 on punt returns.

For more than 150 years, UW-Whitewater has provided students with education and training to begin their careers with a solid foundation behind them. The UW-Whitewater is committed to the development of the individual, the growth of personal and professional integrity and respect for diversity and global perspectives. These are met by providing academic and co-curricular programs that emphasize the pursuit of knowledge and understanding and a commitment to service within a safe and secure environment.

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