Radavich, Yoder shine versus UW-River Falls


Emil Vajgrt

Senior running back Mitch Gerhartz runs down the field while a group of UW-River Falls defenders try to tackle him. Gerhartz finished with 122 yards en route to UW Oshkosh’s 48-14 victory. The win took the Titans to 1-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as they try reclaim the conference title.

The UW Oshkosh football team opened up conference play in winning fashion on Saturday, rolling over UW-River Falls 42-14.

The Titans dominated the game from start to finish on both sides of the football. The Titans’ defense intercepted the Falcons five times, forced one fumble and only allowed 14 total points.

Sophomore quarterback Kyle Radavich and the UWO offense compiled a whopping 567 yards from scrimmage. Radavich threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns. In addition, running back Mitch Gerhartz carried the ball 21 times for 122 yards.

In the opening drive of the game, the Falcons drove the ball to the Titan 8-yard line. UW-River Falls attempted a 25-yard field goal and missed wide left.

UWO took possession at their own 20-yard line. On only five plays, Radavich marched the Titan offense down the field 80 yards to connect with wide receiver Riley Kallas on a 56-yard pitch-and-catch to put the Titans up 7-0.

The Titans and Falcons traded possessions five times after the first UWO touchdown. The Titans were able to march down the field once again late in the first quarter on their fourth drive of the game. Radavich found Kallas once again for a 2-yard touchdown pass as the first quarter came to a close, 14-0 Titans.

The Titans defensive back Cole Yoder intercepted Falcons quarterback Ben Beckman at the 12:17 mark in the second quarter, but the Titans were unable to capitalize on the turnover.

After stopping the Titans and forcing a punt, the Falcons were able to get the ball back with 10 minutes left in the first half. Beckman put together a 9-play, 70-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard run by running back Anthony Silva to make the score 14-7.

In the ensuing Titan drive, Radavich was intercepted at the Falcons 43-yard line. Four plays later, the Titans defense came up big once again, intercepting Beckman at their own 8-yard line and halting the UW-River Falls drive.

The Titans looked to the ground on their final possession of the first half. Starting at their own 8-yard line, UWO ran six straight run plays for 44 yards. Radavich proceeded to complete two passes for 25 yards, a 10-yard rush and a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dom Todarello, putting the Titans up 21-7 with 31 seconds left in the half.

Senior defensive back Cole Yoder tackles Falcons ball carrier as Tyler Jensen (#43) and Brandon Hughes (#95) look on. Yoder tallied six tackles and two interceptions en route to a 48-14 victory.
Emil Vajgrt
Senior defensive back Cole Yoder tackles Falcons ball carrier as Tyler Jensen (#43) and Brandon Hughes (#95) look on. Yoder tallied six tackles and two interceptions en route to a 48-14 victory.

The Titans kicked off to the Falcons who were able to return the ball to their own 39-yard line. Titans forced a third and short for the Falcons when Beckman connected with wide receiver Alex Herick on a 47-yard bomb to the UWO 7-yard line with five seconds remaining. On the next play, Beckman found Herick once again as time expired to make the score 21-14 heading into the half.

Head coach Patrick Cerroni said he wasn’t worried about any possible momentum the Falcons had built before halftime.

“Honestly I didn’t say a word,” Cerroni said. “I didn’t say nothing at half. We [the coaching staff] understand that college football is so different. The fact that the second half is where everything happens. First half really doesn’t mean much.”

The second half was all Titans. UWO took the opening drive four plays, 68 yards in 1:42 ending with a 37-yard Radavich touchdown pass to Gerhartz, 28-14 Titans.

Two possessions by UWO’s offense resulted in field goals by Titans kicker Peyton Peterson. The Titans’ lead grew to 34-14 entering the fourth.

As the fourth quarter began, UWO was unstoppable on both sides of the ball. The first two offensive possessions resulted in touchdowns from Radavich and Max Nowinsky to put the Titans up 48-14.

The Titans defense refused the Falcons offense to anything in the fourth. They forced a fumble from Justin Kasuboski, one interception from Tyler Staerkel and a turnover on downs on the Falcons three possessions in the 4th quarter.

Cerroni said he nods the success of his team in the conference opener to the preparation during the bye week.

“You got two weeks to prepare for a team,” Cerroni said. “Finally, we must have done the right preparation. We did a good job; guys did a good job.”

UWO linebacker Nick Noethe said the team took the bye week to get better.

“Everyone thinks because it’s a bye week we just go through the motions and don’t have to practice that hard,” Noethe said. “It was actually the opposite of that. It was probably our best week of practice we’ve had all year.”

UWO’s defense turned over the Falcons six times Saturday. Radavich said the defense gives the offense confidence when they take the field.

“They’re [UWO defense] giving us a short field and getting off the field quick,” Radavich said. “We’re on the field a lot so we may as well score some points while we’re out there.”

The Titans will head to UW-Whitewater this weekend, and Cerroni said he is preparing the team the same as any other game.

“We’ve been in a lot of big games as a coaching staff,” Cerroni said. “We have a group of players around here that have been in some seriously big games. We’ve recruited guys to be in big games. Just another week for us.”

Radavich said the team is focused and excited for the game against their Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival.

“I’m excited. I’ve never played against Whitewater myself,” Radavich said. “I’m not a senior who has played them for four years. It’s a different edge; it’s a different mindset. More focused.”

In 2016, Perkins Stadium on the UW-Whitewater campus was host to 17,535 people, the largest Division-III crowd ever. Noethe said the crowd will be a factor only if the team allows it to be.

“Not getting too high or low on good plays or bad plays,” Noethe said. “The crowd is going to be going nuts all game so we gotta maintain it.”
The Titans face WIAC rival UW-Whitewater Saturday Oct. 6 at Perkins Stadium in Whitewater, WI.