WHITEWATER, Wis. (WMTV) -- For a team that relied on their defense all season long, an interception sealed the victory for Whitewater in a high scoring affair.
After taking a 35-32 lead thanks to a Wojciech Gasienica field goal, Matt Anderson intercepted a Jackson Erdmann pass on the responding Johnnies drive with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
An Alex Peete 16-yard run was the finishing touch for Whitewater as Saint John's was out of timeouts and there was one more celebration in Perkins Stadium in 2019 for the Warhawks.
A game that was all Johnnies from the jump, a Gasienica field goal gave the Warhawks their first lead of the game, 8-7 to start the second quarter.
A rushing score by Ryan Wisniewski followed by Mount Horeb's Max Meylor connecting with Derek Kumerow made it a 22-21 UWW lead at half.
After trading field goals in the third, Meylor ripped a 38-yard rush for a 31-24 lead with 13:47 left in the game.
Saint John's Kai Barber scored from a yard out as SJU converted the two-point conversion to tie things.
Gasienica had the clutch 37-yard field goal with just over two minutes left, as Matt Anderson backed it up with the game-sealing interception.
The Warhawks will play for a National Championship for the first time since 2014 when they defeated Mount Union 43-34.
Whitewater won six national championships from 2007-2014 but this is their first trip to the Stagg Bowl under head coach Kevin Bullis.
Whitewater will face North Central (IL) in the national championship game, as they defeated Muhlenberg 45-14 earlier today.
The Stagg Bowl will be played on December 20th with a 7 PM CST kickoff at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah, Texas.