The Rhinelander High School football opened their 2018 season at Mike Webster Stadium Friday night, and earned a 28-6 win over Prescott. It marked the Hodags third straight win, going back to last season. Drake Martin led the way for Rhinelander and scored three touchdowns and rushed for 164 yards.
Senior quarterback Brock Lieder went 4 of 9 through the air for 92 passing yards and one touchdown. Junior Peyton Erikson caught three passes for 71 yards and also added a touchdown. Rhinelander's offense scored two touchdowns in each half to earn the 12 points victory.
On the defensive end, safety Erikson led the way with 10 tackles on the night and had one interception and one forced fumble. Senior Isaiah Piosalan finished the night with six tackles and one forced fumble. And sophomore Kristian Klingler added two tackles and a sack in the win.
The Hodags got momentum swinging their way starting with their defense. At 7:18 in the first quarter, Prescott went for it on a fourth-down with only one yard to go, but was denied by Piosalan on one of his six tackles of the night. Then with 2:29 left in the first, Ethan Luksich of the Cardinals fumbled the ball on the one-yard line that was recovered by junior Connor Lund.
Rhinelander then drove down 99 yards on the next possession. The drive was capped off by a 60-yard touchdown pass from Lieder to Erikson after Martin collected a first down to the 40-yard line. Senior kicker Freddy Wisner added the extra point to put the Hodags up 7-0 at 11:26 in the second quarter.
The Hodags then followed with an interception from Erikson just over two minutes later to give Rhinelander decent field position. Junior Payton Johnson tipped quarterback Jonah Anderson's pass and Erikson was there to pull in the interception. RHS would then capitalize on the turnover 10-plays later that finished with Martin's first touchdown of the night on a 5-yard run. The Hodags would take a 14-0 lead.
The Cardinals marched their way down the field and would score just before halftime and would cut the lead to 14-6 after a missed extra point. Riley Anfinson would score on the five-yard run with 42 seconds left in the half. But that would prove to be the only scoring Prescott would do in the game.
Rhinelander came out and took control of the second half and would add another two touchdowns and their defense would keep Prescott off the board in the final two quarters.
The Hodags used a 16-play drive to control the final eight minutes of the third quarter which ended in another Martin touchdown from 5-yards out. Piosalan forced the final Prescott turnover after stripping Anfinson and sophomore Travis Towne was there to recover the ball. And with 3:42 left Martin would add his third touchdown of the night and to close out Rhinelander's scoring on the night.
The Hodags would outgain the Cardinals 302-185 on the night and which included a 92-22 advantage on passing yards. Rhinelander also finished with 47 more rushing yards in the win.
RHS had plenty of positives of the night, but one of their downfalls came in penalties. The Hodags’ were penalized 12 times for 85 yards which included back-to-back illegal procedures midway through the second quarter. Rhinelander was also called for holding which would have been a 62-yard reception and touchdown by senior Josh Francisco.
Rhinelander will host another non-conference matchup on Friday against Tomahawk. Kick-off is set for 7:00PM at Mike Webster Stadium. The Hatchets also are 1-0 on the year after defeating Shiocton 20-14 in the first week of the season. The Hodags are looking to redeem themselves after falling to Tomahawk 30-14 last year.