The Rhinelander High School football team was able to hang with Medford for the first half, but then would fade and the Raiders cruised to a 36-7 Great Northern Conference victory at Mike Webster Stadium. It marked the Hodags' third straight loss of the season.
The Raiders finished with 401 total offensive yards which included 368 yards rushing and 33 passing yards. While Rhinelander struggled offensively and only had 121 total yards on 96 rushing yards and 25 passing. Medford went 6-11 on third down conversions and RHS went 3-12 on the night. The Raiders also finished with 21 first downs while the Hodags’ were held to only eight on the night.
It was a scoreless first quarter and Medford finally got on the board at 10:09 in the second quarter. Ean Wilson scored on a three-yard run but their two-point conversion was unsuccessful. The Raiders added another score with 2:38 left in the quarter on a three-yard gain from Garrett Hill and Wilson added the two-point conversion to put them up 14-0.
Rhinelander answered with their lone touchdown of the night with only nine seconds remaining in the half. Drake Martin scored on a five-yard run which brought them within seven at halftime. The Raiders outgained the Hodags 187-34 in the first half alone.
Wilson tacked on another touchdown in the third quarter on an 8-yard gain to give Medford a 20-7 advantage after an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt. Then at 9:43, the Raiders unexpectedly connected on a 29-yard surprise pass from Wilson to Dough Way for another touchdown. Peyton Kuhn added the two-point conversion to put the Raiders up 28-7.
And about three minutes later, Medford for strike again for their final score of the night. At 6:52 in the fourth, Hill had a 9-yard gain and followed that up with the two-point conversion, and the Raiders would hold on to earn the 36-7 victory.
Wilson and Hill paired up to rush for more than 300 yards on the night. Wilson led the way with 173 yards on 26 carries and Hill finished with 133 yards on 24 carries. Kuhn also charted 58 yards on eight carries in the win.
Martin led the Hodags but was held to 58 rushing yards on 19 carries. Brock Lieder went 5-14 passing for 23 yards with two interceptions. Josh Sullivan picked off a pass from Lieder late in the fourth quarter in the back of the end zone.
Rhinelander will travel to Antigo this Friday for the 84th annual Bell Game. The rival matchup will begin at 7:00PM at Schofield Stadium. The Red Robins have won 11 straight Bell Games with the Hodags’ not winning since 2007.
The Rhinelander High School football team had their final non-conference matchup on Thursday night and came up just short to Wausau East. The Hodags committed four turnovers and fell 13-12 to the Lumberjacks at Thom Field. Not only did turnovers hurts Rhinelander in the loss, but several penalties and only converting one third down on the night also did not help their case.
The Hodags' defense started strong and would force three turnovers and a punt on their first four possessions of the night. Unfortunately, Rhinelander was unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Peyton Erikson returned a punt to East's 23-yard line but fumbled the ball two plays later. RHS got the ball back when Martin had a sack and strip. But then Brock Lieder threw an interception on a fourth-and-13 from the 14-yard line.
Rhinelander gained back some momentum after recovering a fumble midway through the first quarter. Only two plays later Martin scored on a two-yard run to put the Hodags on the board at 5:25. But that would be the only score in the first quarter despite RHS having the ball inside East’s 25 four times. Sam Tjugum intercepted a Jack Kane pass, but once again couldn't convert. RHS held a 6-0 advantage after missing the extra point.
East would respond in the second quarter when Bryce Stalsberg scored on a two-yard run at 5:27. The Lumberjacks would take a 7-6 lead connecting on the extra point after a 78-yard drive.
The Hodags started the second half strong and would score on their opening drive which was 60-yards. Martin capped off the drive on the 10th play and scored at 8:30 in the third quarter. Rhinelander was unsuccessful on their two-point conversion but would pull back ahead 12-7.
Rhinelander's then forced the Lumberjacks to punt on their next possession, but on a long return, Erikson fumbled the ball to give East back the ball. From there, Wausau would hold the ball for the next seven minutes of action which would set up their game-winning touchdown in the fourth. Kane scored on a quarterback keep on a fourth-and-goal inside the one.
Although the momentum shifted, the Hodags would drive down to the Lumberjack's 14-yard line. But a costly chop block call on RHS pushed them back to the 35-yard line and would eventually have to punt. Rhinelander did get the ball back with about two and half minutes left and made back to East's 28-yard line, but Lieder's pass to Erikson was intercepted by Ryan Salby with just over a minute left in the contest.
Rhinelander finished with 190 total yards on the night (70 passing, 120 rushing). While Wausau East had 223 yards of offense (35 passing, 188 rushing). The Lumberjacks convert 8-11 chances on third/fourth downs and would maintain possession for over 12 minutes longer then Rhinelander. The Hodags only converted 1-5 third downs on the night and had three turnovers; one fumble and two interceptions.
Stalsberg led the night in rushing with 101 yards for the Lumberjacks on 25 carries. Will Nash added 53 rushing yards and Trey Buohberger rushed for another 36 for East. Wausau's Gabe Krueger added two receptions for 19 yards and Caleb Gruszynski charted 16 yards on two receptions as well.
Martin led the Hodags with two touchdowns and 75 rushing yards on 17 carries. Lieder rushed for another 29 yards and Josh Francisco added 11 rushing yards. Jackson Labs had one reception for 20-yards and Martin would add another 51-receiving yards on six receptions. Martin would also finish with seven tackles on defense. Sam Tjugum had one interception and five tackles and Walker Hartman added six tackles and a sack for the Hodags.
It marked Rhinelander's second straight loss of the season as they fell to 1-2. The Hodags will kick off their Great Northern Conference season on Friday when they host Medford at Mike Webster Stadium at 7:00PM.
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