UWL football team ranked ninth in the Nation after defeating UW-Eau Clair 51-21


Veterans Memorial Stadium Hall of Honor. Photo taken by Gianna Fussell.

This past weekend, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Football Team beat the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds with a final score of 51-21 at Carson Park. The UWL Football Team now has a 5-1 record this season, only losing to UW-Whitewater in a 31-34 point game.

In the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), UWL is now ranked with a 2-1 record. For more information, please visit the UWL Football website. UWL Football is also ranked ninth in the nation according to D3football.com.

The season started in August with two weeks of fall camp. The Eagles practice every day with two meetings a week. Practices start around 3:30 p.m. and end around 5:30 p.m., with a shorter practice on Wednesdays. During their Monday night meeting, the team scouts the team they will be playing in the next game. During their Friday night meeting, the team prepares for their next game.

Following the regular season, the team that has the best record through the conference schedule is named the conference champion. The team at the top of the WIAC automatically plays in the playoffs, with an at-large bid for other teams to go to the playoffs, as well.

Matt Janus is in his sixth season coaching at UWL. He started as the defensive coordinator at UWL, and after the head coach left, Janus took over the position. “Always a dream for me to coach in this league. I love our conference. I love what this conference is about,” said Janus.

Janus said that he starts practice by asking the players why they are there and then what they are pursuing. “It’s about 34 and four. Our 34th conference title and our fourth national championship. We have a tremendously rich history here within our football program at UW-La Crosse, and so everything that we’re trying to obtain, whether it’s on the field, in the weight room, at meetings, is for those two numbers,” Janus said.

On Saturday’s game, wide receiver Max Stubbendick scored the first touchdown of the game from a pass made by quarterback Cade Garcia. Kicker Ryan Beirne solidified the 7-0 lead with the extra point. By the end of the first quarter, the Eagles had a 14-0 lead, with a one-yard touchdown run made by running back Joey Stutzman and a kick from Beirne.

The Eagles led the entire game. In the second quarter, Stutzman scored a second touchdown. Beirne missed the kick and the Eagles led 20-0. The Blugolds scored their first touchdown with 12:33 remaining in the second quarter. With 7:05 remaining in the second quarter, quarterback Keyser Helterbrand threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cameron Sorenson, to further the Eagle’s lead 27-7, with a kick from Beirne.

Cade Garcia and Keyser Helterbrand have a two-quarterback system for the Eagles and they alternate depending on the play. Helterbrand said, “Me and Cade have been switching every possession throughout the game. He’ll start the game and then I’ll come in. Every single time we get the ball on offense we’ll switch.”

Helterbrand also said how he and Garcia are different players. “I think we do that because me and Cade are really different players and he can provide us with a little more passing attack and I provide a little more with my athleticism and ability to run the ball,” said Helterbrand.

To start the second half, Helterbrand himself scored a touchdown, taking the lead to 34-7. With 1:49 left in the third quarter, Beirne scored a 20-yard field goal to make the score 37-7. The Blugolds scored their second touchdown with 0:02 left in the third quarter, bringing the score to 37-14.

The Eagles scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Running back Brant Bohman scored on an 11-yard run, and Beirne made the kick. The score was 44-14 when the Blugolds scored one last touchdown, making the score 44-21. With 4:40 left in the last quarter, Helterbrand made a three-yard run to score. Beirne made the kick, making the final score 51-21.

Senior and defensive lineman Josh Dorschner said that the team culture and comradery are some of the strengths of the team. “I think we’re really close as a team. Since we have a lot of seniors we have a lot of really good leadership and everything. I think we have a really good vision of where we want to be and how we want to do it. I think just how we’re setting up, how we’re preparing, I think everything looks really good. I think our whole team is really good. We mesh really well together,” said Dorschner.

Janus said that he hopes his athletes get more than just the football experience at UWL, but rather the full college experience. Janus said, “I’m a huge believer in the years that you guys are a part of in these college years. I think they’re so special. I think they’re so meaningful. I think they’re so impactful. To me, the college experience is about your development, your involvement, it’s about your interaction.” Janus also said, “I hope they get a ton out of our football program, but I hope they get so much more than that. I hope they get what La Crosse has to offer.”

The full box score from Saturday’s game can be found here. The Eagles play at 1 p.m. next Saturday, Oct. 22, versus UW-Stevens Point at Veterans Memorial Stadium Hall of Honor.