UW–Stout Hangs with Conference Champs

Logan Myhre-

The UWStout football team has had a bit of a rough year, but they were looking to go out with a bang on Nov. 12, which also happened to be senior day. This would be the day that they would play number two, nationally-ranked UWWhitewater.

Whitewater needed the win to secure a perfect record season and to claim the conference title, but Stout would not give up the win easily. Stout started out very strong and was leading 16-10 at halftime, but Whitewater turned the tide late in the third quarter and continued to run up the score until the end of the game. The final score was 34-16.

However, the day was not as bleak as the score may suggest. While head coach Clayt Birmingham noted that they needed to execute more on offense to keep Whitewater’s offense off the field, he believes they had a strong game defensively, forcing three turnovers on the day. This was the last game of the season, and Coach Birmingham had this to say about the season as a whole:

“Every year is always a fun year. Hopefully people judge the process and not the results. I know a lot of people, especially the media, fall into all of the results of the W and L column, but there’s so much more that goes into football than just W’s and L’s: what these guys are learning is shaping them into men and training them to be successful in the real world once they get out of here. I’m very pleased; I thought the senior class showed great leadership for our team, and they led us to some fun times throughout the season. Especially the key victory over Eau Claire, who is our rival.”

Offensive lineman Kane’ala Atchison-Keolanui (Sr, Lodi, Wis) celebrating with wide receiver Brian Sandifer (Jr, St. Paul, Min) after scoring a touchdown against nationally ranked UW–Whitewater.
Offensive lineman Kane’ala Atchison-Keolanui (Sr, Lodi, Wis) celebrating with wide receiver Brian Sandifer (Jr, St. Paul, Min) after scoring a touchdown against nationally ranked UW–Whitewater.

The game against UWEau Claire was definitely the highlight of the season for the football team. This was the second year in a row that Stout beat the Blugolds, taking the War on I-94 trophy that the two teams battle over every year.

This offseason will be a big one for Stout football, and Coach Birmingham is looking to build the program after losing 14 seniors at the end of this season.

“All of our coaches are on the road recruiting,” Birmingham says. “It’s time to recruit some younger guys for the program. We design our offseason program; we try to get a program that gives accountability, competition and just builds character in the offseason that’ll help propel us into the fall camp.”

Stout showed they do not give up easily in the last game of their season. Hopefully this mindset carries throughout the offseason and over into the next season as the team gets a fresh start.