The Rhinelander High School football team closed their 2017 season on Friday night with a victory over Lakeland to earn the Northwoods Axe at Mike Webster Stadium. The Hodags defeated the Thunderbirds 49-34 in their second straight Great Northern Conference win on Friday night.
Senior quarterback Logan Freund led the way with six total touchdowns, as Rhinelander racked up 508 yards of offense on the night. Freund rushed for one touchdown and passed for five touchdowns to five different receivers. Brad Comer, Peyton Erikson, Reese Flores, Cole Spaulding, and Sam Tjugum also scored for RHS.
Not only did Rhinelander finish with 217 passing yards, they tallied 291 rushing yards. Drake Martin led the offense rushing with 210 yards on 34 carries and finished the season with over 1,000-yards on the ground.
The Thunderbirds took an early lead with 8:30 left in the opening quarter. Lakeland used 10 plays for 74 yards in their opening possession and was capped off by a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Carroll to Jake Rexroade. The Thunderbirds would take their only lead of the night, and was denied the two-point conversion attempt.
Rhinelander responded the next possession when Peyton Erikson had a 49-yard catch and run to spark the offense. Freund then found Erikson for an eight-yard touchdown pass with 2:39 left in the first. Joseph Schmitz added the extra point, and RHS would take a 7-6 lead and never looked back.
After a 3-and-out from Lakeland, the Hodags once again marched their way down the field. Freund found Spaulding for a 14-yard score with 7:18 left in the second quarter. Schmitz extra point was good to put RHS up 14-6.
The Thunderbirds still stuck around, and would tack on another touchdown with 2:52 left in the half on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Carroll to Ray Rentmeester. Again, Lakeland was unsuccessful on the two-point conversion attempt putting the Hodags up 14-12.
But the Hodags had plenty of time to march down the field and strike again. This time just 14 seconds before the break, Freund found Comer on a 20-yard strike and RHS would take a 21-12 lead at halftime.
The two teams would exchange touchdowns from there, starting with the Hodags scoring on their opening drive in the third quarter. Freund had the three-yard quarterback keep to cap off the drive. But Lakeland responded on a one-yard touchdown run from Tanner Nicklaus to bring Lakeland with ten at 28-18.
Midway through the third, after Rhinelander's defense denied Lakeland in the red zone, Freund slipped and fumbled the football on Lakeland's 42-yard line. The Thunderbirds recovered the ball on RHS's lone turnover, and Freund was slow to get up. But in his final high school game, not even a minor ankle injury would stop him from coming back in. Not only did he return, but the Hodags scored three big touchdowns in the final quarter.
The fourth quarter Rhinelander added three additional scores, but Lakeland kept things interesting and had two touchdowns of their own and converted on both two-point conversions.
Freund found Reese Flores open in the end zone on a 14-yard pass with 8:50 left in the game. And Freund found Sam Tjugum on play-action for a four-yard score with 5:49 left. And Martin capped off Rhinelander's scoring on the night with a 14-yard run. Schmitz was successful on all three final extra points.
Lakeland's Rentmeester scored on a 14-yard pass from Carroll. And Lakeland's final strike of the night was a five-yard run from Carroll. The Thunderbirds added four more points after converting their final two-point conversions.
But the final nail in the coffin came from the Hodags' defense with about a minute and a half left on the clock. Senior outside linebacker Matthias Schneider tipped a Lakeland pass, and fellow senior safety Reuben Guzik and was there to complete the interception.
After shaking hands, senior captain Colton Krueger took the honors of receiving the Axe from athletic director Brian Paulson and was followed by his teammates as they stormed the end zone.
Freund finished the night completing 12 of 18 passes for 217 yards and five touchdowns. He added another 70 yards on the ground and one additional score. Tjugum was Freund's leading receiving, catching five passes for 74 yards.
Martin also became the first 1,000-yard season Hodag rusher since 2008 (Austin Murphy) and finished with 210 yards rushing on 34 carries on the night.
Lakeland had 350 yards of offense on the night including 233-yards passing. Carroll accounted for four touchdowns in the loss. Rhinelander converted 13 of 15 third-down plays while the Thunderbirds went 4 of 8 on third downs.
RHS finished 3-6 overall and tied for fifth place in the GNC standings at 2-4. Lakeland finished last in the seven-team conference at 1-5.
It was Rhinelander's final game for the 17 seniors (Guzik, Flores, Comer, Freund, Tyler Olson, Kenny Baumgardner, Alex Monk, Spaulding, Schneider, Alec Kurtz, Krueger, Tyler Fredrick, Ryan Holly, Jared Fabich, Scott Fox, Justin Huber, and Schmitz). Despite losing a large senior class; RHS finished the season on a high note and won back-to-back GCN games proving the Hodags have plenty to look forward to in the future.
The Rhinelander High School football team snapped their 23-game Great Northern Conference losing streak on Friday night. Coach Chris Ferge and the Hodags defeated Ashland at Weikal Field 20-12, marking their first conference win since 2013.
Drake Martin scored all three of Rhinelander's touchdowns on the night, but the biggest testament of the night goes to the Hodags' defense that made several impressive stops down the stretch to help secure the win.
Rhinelander's defense held Ashland to a three-and-out on their opening drive, and they took advantage. RHS used 11 plays to drive 86-yards. Martin put the Hodags on the board with 5:49 left in the first quarter on a five-yard run to cap off the drive. Joseph Schmitz added the extra point to give RHS an early 7-0 lead.
The Oredockers responded on the first play of the second quarter after Ashland converted a fourth-and-one play from their own 29. And quarterback Jordan Brennan followed that up with a 67-yard touchdown run. Ashland was denied on the two-point conversion, so RHS would still lead 7-6.
Then with only 31 seconds remaining, the Oredockers used 11 plays to go 90 yards and finally converted on a three-yard run from Mason Schelvan to give Ashland a 12-7 lead at halftime after another failed two-point conversion.
Rhinelander was able to hold off Ashland in the second half, and would add two more touchdowns. Martin put the Hodags ahead for good with 3:49 left in the third quarter on a 10-yard shovel pass from senior quarterback Logan Freund who avoided being sacked on the play. RHS would pull ahead 13-12, but was unsuccessful in the two-point conversion attempt.
The Hodags would score their final touchdown of the night with 8:02 left in the fourth quarter. Martin capitalized on an 8-yard run and Schmitz added the extra point to give RHS a 20-12 advantage.
As the clocked dwindled down, Ashland marched to the one-yard line in the final minute of action on a three-yard carry from Schelvan for a second down. Schelvan was then again denied on third-and-goal from the one, forcing the Oredockers to call their final timeout with 33 seconds left.
Ashland with a fourth-and-goal at the one had one last opportunity and fed the ball to Zach Coffland, their leading rusher, but was stuffed from the Hodags' defense.
Rhinelander finished the contest with 188 rushing yards, with Martin recording 147 of them on 30 carries and three touchdowns. RHS had 279 total offensive yards. Freund went 6-16 through the air for 91 yards and two interceptions and added 37 yards rushing on 10 carries. Peyton Erikson finished with three catches for 36 yards.
The Oredockers finished with 270 yards of offense, and 209 of them rushing. Brennan led the team with 88-yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Brennan went 3-9 on passes for another 44 yards. Coffland finished with 67-yards on 11 carries.
Ashland fell to 2-3 in the GNC, but still will have an opportunity to make the WIAA playoffs, but they must win against Medford on Friday on the road.
The pivotal win was the first since October, 11th 2013 when the Hodags defeated Ashland 30-6. RHS advanced to 2-6 overall and are 1-4 in the conference.The Hodags will conclude their season on Friday in the third annual Northwoods Axe Game at Mike Webster Stadium. It will also be senior night with kick-off set for 7:00PM.
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