Football team ends season on a losing note

    The Blugolds were defeated by the Whitewater Warhawks on Saturday

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    UW-Eau Claire endured one final loss to wrap up their season this past Saturday against the UW-Whitewater Warhawks, falling 36-3.

    The UW-Eau Claire Blugold football season came to a close this Saturday at Perkins Stadium as they dropped their eighth consecutive game, this time at the hands of the UW-Whitewater Warhawks (7-3) with a final score of 36-3.

    The Warhawks were able to rack up 392 total yards on the Blugolds’ defense with a balanced attack of both passing and rushing. The Blugolds particularly struggled stopping Drew Patterson, a senior running back and former Division I transfer from Western Illinois University. Patterson finished with 173 yards on the ground with three touchdown runs. These yards came on only 20 attempts, good for 8.7 yards per carry.

    Sam Romanski, a junior linebacker and defensive leader, said the team tried not to focus too much on Patterson.

    “We knew he was a really good player,” Romanski said. “We didn’t plan our game plan solely around him though. We planned it on the things we could control.”

    However, the Blugolds were unable to counter the high-powered Warhawk offensive attack, with their only points coming off a 30-yard field goal from Brad Goetsch, a sophomore kicker. Although the team was able to convert for 18 first downs, their drives were usually stalled on third downs, where the Blugolds were only able to convert 32 percent of those attempts.

    Though the Blugolds’ improvement throughout the season typically didn’t translate to wins, Head Coach Dan Larson said there was one major improvement that stood out nonetheless.

    “Last year, we looked physically and competitively outmatched each week,” Larson said. “With the way we worked this offseason, we looked better both physically and competitively. We didn’t look out of place when we took the field this season.”   

    After finishing the season 1-9 overall, the Blugolds aren’t hanging their heads. Larson said the team looks forward to next season and are already looking at ways they can be best prepared come the first snap of 2018. Larson said he wants to continue growing the Eau Claire football culture, that’ll hopefully lead them to more success.

    “I expect the guys to work towards individual physical improvements this off-season, as well as their fundamentals and techniques,” Larson said. “This is going to help us win close games.”

    Besides just the physical improvements expected by Larson from the athletes, Romanski said he is also holding his teammates accountable for getting better, but in a much different way.

    “I want the guys to be excited to compete,” said Romanski. “Not only excited to compete, but excited to work hard, and win. It’s all about the mindset you have.”

    The Blugolds’ record took a small dive this season compared to last, winning one less game. With Eau Claire’s football struggles throughout the past five years, the culture has been reeling.

    Looking forward, Larson and the team will take a break from the playing field until the start of the 2018 season in September.