Roster Analysis: Division III National Championship

December 18, 2014 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments

Two Division III football heavyweights will meet once again for the National Championship, as the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Mount Union will play one another in the Stag Bowl in Salem, Virginia on Friday night.
Both teams are 14-0 on the season, and it will be the ninth time in the last ten years they have met in the national title game.  
Although the Raiders from Mount Union are easily the greatest Division III football program in history (eleven national titles since 1993), it is the Warhawks from Whitewater who have had the edge in recent years having won five of the last seven national titles.

Below we provide our geographic analysis of the two rosters playing in this “Ali vs. Frazier” matchup.
Local versus National Approach
When analyzing where the players on each team are from, the rosters are constructed very differently in this year’s Stag Bowl. 
While the Warhawk team consists almost exclusively of high school players from the state of Wisconsin or nearby Chicago, the Raiders roster has a significant number of players from outside its home state of Ohio.
  • 98 of the 101 players on the Whitewater roster are from either Wisconsin (71) or Illinois (27), with the majority of players from Illinois being from the Chicago area (an hour or so drive from Whitewater).
  • The three Warhawk players not from Wisconsin or Illinois are each from a nearby state (Indiana, Iowa and Michigan).

  • 53 of the 97 players on the Mount Union roster are from Ohio, while the 14 players from the state of Florida represent the second most of any state.
  • In addition to the 14 players from Florida, the Raiders have several players who come from other states not near Ohio, including the following: Georgia (3), Texas (2), Alaska (1), California (1), Colorado (1), North Carolina (1) and South Carolina (1).
Warhawk Offensive Stars from Chicago
As noted above, there is a heavy influence of Chicago kids on the Whitewater roster.  In particular, the following three Chicago area players will go a long way in deciding the outcome of Friday night’s game. 
  • Quarterback Matt Behrendt is from Nazereth Academy High School in the Chicago suburb of La Grange Park.  The Senior has passed for over 3,300 yards and 38 touchdowns on the year.
  • Dennis Moore is the Warhawk’s leading rusher with over 1,000 yards and an average of 6.5 yards per carry.  The Junior Running Back is from Elgin High School in the northwest corner of the greater Chicago area.
  • Also from the northwest Chicago area (South Elgin High School) is Senior Jake Kumerow.  The Wide-Receiver has caught 58 passes for 986 yards this season, and he leads the team in touchdowns with 13 despite playing in only 10 of the 14 games.
Raider Offensive Stars from Multiple States
The key players on the Mount Union roster come from local Ohio-based high schools, as well as schools quite a bit distance from the Raiders campus in Alliance, Ohio.
  • Senior Quarterback Kevin Burke won the Gagliardi Trophy in 2013 (outstanding DIII player of the year) and is having another great season in 2014.  The Westlake, Ohio native (Cleveland area) has thrown for over 4,000 yards and 49 touchdowns this season, and has also ran for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns.
  • Both of the Raiders top Running-Backs are from the state of Michigan.  Sophomore Bradley Mitchell (1,144 yards and 19 touchdowns) is from South Lake High School in Detroit, and Junior Logan Nemeth (737 yards and 8 touchdowns) is from McBain, Michigan. 
  • The Raiders have two Wide-Receives with over 1,000 yards receiving and at least 11 touchdowns this season.  Junior Roman Namdar from Southlake, Texas (Dallas area) has 1,152 yards and 17 touchdowns, while Alliance, Ohio native Taurice Scott leads the team in receptions and has 1,047 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In the past eight title games between these two teams, only twice has the game been decided by more than 10 points. 
Whether the Warhawks win their 6th title in the past eight years, or the Raiders win their 12th title since 1993, the atmosphere in Salem, Virginia will be as good as it gets for Division III football.
And as the fans make the twelve hour drive from Whitewater, or the six hour drive from Alliance, two things are certain...they will all be bringing their purple gear, and they won’t need a map to tell them how to get there.