Wisconsin-Whitewater's Lucas Sadler of West Geauga on winning at John Carroll: 'Dream come true'

Sep. 2—Lucas Sadler was one of the last Wisconsin-Whitewater players to leave the field after the Warhawks defeated John Carroll on Sept. 2.

Sadler probably would have stayed as long as humanly possibly, and with good reason.

The West Geauga graduate is the only Ohioan on Whitewater's roster, and the sophomore starting defensive end helped key a come-from-behind 27-23 victory over the Blue Streaks in a top 20 matchup.

Sadler — 6-foot-3, 245 pounds — made four tackles in the game, and had a tackle for loss as the Warhawks shored up their defense in the second half while the offense rallied from a 13-3 halftime deficit.

It's been a while since Sadler was in his old stomping grounds. The return home was as sweet as it gets.

.@WarhawkFootball defensive end @L_Sads17 of @WestGAthletics on returning home and defeating @JCUFootball and the key to the 27-23 victory. @NHPreps

— Mark Podolski (@mpodo) September 3, 2023

"Just stayed in Wisconsin during the summer — worked, trained," said Sadler. "It's such a blessing to be playing in my first college game near home. It's a dream come true."

An Ohio player playing for the Division III college football power seven hours away in Wisconsin might seem a bit odd because in many instances D-III programs recruit from regional areas. Whitewater's roster consists of mostly players from Wisconsin and Illinois.

Sadler said other D-III programs were interested in him, most notably Mount Union, but the brand and tradition of Whitewater was a big-time draw for him. So Sadler and his father contacted the coaching staff and a relationship was born.

"My senior year, we lost in the first round of the playoffs and my dad said, 'Let's visit Whitewater,' " said Sadler.

When he arrived, Sadler used his freshman year as a developmental one, and by the start of August camp he was in line to start at a defensive end spot.

When he saw his team's 2023 schedule with a game at John Carroll as his first-ever college football game, his emotions were off the chart. Leaving with a win only amplified those emotions.

"Amazing," said Sadler. "I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life. It's like a dream come true. I never realized that my first college game would be back here. I had a bunch of fans here from my hometown. It's an amazing feeling."

As for that seven-hour trip back to Wisconsin?

"It will be a sweet ride home."