The Rhinelander High School football team kicked off the 2019 season and shut out Prescott 21-0 on the road at Laney Field. The Hodags used solid defense to keep the Cardinals off the board while the offense was not only solid rushing but also through the air.
The Hodags’ defense forced Prescott to punt in their opening possession and Rhinelander took advantage and set the tone early. Coach Aaron Kraemer called the opening play which results in a 50-yard touchdown from junior Jackson Labs on the first snap. On the play-action, junior quarterback Quinn Lamers hit Labs down the sideline where he went into the end zone untouched to put RHS up 6-0 less than two minutes into the game.
Both team followed with a pair of punts from there and the Cardinals had one of their best looks at scoring early in the second period. Prescott had a long pass to get inside the 30 but senior Peyton Erikson came up with a sack on fourth and four.
Rhinelander marched down the field and senior Drake Martin capped off the drive with a one yard score on fourth down just before halftimes. Lamers found Connor Lund on pass for the two-point conversion to put the Hodags ahead 14-0 at the break. Martin finished the night with 101 yards on 19 carries to lead the offense.
The Hodags continued to have a strong run game in the second half. RHS drove down 60-yards in the first four and half minutes in the third which ended with a one-yard score from Erikson. Rhinelander rushed or 228 yards on the night and added another 85 passing. Walker Hartman rushed for 54 yards on six carries and Erikson recorded 40 yards on 10 carries.
Lamers was 2-10 through the air for 78 yards and no turnovers. Both of Lamers completions were to Labs the first being the 50-yard touchdown on the opening play and the other a 28-yard pass to Labs in the third. RHS went 4-12 on third down conversions as well.
Junior quarterback Kyle Holman of Prescott went 8-15 for 108 yards which accounted for virtually all their offense on the night. Senior linebacker Nathan Kempf intercepted a Holman pass in the third quarter. Hartman led the Hodags' defense with five tackles, two for losses and Erikson chipped in 2.5 tackles along with a sack.
With the Hodags with a 21-0 advantage in the final quarter, they were able to rotate more players into their starting lineup. Despite their final three possessions resulting in turnovers on downs, they were able to dwindle the clock down. Junior Tim Fox and sophomore Caleb Olcikas each recorded five carries in the fourth.
Rhinelander starts the season off 1-0 overall and will be back in action on Thursday at Tomahawk. The last three meetings of the two teams’ resulted in the Hatchets winning, but the Hodags are looking to break the streak. Kick-off is set for 7:00PM at Hatchet Field.