Dalton Heckel, D’Angelo Lux on 2018 UW-Whitewater football team

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team looks to ride a wave of momentum over the second half of the 2017 season into its 2018 campaign, which begins Saturday, Sept. 1, at Dubuque (Iowa).

The following student-athletes from Western Kenosha County are members of the 2018 UW-Whitewater football team:

  • Dalton Heckel of Silver Lake (Wilmot Union High School), a senior whose major is marketing.
  • D’Angelo Lux of Salem (Westosha Central High School), a junior whose major is journalism.

The Warhawks, who missed out on the postseason for only the second time in the last 13 years last fall, posted six straight victories to conclude last season, including three over nationally ranked opponents. The team finished the year with a 7-3 record, including a 6-1 mark in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play, and a No. 23 ranking in the final D3football.com Top 25.

UW-Whitewater enters the 2018 season with its usual high expectations and a No. 12 ranking in the D3football.com poll, and looks to increase its league-leading 35 WIAC championships and make a return to the NCAA Division III Playoffs.

After opening at Dubuque, which is coached by former offensive coordinator Stan Zwiefel, the Warhawks host Concordia Moorhead (Minn.) on Sept. 8 in a rematch from last season, when the Cobbers emerged with a 25-17 win in Moorhead.

The Perkins Stadium opener also marks the beginning of the Warhawk Concert Series, which features four concerts starting two hours prior to kickoff of the team’s first four home games.

UW-Whitewater takes on Middle Georgia State, a program transitioning to NAIA competition, on Sept. 15 at Perkins Stadium in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Following a bye week, the Warhawks visit UW-La Crosse for their first conference game on Sept. 29. The Eagles finished with an 8-2 mark last season.

UW-Whitewater hosts 2017 national semifinalist UW-Oshkosh on Oct. 6 for Family Fest at Perkins Stadium. The two teams have split their last four contests, and three of the four games have been decided by three points or fewer.

After a trip to UW-Eau Claire on Oct. 13, the Warhawks return home Oct. 20 for Homecoming and Hall of Fame Day against UW-River Falls. The team heads to UW-Stout on Oct. 27 and plays its final home game of the season on Nov. 3 against UW-Stevens Point on Shriners Day, Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day at Perkins Stadium.

UW-Whitewater wraps up the regular season with the annual George Chryst Memorial Bowl on Nov. 10 at UW-Platteville with the Miner’s Axe rivalry trophy on the line.

See below for a position-by-position look at the 2018 Warhawk football team.


Led by first-year offensive coordinator Peter Jennings, the Warhawks look to find balance and consistency behind senior quarterback Cole Wilber (Dana Point, Calif./Dana Hills), who enters his third year as a starter.

Wilber compiled 2,067 yards passing and 13 touchdowns and completed 56.2 percent of his passes last season. He was an honorable mention All-WIAC honoree in 2016.

Wilber is joined in the backfield by returning running backs Ronny Ponick (Stanley, Wis./Stanley-Boyd) and Alex Peete (Ringwood, Ill./Johnsburg). Ponick finished second on the team with 262 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns, and Peete ran for 133 yards (7.0 yards per carry) and one score.

Senior Jarrod Ware (Bradley, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) returns to running back after tallying 27 receptions for 381 yards as a wide receiver last season. He rushed for 419 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016 and 440 yards and four scores as a freshman one year earlier.

Senior Mitchell Dess (South Milwaukee, Wis./South Milwaukee) returns to lead the wide receivers. He caught 12 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns a year ago. Senior Anthony Juoni (Whitewater, Wis./Whitewater) and junior Nathaniel Osterloo (Mt. Horeb, Wis./Mt. Horeb) each caught four passes last season. Junior Josh Ringelberg (Greendale, Wis./Greendale), an honorable mention All-WIAC pick as a returner in 2017, is a threat as both a runner and a receiver.

Senior Bryce Bellefeuille (DeForest, Wis./DeForest) and junior Julio Perez (Watertown, Wis./Kettle Moraine) return with the most experience at tight end after playing behind first team all-league honoree Tony Gumina (Sussex, Wis./Hamilton) last season.

Senior Nate Trewyn (Janesville, Wis./Milton), a two-time all-conference selection and one of the team’s three captains this fall, leads a young offensive line. Returners on last year’s two deep include junior Matthew Saager (Lodi, Wis./Lodi), sophomores Quinn Meinerz (Hartford, Wis./Hartford Union) and Cameron Shaw (Lake Villa, Ill./Warren Township).


Defensive coordinator Rob Erickson’s unit returns 10 of 11 starters from last season, including D3football.com Preseason All-Americans Harry Henschler (Janesville, Wis./Craig), a captain, and Famus Hasty (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley).

Henschler, a third team D3football.com All-American who tallied a WIAC-best 14 sacks last fall, highlights a sturdy defensive line. Senior Cal Durni (Brookfield, Wis./East) returns at the end opposite Henschler after registering 22 tackles, including 9.5 for a loss of 50 yards, to garner second team All-WIAC accolades in 2017. Senior David O’Gorman (Watertown, Wis./Watertown) returns on the interior after finishing with 32 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss, last season, and is joined at tackle by senior Dalton Heckel (Silver Lake, Wis./Wilmot Union), who contributed 25 tackles, including five for a loss. Junior Jordan Brand (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) finished with 4.5 tackles for a loss in nine games a year ago.

UW-Whitewater’s deep linebacker corps is led by senior captain Bryce Leszczynski (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI), a 2017 first team all-conference selection who led the team with 90 tackles. He is joined by two other seniors in Beau Martin (Winfield, Ill./Wheaton North), who recorded 34 tackles and three pass breakups, and Alex Zacharias (Stoughton, Wis./Stoughton), who totaled 37 stops. Junior Jacob Erbs (Reedsburg, Wis./Reedsburg), who finished second on the team with 68 tackles and led the team with two fumbles recovered last fall, also returns.

Hasty, a 2017 first team All-WIAC honoree, leads the defensive backfield. He posted 38 tackles and a team-best seven passes defended last fall. Junior Garrett Purdy (Naperville, Ill./Central) returns at the corner opposite Hasty, finishing last season with 31 tackles. Senior Bailey Breunig (Prairie du Sac, Wis./Sauk Prairie) and junior Nate Tranel (Lancaster, Wis./Lancaster) return as starters at the safety spots. Breunig registered 38 tackle and one interception, while Tranel finished third on the team with 43 tackles and added one interception. Senior Jon Weyker (Mequon, Wis./Homestead) and junior Jacob Frey(Milwaukee, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran HS) also return after combining for 46 tackles a year ago.


Ringelberg enters his third season as one of the team’s main punt returners. In 2017, he led the conference with 10.3 yards per punt return and totaled 247 punt return yards and a team-best 224 kick return yards. Dess returned four punts last season, and junior Justin Prostinak (Milwaukee, Wis./Lake Country Lutheran) brought back eight kickoffs for 131 yards, good for second on the team.

Sophomore Wojciech Gasienica (Norridge, Ill./Ridgewood) led UW-Whitewater in the kicking game last season. He averaged 58.2 yards per kickoff on 46 attempts and made 10-of-14 field goal attempts, including a season-long 42-yarder. Junior Andy Cooper (Munising, Mich./Munising) recorded three kickoffs and averaged 58 yards per kick in 2017.

The Warhawks will rely on a new punter in 2018 following the loss of two-year starter Michael Schwichtenberg (West Bend, Wis./West) due to graduation.

For more than 140 years, UW-Whitewater has provided students with the 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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